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It’s official: Milwaukee Bucks hire Jason Kidd as coach

Jul 1, 2014, 11:10 AM EDT

Brooklyn Nets v Charlotte Bobcats Getty Images

We’ve talked about it for a couple days — and we’ve ripped both Jason Kidd and Bucks ownership for how it happened.

Now it’s done. It’s official — Kidd is the new coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, the team confirmed Tuesday morning.

And like just about everything else in the world of sports, a lot of how this went down will be forgotten or forgiven if Kidd wins games. But’s on him to actually coach well now.

“When you list the characteristics that make a successful head coach, you would include leadership, communication and a competitive drive,” said Bucks GM John Hammond in a released 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.”

“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.”

It was Lasry who started all this along with Kidd. The two have a relationship dating back to when Lasry was a co-owner of the Nets and the pair had some financial dealings. Kidd talked to Lasry about Milwaukee then tried to use that as leverage to get a raise and more power (team president power) in Brooklyn — and the Nets called his bluff. “You want to leave free spending, major market Brooklyn for a rebuilding, development project in Milwaukee? Go for it.”

Lasry started this conversation and got well down the road with Kidd without telling the Bucks current coach Larry Drew or GM Hammond — both of them learned about it when the story broke in the media Saturday night. Not long after Hammond had to negotiate giving up two second round picks for a guy everyone around the league thinks wants his job. Kidd is always about the power plays.

Drew is gone, Kidd is now in. It is done — but it is not playing well in Milwaukee (if you are to believe fan polls in the local paper). Fans in that solid Midwestern town don’t see loyalty as a buzzword.

But this is American sports — winning cures all ills. (Well, almost all.) If Jason Kidd wins with the Bucks,if he  returns this historically proud franchise to lofty heights, how he got the job becomes a footnote.

Now he has to coach.

He did better at that than people give him credit for in Brooklyn, he kind of stumbled into the small ball lineups that worked once Brook Lopez went down, but he exploited them well. The Nets got to the second round in the Eastern Conference playoffs, and that was as much as anyone was going to do with that roster.

The Bucks are different. They are about player development and patience. The Bucks have good young talent — Jabari Parker, John Henson, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Larry Sanders — that needs to be nurtured, put in a system that gives them a chance to succeed.

The Bucks job is not about recruiting stars, it’s about building them. It’s on Kidd to do that now.

If he doesn’t he’ll find it hard to get another job and Lasry and the Bucks owners will find getting approval for some public financing for a new arena — already a tough mountain to climb before all this — will become Everest.

  1. mvp43 - Jul 1, 2014 at 11:35 AM


  2. luz56 - Jul 1, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    The circus has come to town!… With all the baggage that this guy has and the character issues that he possesses I really wonder why ?? He is a self-centered pompous pri *k

    • spursareold - Jul 1, 2014 at 12:50 PM

      He puts on a good act most of the time in public, but there’s a basic shiftiness and dishonesty at Jason Kidd’s core. I think if he takes over the front office as rumored, he’s going to have a hard time making deals with other teams.

  3. boiler72 - Jul 1, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    Meanwhile, those of us who are Bucks fans are beyond thrilled that the rest of the country is miffed that “little Milwaukee” is in the news and if that bothers people, then awesome. Sorta like Super Bowl XLV. Steelers fans were like, “How dare that little tiny map dot town beat our precious, big bad mighty Steelers”. LOL, what a joke. We’re loving it and that’s all that matters.

    • saudishot - Jul 1, 2014 at 12:36 PM

      Speak for yourself.

      • fm31970 - Jul 1, 2014 at 4:28 PM

        True that. Boiler72, you may be thrilled, but I doubt the majority of Bucks fan are thrilled by this move. It’s not a “small market” issue at all, but rather about Kidd as a person, coach, and what he bring to the organization.

        It’s the owners’ rights to have who they want running the team, but I have my doubts this is going to work out well. Nobody really knows what the plan is for the Bucks in the next five years (I haven’t heard ANY news about a new arena), so we’ll just have to wait and see. I hope my feelings are proven wrong and Kidd leads the Bucks to multiple championships, I really do, but I don’t see a lot of Bucks fans thinking he’s the man to do it.

    • mogogo1 - Jul 1, 2014 at 1:27 PM

      Beyond thrilled to be getting a guy who turned a favorite last year into a 6th seed? Dude barely wins half his games last year, totally misplays his hand and loses his job, but somehow he’s a prime catch? Keep telling yourself that.

  4. ravenswhat - Jul 1, 2014 at 12:35 PM

    First of many missteps from the new ownership. I would be dismayed if I were a Bucks fan. You just brought in a disaster.

  5. k3nn3k - Jul 1, 2014 at 1:20 PM

    Why are people so mad at the Bucks for hiring Kidd? They won 15 games last year….15! Regardless of talent or going “sorry for Jabari”, it should be feasible that any coach can be replaced after that.

  6. kb2408 - Jul 1, 2014 at 1:59 PM

    He better succeed in Milwaukee because he’s not getting another NBA coaching gig.

    • mazblast - Jul 1, 2014 at 5:43 PM

      Sure he will. He’ll be a failure in Milwaukee, will get fired, will do a year or two mouthing scripted garbage on ESPN or TNT while collecting bucks from the Bucks, will be mentioned for every coaching vacancy or possible vacancy (because that’s what those networks do–promote their own, and help create a vacancy if there isn’t one), and will get another chance to show he’s not capable.

    • sportsfan18 - Jul 1, 2014 at 11:53 PM

      of course he will kb…

      the lakers will need another coach after the train wreck of a season coming up for the Lakers…

  7. bigwii - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:38 PM

    They had a good draft and we’re looking like they could make done noise on the court this year. Now they’re just going to be making noise off the court, of there was one coach they shouldn’t of hired it was Kidd, sometimes being in the news isn’t good for a small market as little as Milwaukee. They had the element of surprise on their side.

    • fm31970 - Jul 1, 2014 at 4:30 PM

      I agree for the most part. The Bucks had a quick, quiet ownership change, picked a great player #2 overall, then killed any momentum they had with this news.

      • mogogo1 - Jul 1, 2014 at 5:05 PM

        Never a great sign when the owner comes across looking like a fan. He knew Kidd from being his financial advisor. What are the odds the absolute best guy to run the whole franchise already was your good buddy? (Because making him coach wasn’t enough… he had to run the whole show from Day 1.) And not even like there was a search and Kidd came out on top– he was hired without them even looking at anybody else.

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