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Jason Kidd: Giannis Antetokounmpo Called Before Firing Trying to Save My Job

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2018

Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd talks with Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo as he walks off the court during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

The Milwaukee Bucks fired head coach Jason Kidd on Monday, but it reportedly was star player Giannis Antetokounmpo who told him and offered to try to save his job, per Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. 

Shelburne provided a breakdown of the conversation Kidd and Antetokounmpo had before the official firing:

Ramona Shelburne @ramonashelburne

Kidd, "He called me and said, 'Coach, this isn't right what they're about to do, but (they) are gonna let you go.' " Kidd says he told Antetokounmpo that "I had a feeling that was gonna take place."

Ramona Shelburne @ramonashelburne

Kidd says Antetokounmpo replied, "'What can I do? I'll call the owners, I'll call my agent." Kidd said he told him, "There's nothing you can do. All you can do is tell the truth. That's it."

Chris Haynes of ESPN.com noted earlier in the day that reports of Kidd's firing came before the coach was officially told, and Haynes added that the small forward was "devastated" by the news.

Bucks general manager Jon Horst explained that the team needed "a fresh approach and a change in leadership," in the team's official release.

With a 23-22 record entering Monday, good for eighth place in the Eastern Conference, the team was obviously disappointed considering its high expectations coming into the year. On the other hand, Kidd has apparently been a key part of Antetokounmpo's development since the start of his career.

In the three-plus seasons under Kidd's tutelage, the 23-year-old has grown from a raw talent averaging 12.7 points per game to a legitimate MVP candidate averaging 28.2 ppg this season. He was selected to his second straight All-Star game, earning the most votes from both players and media among Eastern Conference frontcourt players.

However, the relationship reportedly hasn't been quite as good with every player. According to Ryen Russillo of ESPN, Kidd and Jabari Parker currently aren't speaking.

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In any case, Antetokounmpo will now try to continue his development under interim coach Joe Prunty and whomever the team hires as a permanent coach. Considering he is under contract to stay in Milwaukee through the 2020-21 season, he won't have too many other options.

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