I always believed that if Jason Kidd returned to fulfill the final two years of his Knicks contract, he’d eventually be demoted to a quasi-assistant coach/player position. His retirement squashes those plans. However, New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica has a more direct path for Kidd’s path to the bench in mind.
As we all know, the Nets have an opening and Kidd has a little free time next season. It would be an incredibly unorthodox decision, but not entirely unprecedented. Bill Russell, Lenny Wilkens and Dave Cowens were each Hall of Fame players who served in player-coach positions, but Lupica uses Mark Jackson’s success as a player turned broadcaster, turned coach as the Kidd comparison.
Via New York Daily News:
There are plenty of other fine candidates out there, certainly Brian Shaw, the former NBA guard who has been sitting next to the Pacers’ fine young coach, Frank Vogel. Lionel Hollins has done an exceptional job with the Grizzlies, who are allowing Hollins to shop himself around, which means that they probably don’t want him anymore.
These are all legit guys, and would be legit hires. But you keep looking at what Jackson, the old point guard, has done with Steph Curry and the Warriors. You see the way his team plays for him. Coach on the floor becoming this kind of coach for Golden State. If it works there, maybe it would work in Brooklyn with Kidd and the Nets.
Kidd is one of the most intelligent and creative players in NBA history. You saw the force of his game and the force of his basketball intellect when Rod Thorn made one of the best trades in NBA history and brought him to the Nets, who then went from being a joke to two-time NBA finalists.
Even at the end, with the Knicks, there was this huge part of the season when Kidd’s impact on the game was still tremendous, whether he had the numbers or not, even when you could see his legs were gone. As my friend Paul Westphal, who briefly worked with Kidd in Dallas, said on Monday, Kidd was still seeing things on the court before the other players even thought of them.
“Nobody knows more about the subtleties of making winning plays,” Westphal said Friday.
Kidd's basketball IQ has often been touted just as much as his instincts and vision. Kidd’s most successful seasons were spent in a Nets uniform, but what Lupica doesn't mention is that he and Deron Williams were nearly a package deal for the Mavs and Nets during the 2012 offseason. It would be a risky proposition for Billy King. The type that can end careers or make them. King and Kidd will meet next week, but probably to discuss an assistant coaching position.