Jason Kidd was supposed to be a modern day Don Quixote NBA parable. A rash, self-aggrandizing ex-star turned player orchestrating his transfer from Brooklyn to Milwaukee, sounded like a negotiating move gone awry. Maybe it was an error in communication during which his request for more bucks resulted in Billy King offering to trade him to the Bucks.
Regardless, it was reminiscent of the adventures of Miguel de Cervante’s caustically-named Ingenious Gentleman of La Mancha.
Using Kidd Quixote’s classic characteristics of megalomania, his falling out with Jim Jackson over Toni Braxton and the messy, public split with his wife and Lawrence Frank as examples, Kidd’s interpersonal skills have always seemed developmentally stunted so it was no surprise that his play for power in Brooklyn backfired.
Walking into Billy King’s office and demanding the dual authority that only Stan Van Gundy, Doc Rivers and Flip Saunders have earned, after his rookie season took huge Cassells.
Winding up in the NBA's Bermuda Triangle of Milwaukee, where his former financial advisor Marc Lasry recently became co-owner sounds like getting kneed in the Cassells.
The Bucks are thought of so lowly, that it's an annual debate over who will win more games between Bo Ryan’s Badger’s over the course of a 30-game regular season and the Bucks during their 82-game slate.
However, the passage of time have shed light on Kidd’s motives and perhaps the future Hall of Fame point guard has prescient vision that extends off the court as well.
Kidd’s return to Brooklyn was supposed to be an opportunity to ridicule him for abdicating the Brooklyn throne in pursuit of fool’s gold in America’s Dairyland.
After Mikhail Prokhorov’s poetic evocation of “don’t let the door hit you where the good lord split you,” Kidd should have been seething.
Instead, he issued a cool measured response. Then, returned with guns blazing with a Heisenberg-type taste for revenge and departed Barclays Center cheesing harder than anyone else.
The Brooklyn Nets are a dumpster fire. They’re old, creaky, Mikhail Prokhorov may be selling and the Nets are currently floundering in the East after mortgaging their present and future draft picks on this NBA 2005 All-Star rotation.
But that shouldn’t change the history of Milwaukee’s dilapidated Harris Bradley Center is a basketball dystopia. If Kidd remains in Milwaukee.
To be more specific, the Bucks may not be in Milwaukee much longer.
When hedge fund managers Wesley Eden and Marc Lasry bought the Milwaukee Bucks for $550 million from former Wisconsin senator Herman Kohl, it appeared to squash all hope of the Seattle Supersonics being resurrected from the ashes of the Milwaukee Bucks.
However, details of the sale have kept a slither of hope alive which may indicate that the league is subtly nudging the Bucks out of Wisconsin.
A provision of the Bucks sale stipulated that if the organization doesn’t have a stadium ready for use by Nov. 2017, the NBA retained the right to buy the team back for $575 million. If the team were sold a second time, Kohl would have no say in whether the new owners could relocate.
It seems farfetched, but it would be worth a gamble for Kidd. However, even if you toss the possibility of Milwaukee relocating to Seattle aside, the Bucks are already a better team than NYC’s B Squad and possess a higher upside.
Wednesday night’s return for Kidd was definitive proof of that.
The Bucks are trending upwards with a slew of young talent that hasn’t even scratched its upside yet and the man who was painted as a bumbling, ungrateful novice is actually displaying some impressive chops on the bench.
Midway through his second season The Greek Freak Giannis Antetokounmpo has hit his stride and unlocked the next level of his potential.
During the Nets triple overtime victory over Brooklyn, Antetokounmpo ratcheted up 18 points and 12 boards in 46 minutes of the triple overtime win to put the wraps on a five-game span in which he averaged 15 points and 8.2 rebounds in 31 minutes per.
Jabari Parker hasn’t come surging out of the gates as expected offensively, averaging just 12 points a game for a rotation that averages the fifth-fewest points per 100 possessions. Conversely, the defense has grown a backbone and improved from 29th to eighth in defensive efficiency.
Four years into his pro career, Brandon Knight has shook off his reputation as a human blooper-reel.
These days Knight is the Bucks heady starting point guard and leading scorer.
Aside from his missed breakaway layup at the end of the first overtime in Brooklyn nearly spoiling Kidd’s return, Knight’s in the midst of a career year under Kidd.
They have three dynamite defenders in John Henson, Larry Sanders and Zaza Pachulia in the paint who are catapulting shots into the abyss.
This is the roster he attempted to recreate in Brooklyn as he allegedly implored King to swap Brook Lopez for Larry Sanders last season.
Jason Kidd may be so crazy, he’s brilliant after all. The jury is still out.
Kidd’s oafish coaching genesis was saved by his midseason decision to modify the Nets into a finesse three-point shooting small-ball team.
The final play of the Bucks second overtime marathon win over the Nets was an example of Kidd’s observational talent.
With the score tied at 112, Kidd taunted Joe Johnson before the Nets final possession after a timeout by playing mind games and telling Joe Johnson, the ball was coming to him.
Sure enough, Hollins called an Iso-Joe special. Johnson was unable to find a window to the basket past Antetokounmpo’s spindly windmill arms and launched an air ball.
The Greek Freak is Milwaukee/city TBDs Manhattan Project. If he continues his exponential improvement, Antetokounmpo projects as a potential All-Star point forward with the length, agility, gazelle speed and wingspan to be an indomitable perimeter defender.
Antetokounmpo’s game isn’t the only thing that’s grown. In the summer between his first and second seasons, Antetokounmpo grew two inches from 6-9 to 6-11 and has gained 25 pounds.
This should all make the current Bucks general manager John Hammond weary of his surroundings and any pointy knives. It was Lasry, not Hammond who began formulating Kidd's escape from Brooklyn. Hammond is a former Executive of the Year, yet he's also a holdover from the Herb Kohl regime.
Succeeding in Milwaukee will be integral to Kidd’s future coaching prospects.
Kidd didn’t just burn his Brooklyn bridge, he violated a basic tenant of the coaching brotherhood by covertly negotiating his Milwaukee gig while Larry Drew operated under pretenses that he would be returning for the 2014-15 season.
Kidd’s guile and ego has earned him a well-deserved reputation as a malcontent and a cannibal in the coaching community.
If he usurps Hammond and fails in his clunky attempt to link up with Lasry with the Milwaukee franchise, general managers will tag Kidd as an insurrectionist.
If he flourishes, Kidd can enjoy the bountiful fruits of his subterfuge for years to come. Pride and hubris may not be Kidd’s fall after all.