City Sports Report

I’m Not Saying Jason Kidd Was Right, But I Understand by Marc Rasbury

Brooklyn Nets Head Coach Lionel Hollins (Photo by Herbert Delancey)

When I heard about what Jason Kidd did last week, I thought it was a ‘Despicable Me’ move. Then I thought about it and something that the
great 21st Century Philosopher Chris Rock once said came to mind , “I’m ain’t saying it was right, but I understand”.  Now I do not condone what Kidd did or more importantly how he did it, however, I see what he might have been thinking.

Before last week’s 2014 NBA Draft took place, I walked past Brooklyn Nets General Manager Billy King’s office and noticed that it was
locked with no activity going on inside. I laughed to myself that King, with no draft picks at the time, had the night off despite the
organization hosting the event. I’m sure King was somewhere working behind the scene on a deal or two.  But I didn’t see the bombshell
that was coming down the pike.

Out of nowhere news broke that Jason Kidd was looking to get out of his then existing contract with Brooklyn as their head coach to take
the same position with the Milwaukee Bucks. Going into Thursday’s draft, Kidd only served one year of his four-year deal. Most Nets fans
thought a new coach was not on the top of King’s priority list but apparently that was the case.

It defies logic to think that Kidd would be looking for his next job shortly after his first season at the helm. The Nets gave him the job
despite him having no experience at any level. Yes, he will go down as one the greatest basketball minds of the modern era. But that was on
the court, not on the bench. There is no guarantee that a great player will go on to be even a good coach, and if you need examples, see
Magic Johnson and Willis Reed. Looking back, King was on the verge of letting Kidd go after the team got off to a horrible 10-21 start. Then
things turned around after the All-Star break and they advanced to the second round of Eastern Conference Playoffs.

But something clearly happened. There are two things we have to consider here when it comes to the Kidd-Brooklyn saga. First, we have
to look at Kidd’s history and what has taken place over the NBA landscape during the past two or three years.

Looking back over Kidd’s career, we should have seen this coming. Kidd has the reputation as Coach Killer or Locker Room Cancer.  Many
believed that he ran his college coach Lou Campanelli out of University of California during his freshman year. There was that mess
with Jim Jackson and Jamal Mashburn where the young Mavericks broke up fighting over Toni Braxton. Shortly afterwards, Head Coach Dick Motta resigned. When he was in Phoenix, Danny Ainge stepped down. We all remember what happen to Byron Scott and recently with his good friend Lawrence Frank with the Nets over the past decade. Kidd has been the eye of the storm going back to his college days. So this latest chapter should come as no surprise.

Now we have to consider what is going on in the League today. Lionel Hollins took the Memphis Grizzlies to the Western Conference Finals
last year. Mark Jackson took over a disaster in Golden State and turned them into a Western Conference power. George Karl led the
Denver Nuggets to the playoffs six straight seasons. What do Hollins, Jackson and Karl have in common? They were all fired after successful
runs with their respective organizations. Then you have Steve Kerr and Derek Fisher, who, like Kidd, have no coaching experience, landing
nice gigs, but at twice the money that Kidd received. Maybe Kidd saw the writing on the wall and thought, “I’m going to do them before they
do me!”

He went to General Manager King and Owner Mikhail Prokhorov and demanded more money and more power in personnel decisions. So
basically he told his boss, King, that he wanted more money but his job as well. At the same time, Kidd was negotiating a contract with
the Bucks. As you can imagine this didn’t sit well with the Nets. King and Prokhorov showed Kidd the door and got a couple of draft picks for
letting Kidd jet off to Milwaukee despite having three years left on his Nets contract. Some will say that Kidd was thinking about going to
Milwaukee when he asked King to trade Broke Lopez to the Bucks for Larry Sanders early in the season. The trade sounded absurd then but
it makes you say hmmmm, now with the thought that Kidd was trying to make the Bucks a better situation when he got there.

The Nets have the right to be heated with what Kidd pulled last week. He is the best player in franchise history behind the immortal Julius
Erving. I would be pi$$ed off too. But when you see what is going on in today’s NBA coaching landscape, I say to myself, “I ain’t saying it
is right, but I understand!”

Lionel Hollins Is the Head Coach of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Herbert Delancey)

Lionel Hollins Is the Head Coach of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Herbert Delancey)

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