Updates from Wednesday, July 2
ESPN.com reports more fallout from the Kidd departure:
Sources say the Nets wanted to move quickly in the wake of the Kidd saga and lasered in on Hollins immediately, meeting with him Monday and Tuesday.
Hollins has been a favorite of Nets officials for some time and was pursued by Brooklyn to serve as an assistant to Kidd after the in-season departure of Lawrence Frank, but the former Grizzlies coach was determined to wait for a head-coaching opportunity. Hollins was also chased hard this spring by the Houston to serve as the top aide to Rockets coach Kevin McHale in the event that he didn't land a top position.
The Nets have agreed in principle on a deal that will make the future Hall of Fame point guard the Bucks' next head coach. The team announced the deal Tuesday:
The Milwaukee Bucks today named Jason Kidd as the team’s new head coach. The Bucks signed Kidd after the Brooklyn Nets agreed to release him from his contract in exchange for two second round picks in the 2015 and 2019 NBA Drafts. Kidd will be the 14th head coach in the history of the Bucks franchise. He joins Milwaukee following a 19-year Hall-of-Fame-caliber NBA playing career and, most recently, serving as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets.
"When you list the characteristics that make a successful head coach, you would include leadership, communication and a competitive drive," said Hammond. "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."
ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard first reported the news, with Bleacher Report's Howard Beck confirming the details:
Source : Bucks and Nets reach deal for Jason Kidd— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) June 30, 2014
Kidd was angling for dual coach/president role with Bucks, but will be going to Milwaukee as head coach only, per source.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) June 30, 2014
Kidd had three years remaining on his original four-year deal in Brooklyn. The Bucks have agreed to send two second-round draft picks to the Nets as compensation for allowing him out of his contract, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
Jason Kidd will go to the Bucks to coach for 2015 and 2019 second round picks, league source tells Yahoo Sport.s— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 30, 2014
As part of Kidd deal, Brooklyn and Milwaukee will not be allowed to make a trade with each other during 2014-'15 season, source tells Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 30, 2014
Beck had more on Kidd's potential contract with the Bucks:
Jason Kidd and Bucks are working on contract: $4 mil-$5 mil a year range, per sources. Length uncertain, but no less than 3 yrs.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) June 30, 2014
Also of note: Kidd's contract is not expected to include any clause granting him final authority over personnel.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) June 30, 2014
Following the move, Larry Drew was fired by Milwaukee, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, with the Bucks adding a tweet as well:
Larry Drew has been formally fired as coach of the Bucks, sources told ESPN— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) June 30, 2014
GM John Hammond: Larry did the best he could in a difficult situation, especially given all of our injuries.— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 1, 2014
The agreement comes just days after Kidd irreparably damaged his relationships in Brooklyn with a request to run the Nets' basketball operations. According to Tim Bontemps of the New York Post, Kidd recently went to owner Mikhail Prokhorov and others in upper management with a list of demands.
Kidd not only wanted a raise—he had become disenchanted with the high-salaried hires of first-time coaches Steve Kerr in Golden State and Derek Fisher in New York—but also wanted to oversee the Nets' basketball operations. He requested the type of autonomy given to Gregg Popovich, Doc Rivers and Stan Van Gundy.
You guys playing checkers, Jason Kidd playing Risk— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) June 29, 2014
Prokhorov and his team of advisers were ready to give Kidd a salary boost, but they bristled at giving him full roster control. That led to an intense confrontation between the two sides, which in part helped expedite the negotiations between Brooklyn and Milwaukee. Kidd's behind-the-scenes outbursts totally turned Prokhorov, who went out on a limb to hire him last season, against him.
"The Russians are done with Kidd," a league official told Wojnarowski.
As odd as Kidd's request for more power seemed on the surface, it soon became apparent the Bucks were waiting in the wings. Not long after Kidd's blow-up with management, he requested permission to speak with Milwaukee.
Bucks owner Marc Lasry is said to be at the forefront of the move. Lasry was Kidd's financial adviser during his playing days. The two have also developed a close personal friendship, and Kidd has been working behind the scenes to facilitate the move. Lasry and Wes Edens purchased the franchise from Sen. Herb Kohl earlier this year.
New ownership adding "their guys" is not a new concept. A franchise sale typically begets a new coaching staff and general manager—even when the previous regime is successful. Milwaukee went an NBA-worst 15-67 in 2013-14 and has only one winning season in the past decade. Only the futility of the Eastern Conference has allowed for three playoff appearances in that time.
Yet, strange is an apt descriptor for how Lasry went about his business. Larry Drew and general manager John Hammond were not fired, but they were also not privy to negotiations with Kidd. Drew and Hammond also led the charge in Milwaukee's draft room and were expected to stay in their roles courting free agents this summer.
It will be interesting to see what tensions arise from this hire. Drew came over to Milwaukee before last season after spending the previous three years on Atlanta's bench. Hammond has been with the Bucks since 2008. Last January, he signed a three-year extension to stay on as general manager. Although Kidd was not given the "president of basketball operations" title, the situation in Brooklyn makes it clear he's gunning for that type of power.
As far as rebuilding efforts go, Kidd already has a head start. The Bucks have two promising young forwards in Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker, over $10 million in cap space and a few other promising pieces. Only the four-year, $44 million contract of Larry Sanders hangs over Kidd's head as an onerous, cap-filling albatross.
Then again, roster composition might be last on the list of Milwaukee worries. It's what Kidd does with said roster that will dominate the conversation. The jury on Kidd as an NBA coach is still very much out. Given that this is Lasry and Edens' first major decision behind the scenes as new owners, they'd better hope he's ready to handle the immediate scrutiny.
Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter.