The Jason Kidd saga is over. Let's hope the Jason Kidd era goes more smoothly.
The Milwaukee Bucks officially announced the hiring of Kidd on Tuesday morning, bringing to close a whirlwind three days that began Saturday amid reports of Kidd failing in his bid to take over basketball operations control in Brooklyn. From the team's official release:
"When you list the characteristics that make a successful head coach, you would include leadership, communication and a competitive drive," said Hammond. "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."
"Jason is a determined leader, a tough-minded competitor and a great teammate," said Bucks owners Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry. "We believe his focus, vision and intensity will help him work alongside John and David (Morway) to rebuild the Milwaukee Bucks as we aspire to achieve excellence over the next several years. We are excited that Jason will call Milwaukee his new home."
No shockers there, and it's no coincidence that Hammond and assistant GM David Morway--the two guys perceived to be threatened by Kidd's purported management ambitions--get a name-check and vote of confidence from Lasry and Edens. Charles Gardner tweeted last night that Kidd's deal would be for three years and $12-15 million.
Kidd's power-play last week reportedly ran in parallel to the Bucks' courtship of the future hall of fame point guard, whose prior relationship with Lasry no doubt played a major role in driving the process forward. Kidd's first year as an NBA coach saw him lead a talented but aging Nets team to a 44-38 record and a first round upset of the Toronto Raptors, despite reportedly finding himself on the hot seat in December after a 10-21 start. But even with star center Brook Lopez sidelined for most of the season, Brooklyn finished the year on a 34-17 streak, with Kidd taking home two coach of the month awards before leading Brooklyn past the third-seeded Raptors in the first round of the playoffs. So putting aside the unsavoriness of the past week and lingering questions about Kidd's character and role in Milwaukee--something that may not be easy--this does look like a big-time get for the Milwaukee Bucks.
All of which is why the Kidd press conference figures to be the most anticipated in the history of the franchise, though not entirely for the reasons the Bucks might hope. Despite Kidd's brilliant playing resume and a promising start to his coaching career in Brooklyn, the last week left many with a bad taste in their mouths, and it's now up to Kidd and owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens to clarify all the questions that will follow Kidd to the Bucks' sidelines.
For starters, have Hammond and his staff--who reportedly weren't included in initial discussions with Kidd--been given real assurances that their jobs are safe? How will Kidd be able to work with Hammond given the former's reported desire to control basketball decision-making? And why wasn't Larry Drew--a nice guy who never looked like a long-term solution--just put out of his misery earlier? Some contrition and a convincing case that everyone is now on the same page would go a long way toward getting Kidd's tenure in Milwaukee back on the right track, while hopefully allowing the focus to return to all the good things still going on in Milwaukee (remember those?).
Grantland: The Jason Kidd Mess Has a $144 Million Pricetag
As you'd expect of arguably the best hoops writer around, Lowe has a level-headed take on the tornado of rumor and innuendo that left a wake of destruction from Brooklyn to Milwaukee over the weekend. Lowe doesn't mince words confirming Kidd's failed attempt to consolidate power in Brooklyn last week, though he also provides a bit more background on the strained relationship between Kidd and Nets GM Billy King.
But multiple sources insist the maneuvering started during the fraught months of December and January, and that Kidd did not open the game by asking for the top front-office job. Kidd during that period approached ownership with concerns about King’s job performance, sources say — King’s commitment, leadership, and vision for the future. Kidd suggested the organization might hire an outsider for a front-office job above King, sources say. Kidd even wondered if ownership had a basketball guy in Russia who might come to Brooklyn and take on a more activist role above King.
Kidd did not pitch himself for the job — not at first, anyway. Those initial discussions went nowhere, though not everyone involved agrees on the timing and tenor of those talks. King is well liked in Brooklyn, and he has followed ownership edicts in dealing away just about every future asset possible to win immediately. The Bucks sought permission to talk to Kidd earlier this month, presumably about their head coaching job, and when the Nets were slow to respond, Kidd and his team began agitating for Kidd himself to assume the double perch, sources say.
So maybe Kidd isn't the power-hungry sociopath that many reports over the weekend made him out to be, though there will still be a mountain of questions to be answered whenever Kidd is finally introduced as the Bucks' head coach.
Lowe's piece also had the league abuzz yesterday because it detailed the dollars and cents of team income, revenue sharing, and tax payments. Not surprisingly, the Bucks are among the big winners from the new CBA's revenue sharing system.
The finances matter for the Bucks, too. They are not thrilled about paying two coaches at once. Milwaukee is projected to make $14.8 million in basketball-related net profit for the 2013-14 season, according to that league memo, but they’re one of several small- and mid-market teams propped up almost entirely by revenue-sharing. Milwaukee will get around $18 million from revenue-sharing and $3 million more from luxury tax payouts, easily eclipsing the $6.5 million the team lost on its own account.