Sources have informed “Carl2680” on Realgm.com, Tim Bontemps, and NetsDaily, that Jason Kidd is likely to leave the Nets. According to Bontemps’ sources, Kidd approached ownership with numerous demands, particularly requesting oversight of Nets’ basketball operations (though not for Billy’s dismissal). The demands were rejected, and apparently Kidd has permission to speak with the Bucks about working with their organization.
The reports are absolute bombshells, of which I have a wide array of opinions.
I. I Do Sympathize With Kidd Wanting More Than What He Has
I am a huge Nets fan and want this to end in a way that’s best for the Nets: that must be made crystal clear. However, I do understand why Kidd has approached ownership with demands, in the abstract. Kidd is on a 3 year, $10 million contract. When hired, that was the going rate for new hires.
However, Derek Fisher (also right out of the league) and Steve Kerr just got 5 year $25 million deals to coach, with no experience. David Blatt has international coaching experience but no head coaching experience in the NBA, and got 4 years, $20 million.
So I understand Kidd wanting more than the 3 years, $10 million he has been provided. He sees others in his shoes being paid more by less rich owners, and this comes after taking the Nets to the second round.
I totally understand that he would want more money and would pull a leverage play to get it – “I am a franchise icon, a face of your franchise, and can sell free agents on your franchise – free agents you need given your pick situation. You need me more than I need you, so fork some cash over.”
II. Unless the End Game is His Returning With A Bigger Salary, His Demands Concerning Becoming General Manager are Completely Unreasonable
This is simply obvious, for me. It would be unprecedented for a coach, after one season, to obtain personnel power. And not only personnel power, but to become the GM of their franchise. Kidd could have come in this season and piloted the Nets to 65 wins and a championship. If he subsequently marched to ownership and demanded Billy’s job, that would be unreasonable.
Not to mention, Kidd should be thankful to Billy for the position he is in. Billy took much grief for his decision to hire Jason. He did not seem to want to initially, but did so, and has spent much time explaining the move and taking heat for the move.
While the Knicks did hire Fisher this summer, when Kidd was hired, it was unprecedented for a team to hire a coach immediately upon retirement. The move was scrutinized for that reason: Kidd received an opportunity nobody really has ever received, and Billy gave him that very opportunity. To demand, essentially, his job (he did not want him fired, but wanted control over operations: so he clearly wants Billy demoted), is callous.
If Jason did it under the thinking that he could meet with a team like Milwaukee, get them to offer him a job for more money than Brooklyn, and then come back to Brooklyn and say “hey, I want more money, and if you don’t give me that, and a small piece of front office stake, I’ll go there?” If that gets the Nets to give him some more cash and a piece of front office power? Then that’s fine: it’s callous, but people negotiate to make their lives better, all the time.
But if Kidd really did this on the belief that he should be the GM and coach of the Nets, that he should have what Stan Van Gundy and Doc Rivers have? That is simply unreasonable. According again to NetsDaily, Kidd takes exception to Kerr and Fisher’s compensation, and Doc Rivers’ power in LA. His issue with the former? Totally reasonable, even totally expected.
His issue with the latter? Doc had 14 years of experience before the Clippers gave him front office power? He won a championship, reached a second finals, won 64 playoff games and 11 playoff series, and won a coach of the year award. Kidd simply does not have that cache or those credentials in the coaching world. To expect that type of stature within it, and to undercut the man who gambled on him in asking for it, is simply unreasonable.
III. I Hope This Works Out For Brooklyn
My primary worry for the Nets is if this affects their free agency plans. A big part of Shaun Livingston coming here was Kidd. Kidd helped pitch the Boston guys on coming here. Kidd is a name with big cache among current NBA players because of who he is do the game and how recently he played. Does his leaving totally kill the Nets this summer? Can’t say. But it’s hard to say it helps on that front. We simply have to hope it does not.
IV. If He Leaves, Where Does Brooklyn Turn
This would put the Nets in a bind. At some point you want stability at the top spot. The Nets could go with a top flight assistant so that they can do that. Mark Jackson is more popular among traditional NBA guys than analytics guys: maybe Billy takes a look. Or maybe they circle to Lionel Hollins and George Karl, but the Nets did not seem interested in the older coaches a summer ago.
Kidd is irked that he makes less than other first timers, particularly the first timer across the river hired under extremely circumstances. He wants to leverage more money. He has. The Nets will get over it. Kidd will get over it. The Bucks will not hand him control of the entire organization: this apparent plan to take his act to Milwaukee seems halfcocked. Kidd will use this to leverage more money from the Nets, and will get that money.