It's official: Jason Kidd is out after one year as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets. Kidd has been released from his contract with Brooklyn and will become the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks. As compensation, the Nets have accepted two second round picks (one in 2015, the other in 2019) from Milwaukee.
To make room for Kidd as its next head coach, the Bucks have already fired current head coach Larry Drew after only one year on the job. Multiple sources report that Kidd will receive at least a three-year contract worth between $4-5 million a year.
The downfall of Kidd as the head coach of the Nets was just as swift as it appeared. News first broke Saturday night that Kidd had requested that he be put in charge of the team's basketball operations (above GM Billy King). Brooklyn's front office not only denied Kidd, but it also gave the former All-Star the go-ahead to find another job, paving the way for him to be hired as the head coach of the Bucks (who are now owned by Marc Lasry, a reported friend of Kidd's).
Speculation has run wild over the timing and reasoning of Kidd's demand for a promotion. ESPN's Grantland has reported that Kidd approached Nets executives "with concerns about King's job performance…committment, leadership, and vision for the future" as early as December. Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski also reported that Kidd's bold move was brought on by the frustration of seeing expensive contracts handed out to first year coaches Derek Fisher (Knicks) and Steve Kerr (Warriors).
Kidd's stunning departure creates yet another question the team needs to address this offseason. In the midst of trying to upgrade an aging roster with limited financial flexibility, the team now needs to find itself a new head coach. A short list of possible candidates has emerged over the past day. Former Memphis Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins is reportedly Brooklyn's top target and it has already scheduled an interview with him. The Nets may also consider former NBA coaches George Karl and Mark Jackson, as well as Italian coach Ettore Messina.
While the Nets may move quickly to name a new head coach, it may not be enough to hold onto its own free agents or sign others with the opening of the signing period Tuesday. Newsday's Roderick Boone reported Sunday that Shaun Livingston may be less inclined to re-sign with Brooklyn now that Kidd is gone. The Nets' other free agents- Paul Pierce, Andray Blatche, and Alan Anderson- could also have second thoughts about coming back to the team.
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