Is Jason Kidd Actually Better off with Milwaukee Bucks?

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Is Jason Kidd Actually Better off with Milwaukee Bucks?
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Jason Kidd jumping from the Brooklyn Nets to the Milwaukee Bucks probably wasn't his greater plan, and if it was, it surely wasn't executed cleanly. Kidd's end in Brooklyn came after some clumsy politicking and an effort to grab too much power after just one year on the job, but the consequence of being traded to the Bucks isn't much of a punishment at all.

Envy and pride usually result in a downfall, but for Kidd it a resulted in something else entirely. Here's Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports explaining more on Kidd's departure from the Nets:

Kidd's thirst for more power and money began to escalate with Golden State's and New York's hirings of Steve Kerr and Derek Fisher, respectively, as coaches, league sources said. Kidd was livid they were paid contracts substantially higher than what the Nets paid Kidd as a rookie coach.

"That got him – especially Fisher," one official told Yahoo Sports.

Management had met with Kidd often this offseason, working with him on roster changes that appealed to him in free agency and trades, league sources said. Throughout his history, Kidd has seldom had graceful exits – out of Dallas and Phoenix, out of New Jersey and Dallas again, and finally New York. There have often been hard feelings and acrimony necessitating a move, or the cause of him forcing his way out.

For some, a rookie coach trying to pull off a move like this would throw up a lot of red flags. But for Kidd? It created an opportunity for Milwaukee to potentially upgrade from retread coach Larry Drew with a younger, bigger name to put on the sidelines.

Instead of losing his job entirely or being shunned by team executives everywhere, Kidd somehow managed to land a new position with a significantly younger team with a brighter future—and earn more money for doing it.

Here's Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk.com:

Good for Kidd, can’t begrudge a guy getting what he can get. Plus there is a potential win for the Bucks — he is a star name in a market where it can be hard to get star names. Not sure if he can really recruit guys but it doesn’t hurt and it gives the marketing department another name to put on billboards.

Kidd's new contract will pay him more in line with what Kerr (five years, $25 million) and Fisher (five years, $25 million) will make, so perhaps that will placate his ego for the time being. It's a little ironic that the big money ended up being in Milwaukee instead of Brooklyn, given the spending patterns of both teams over the last few years, but Milwaukee's new ownership was apparently willing to shell out for Kidd. 

 

There's a risk that comes with that, of course, especially when you consider the circumstances of how Kidd ended up being acquired by Milwaukee. Here's Michael Hunt of the Journal Sentinel: 

Then there is the matter of Kidd's actions with his former employer, which do not vouch for his credibility.

With no front-office experience, Kidd made a power play to place himself above King. Kidd wanted full control over selecting the players he would coach, a brash, arrogant plan that backfired. Because Kidd had torched his own Brooklyn bridge, it makes you wonder if he's merely taking the Bucks' coaching job as a matter of convenience.

While it might be easy to look at Milwaukee as more of a safety net than anything else, the situation Kidd landed in is more suitable for where he's at in his career.

With just one year of head coaching experience under his belt, Kidd could use time to grow into the role and take his lumps. He wasn't really afforded that with Brooklyn, as there were championship expectations from day one, considering the age and status of the roster.

That won't be the case in Milwaukee, where the focus will be more on talent development than wins and losses. There's no rush to greatness, and considerably less pressure.

In some ways, although his past makes you reluctant to fully take his side, Kidd's play for more front office control was about shared responsibility.

If he was ultimately going to be the one to take the fall if Deron Williams and Brook Lopez couldn't stay healthy, or if Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce's skills rapidly declined, it's understandable that he'd want to at least feel like he was able to do everything he could to make it work.

That won't be much of a concern in Milwaukee, as one would assume he'd have a louder voice in the front office than he did in Brooklyn.

And while going from a playoff team which made it to the second round to a team with the league's worst record is an immediate downgrade in talent, Milwaukee has future assets, like draft picks, where Brooklyn doesn't.

The Bucks have a young, potential franchise player in Jabari Parker, where Brooklyn doesn't. They have a more patient approach that Brooklyn doesn't. And yes, they were probably willing to fork over money.

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

But that doesn't mean Kidd will necessarily be able to kick back in Brooklyn and loosen his nonexistent tie. There will be still be a different kind of pressure placed on him, as he'll have to stick this out and succeed as a sort of damage control for his reputation around the league.  

Here's Hunt of the Journal Sentinel explaining why that is:

A lot of this will be forgotten down the road if Kidd is able to extract effort and talent from the Bucks' core of young players, particularly Parker. He's going to have his hands full with Larry Sanders, a dynamic that bears watching in the next few months.

But what won't be forgotten anytime soon was the way the Kidd situation was handled. For a franchise that had made two big steps forward, this is one step back.

Kidd has put himself in a hole, but unlike the situation in Brooklyn, there's a realistic chance of climbing out of it and building something sustainable. As far as job and financial security go, Kidd is actually better off with the Bucks.

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