King refuses to get personal re: Kidd: “The franchise has to be bigger than one person.”

Billy King
Billy King (AP)
Billy King (AP)
Billy King (AP)

RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Billy King had every right to scream and shout, to bemoan his former coaching prodigy and throw him under the bus. After what Jason Kidd had done to leave this franchise, no one would have blamed him.

He didn’t.

“I wish him the best of luck,” King said. “I wish him, his family, Porschla and the kids, I think he’s got a great future as a coach.”

Wait, really?

“I think the franchise has to be bigger than one person,” King said. “I don’t think if you use the ledger of the (New York) Yankees, I don’t think they sat there and said, OK, when they were losing great players over the years that the Yankees were going to fold. No one person, and this is not just talking about Jason, but no one person can be bigger than a franchise or an organization because an organization has got to stand on itself. Players come, coaches come, ownerships come and go but the brand of the Nets will stay.

“I always feel like a team is not the coach or the players or the ownership, it is the fans. They are what the team is about. They are the ones who support, they are the ones that pay tickets, they are people, Mr. Whammy has been here through ownerships and players and different things but he comes because it’s the Nets. He is not coming because it’s Jason Kidd or Billy King or Prokhorov or Bruce Ratner. He is coming because he’s a Nets fan. And that’s how you look at it, people have a loyalty to the brand and not an individual.”

Kidd reportedly went over King’s head in the front office and demanded to, in essence, take his job overseeing basketball operations. But King said there were no philosophical differences between he and Kidd that he knew of. “There were times that we probably butted heads a little bit, but that happens when you are in management and coaching situations.”

Despite some obvious hints of disdain, King refused to “sling mud” at Kidd. “I’m going to keep (my feelings) personal,” he said. “At this point, there’s no point in putting those out here. As far as my feelings, my family knows, (Nets PR VP Gary Sussman) probably knows, (Nets PR rep) Aaron (Harris probably knows. There’s no reason to sling any mud here. It happened. I wish Jason and his family very well.”

But amidst all the politically correct answers about Kidd’s abilities as a coach, one criticism slipped through: King did acknowledge that Kidd’s departure wasn’t perfect.

“The timing may not have been right, the way it happened may not have been right, but I hope for Jason that he’s happy at the end of the day.”