When vying for the Brooklyn Nets head coaching job, Kidd pushed desperately to bring Frank on with him at the sidelines. “I’m working as hard as I can (to bring Frank on),” Kidd told Greg Kelly and Rosanna Scotto of Good Day New York in June. “Hopefully he does join the staff, because he would be great.” The idea that Kidd could assemble a veteran staff was key in King’s decision to hire Kidd, and assemble he did, convincing Frank to join the team as the lead assistant.
Now, after about one month and a 5-12 opening, Kidd has done a 180, sending Frank off the bench. Frank, who reportedly makes more than $1 million as the highest-paid assistant coach in the league, has been reassigned to doing “daily reports” for the team. He won’t be on the team’s bench for games or practices, and will not travel.
“Lawrence has been reassigned to doing daily reports, and he won’t be sitting on the bench or at practice,” Kidd said shortly before Tuesday’s “So there’s been a change. It doesn’t change the coaching staff, guys will be there. So that’s that.”
Frank was considered the defensive guru for the team, but they’ve struggled on that end of the floor: even with world-class defender Kevin Garnett, the team is dead last in the NBA in points allowed per possession.
“It’s about basketball,” Kidd said prior to Tuesday’s matchup against the Denver Nuggets, multiple times. “We move forward. You learn. But the big thing is, I’m focused, and I have to have these guys ready to go tonight.”
Over the summer, Kidd, King, and everyone else within 3,000 miles of the Nets acknowledged that Kidd had a significant learning curve in becoming a head coach. But during Tuesday’s press conference, Kidd said he didn’t need Frank — or anyone — to ease that transition.
“I’ve been doing it from day one,” Kidd said, when asked if he could have done it without Frank. “Understanding what it means to be a coach, having guys ready, that’s what I’ve been doing since summer league.”
Kidd added that there would be no replacements to his staff, which is set, but that it was his call and the choice is final. “This is the decision that I had to make, and we made it, and we move on. … This is about basketball. That’s it.”
Frank missed six games last year to be with his wife due to an undisclosed illness on her part. He also missed time in preseason to be by her side. Though Kidd stressed that the decision was purely basketball-related, it’s not clear if this demotion has anything to do with Frank’s personal life.
“It’s just different philosophies,” Kidd said of the decision. “That’s all. … We’ll figure out how to stop people.”