The Nets have given head coach Jason Kidd permission to speak to the Milwaukee Bucks to be the head of their basketball operations after a failed power play to take over the team’s basketball operations, according to a report by Tim Bontemps of the New York Post.
No, really, read that sentence again. Do it. Swirl it around your brain for a good twenty to thirty-five seconds. Let it stick to your membranes like a spilled soda in your skull.
The report has been corroborated by multiple reporters, including that Kidd also asked for a raise after seeing lucrative deals for new head coaches Derek Fisher & Steve Kerr and was declined. The Russians are “done with Kidd,” according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, and are currently discussion compensation with the Bucks for Kidd’s early departure from his contract. Ken Berger of CBS Sports that it’s unlikely that Kidd will return to the team in any capacity:
Whatever happens in Milwaukee, difficult to imagine Kidd returning to Nets. "I don't see it," source said of bombshell turn of events.
— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) June 29, 2014
Two more wrinkles to this story: The new co-owner of the Bucks, Mark Lasry, once worked as Kidd’s financial advisor, and Kidd also advocated a trade with the Bucks that would have sent Brook Lopez and Mirza Teletovic to Milwaukee for Larry Sanders and Ersan Ilyasova, according to Tom Lorenzo of NetsDaily.
To say this is a stunning turn of events is giving stuns too much credit. As of about two hours ago, I’d tell you that Kidd has the most power of any person in this organization: after he dismissed Lawrence Frank, after buying half of Jay-Z’s shares, after cementing his status as their greatest NBA player of all time, after the Nets basically handed him the reins to a championship-caliber team within nine days of his retirement. He was the guy, possibly someone who could have had a coaching job for life. Now, it looks like he’s headed elsewhere: if not Milwaukee, then somewhere with an open position.
There’s two schools of thought here. You could argue that Kidd, considered one of the best basketball minds of all time, should have more power in the front office to oversee decisions, even if it’s just as a figurehead. On the other hand, Kidd waltzed up to the front office and asked Mikhail Prokhorov to promote him into a presidential position over general manager Billy King, the guy who hired Kidd in the first place. That type of power in any organization is “rare,” the Post article notes:
Holding the dual roles of both coaching a team and overseeing basketball operations is rare in the NBA, with only San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich, Detroit’s Stan Van Gundy, Minnesota’s Flip Saunders and the Clippers’ Doc Rivers currently holding both roles. Van Gundy and Saunders assumed their roles this offseason.
This is also all happening mere days before NBA’s free agency perioid, when Nets free agents Paul Pierce, Shaun Livingston, and Andray Blatche will all have decisions to make about their future with the team.