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Jason Kidd reached out to Nets about becoming head coach, not the other way around

Oct 19, 2013, 12:30 PM EDT

NBA Draft Basketball AP

The Nets hired Jason Kidd as a rookie head coach this summer, less than 10 days after his retirement from a Hall of Fame career that lasted 19 seasons.

Brooklyn’s front office wasn’t exactly camped out on Kidd’s doorstep, however, waiting to pounce once he technically became available. No, it was Kidd who reached out through his agent to Nets’ brass to see if there might be an opportunity, and initially, there wasn’t.

Nets GM Billy King, speaking during the TNT telecast to David Aldridge during Brooklyn’s preseason win over the Heat on Thursday, explained the details of how it all went down, and revealed some of the qualities in Kidd that impressed him enough to give the first-time head coach a shot.

As transcribed by Brian Fleurantin of Nets Daily:

David Aldridge: It is, it’s one thing to put a team like that together. But it’s another thing to turn it over to someone who’s never coached before [Aldridge and King laugh]. So, I mean, what was the thought process when you thought Jason Kidd was a good fit for this team?

Billy King: When we first sat down and talked, you know, just listening to him talk about the team. He was talking about what he would have done in certain games, how we would use the lineup, how he wanted to play, and a lot of the things he talked about were things that I believed in. And, so, we had a two and a half – three hour conversation the first time, and I walked away believing. And then, so we talked again, and then I was convinced.

David Aldridge: He really kind of recruited you as opposed to the other way around right?

Billy King: [nods head in agreement] He did, he did, and you know his agent Jeff Schwartz reached out, and originally I said ‘No.’ I said “No, there’s no way.” Ownership said it, I said “No way.” And then they said “Just meet with him,” and I did, and I’m glad I did.

The most interesting part of all of this is the fact that Kidd was hired a good two weeks before the deal that brought Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn from the Celtics ever materialized.

You have to wonder with the benefit of hindsight if King might have held off on hiring Kidd, in order to see what other experienced head coaches might have had some interest in trying to pilot this now loaded team through the postseason. Guys like George Karl, Lionel Hollins, or even Stan Van Gundy might have been intrigued by the talent assembled on the roster, and for better or worse, they’ve each largely had a track record of success and are generally known commodities.

Brooklyn doesn’t yet know what it has with Kidd, and it’ll be interesting to see how things play out if the team should underachieve and fail to meet expectations under its first-year head coach.

  1. bleedburgandyandgold - Oct 19, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    You win by taking chances but on the other hand you can miss on those chances and lose very bad lol

  2. Kevin S. - Oct 19, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    Considering both KG and Pierce have cited Kidd’s presence as part of why they signed off on coming to Brooklyn, I’d say in hindsight Billy King wouldn’t do a thing differently.

    • basketballgod87 - Oct 19, 2013 at 2:52 PM

      yea you rite

  3. eugenesaxe1 - Oct 19, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    I’m not saying he can’t do the job, but if they fail due to coaching issues, King is going to look extremely stupid.

    • knightrider1755 - Oct 19, 2013 at 8:36 PM

      Not really. Kidd has Lawrence Frank and an experienced coaching staff to back him up. Frank, if I’m not mistaken, coached Kidd when he was with the Nets and also coached the Nets to the second round of the playoffs in 2007.

  4. netsdaily - Oct 19, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    People don’t have a clue of how this happened. King said something different back in June.

    http://www.netsdaily.com/2013/6/18/4442142/billy-king-admits-being-initially-resistant-to-jason-kidd-as-coach

    King has a pass on this.

  5. j0esixpack - Oct 19, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    Don’t sell Kidd short. Who’s to say having a player friendly coach didn’t help seal the deal with Pierce and Garnett etc.

    A veteran coach set in his ways might not work well… While Pierce and Garnett are like coaches themselves. This has a good chance at working out well for the Nets

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