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Nets moving on after Bucks hire Kidd as coach
Sports By: The Bullet Wire July 1st, 2014 9:31 am
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Jason Kidd’s jersey hung on the wall just to the right of Billy King, a reminder that the Brooklyn Nets lost more than a coach. They lost a franchise icon.
No time to worry about that now. The only focus for King is replacing him.
“I think no one person — and this is not just talking about Jason — but no one person can be bigger than a franchise or an organization, because an organization has got to stand on itself,” the Nets general manager said Tuesday. “Players come, coaches come, ownerships come and go, but the brand of the Nets will stay.”
Kidd was hired Tuesday morning by the Milwaukee Bucks, a day after they sent two second-round picks to the Nets as compensation.
King and his assistants had dinner Monday night with former Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins, and they planned to meet again Tuesday. King said he wants a coach in place “soon.”
He was surprised he had to hire another one so quickly after Kidd decided to bolt after just one season. But he repeatedly said it was just business, leaving personal feelings aside even as Kidd’s departure came after a failed attempt to gain more power than King within the organization.
“Things happen and you’ve got to be flexible and ready to move, and move on,” King said at the Nets’ practice facility. “And so the timing may not have been right, the way it happened may not have been right, but hopefully for Jason he’s happy at the end of the day.”
Kidd led the Nets to a 44-38 record and the second round of the playoffs. He replaced Larry Drew, who went 15-67, the worst record in the league, in his only season guiding the Bucks.
New Bucks co-owners Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry called Kidd “a determined leader, a tough-minded competitor and a great teammate” in a statement.
“When you list the characteristics that make a successful head coach, you would include leadership, communication and a competitive drive,” Bucks general manager John Hammond said.
Kidd displayed all of that during a 19-year playing career that will someday land him in the Hall of Fame. He led the Nets to their greatest NBA success, back-to-back trips to the finals in 2002-03.
He returned to the franchise last summer as coach and the Nets retired his number during the preseason. But he wanted more, seeking to be placed above King in the basketball operations department. When that was denied, the team granted him permission to speak to other teams.
“I don’t look at it as any personal affront to me,” King said. “Whatever he felt he needed to do he did, and what ownership did, they did.”
King became aware of the situation last Wednesday, a day before the draft — a day which Kidd represented the Nets at a news conference to announce plans for a new practice facility — and just days before the start of free agency that began Tuesday. He said it won’t affect the Nets, even though Kidd’s agent also represents Nets free agents Paul Pierce and Shaun Livingston.
“It’s a bump, it’s a big bump, but it’s something we’ve got to overcome,” King said. “And as I go back to my one statement, the organization’s got to be bigger than one person.
“So we’re not where we were like a week ago, but I think we can get back there quickly.”
King said he called Pierce, Livingston and free agent Alan Anderson since free agency opened, but not backup center Andray Blatche, so perhaps he will be gone.
Kidd already is. But soon somebody else will be in.
“It’s unfortunate that it ended this way because I thought we had a good partnership working together, but this is what happens in this business,” King said. “Things happen and we move forward.”
Follow Brian Mahoney on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Briancmahoney
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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