The Bucks today named Jason Kidd their head coach, the team announced. It’ll be a three-year deal for $12-15MM. He replaces Larry Drew, whom the team let go after reaching a deal to pry Kidd from the Nets. Milwaukee relinquishes 2015 and 2019 second-round draft picks to Brooklyn as compensation. The 2015 second-rounder is actually Brooklyn’s own pick, which the Nets owed to the Bucks from a previous trade.
“When you list the characteristics that make a successful head coach, you would include leadership, communication and a competitive drive,” Bucks GM John Hammond said as part of the team’s statement. “Jason used all of those traits to become a 10-time All-Star player in the NBA, and has now translated his on-court success to the bench. We welcome him to the Bucks organization and look forward to building a Championship-caliber team with him as our head coach.”
In spite of Hammond’s remarks, it appears his job is in jeopardy. Kidd is coming over only as coach, but Hammond assistant GM David Morway had no knowledge of the contact between ownership and Kidd, and the prevailing sentiment around the league is that it’s just a matter of time before Kidd takes control of the front office in Milwaukee. Kidd’s pursuit of front office control in Brooklyn led to his departure from the team.
Lionel Hollins appears to be the front-runner to fill the vacated head coaching position in Brooklyn, while he’s also reportedly a serious candidate for the Lakers job. George Karl and Ettore Messina are also in the mix for Brooklyn, according to reports, while there’s conflicting information about whether Mark Jackson is also a candidate.
Kidd’s departure from Brooklyn after a single season as head coach brings a fitting end to a one-year tenure rife with surprises. His hiring had been the first shock, as he’d just finished his playing career that same spring. Kidd and the Nets tapped Lawrence Frank to serve as a highly paid assistant, but Frank was removed from the bench in the first half of the season and instead assigned to write daily reports for the team. Kidd’s Nets rebounded from a slow start to make the second round of the playoffs, but after Derek Fisher and Steve Kerr wound up with more lucrative deals to coach teams in spite of the same lack of experience Kidd carried into the Nets job, the Brooklyn coach sought more power.
Reports this weekend indicated that the Nets turned down his request for control over the front office, and when Kidd’s friend Marc Lasry, co-owner of the Bucks, made entreaties, all that was left for Brooklyn was to work out the compensation. The Nets were holding out for a first-rounder, but settled for the pair of second-round picks. The fallout in Brooklyn appears likely to have an effect on whether Shaun Livingston, who admires Kidd, will re-sign with the team in free agency.
Photo Courtesy USA Today Sports Images. Chris Broussard of ESPN.com first reported the Nets and Bucks had a deal (Twitter link). Howard Beck of Bleacher Report, Marc Stein of ESPN.com and Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported details of the compensation going to Brooklyn (All Twitter links). Wojnarowski also added that the feeling around the league is that Kidd will eventually take control of the Bucks front office (Twitter link). Beck noted that Kidd was just coming over to coach the Bucks for now (Twitter link). Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com reported that Drew had been fired (Twitter link). Beck and Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had details of the contract that Jason Kidd is signing (Twitter links).