Lakers Rumors: Jason Kidd Targeted by UNLV for Head Coaching Vacancy

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd before an NBA basketball game between the Golden State Warriors and the Lakers in San Francisco, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd has reportedly "emerged as a candidate" as UNLV searches for a new men's basketball coach after T.J. Otzelberger left the program to take over at Iowa State.

Sam Gordon of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Friday the Runnin' Rebels are "intrigued" by Kidd and there's "belief" the Hall of Fame point guard would be interested in the head coaching job.

Kidd made his interest known to UNLV when it went through the search that ended with the hiring of Otzelberger in March 2019, but he didn't have a college degree, which the school requires for its coaches, per Gordon. He's since obtained a degree. He left Cal after two years to enter the 1994 NBA draft.

The 47-year-old San Francisco native earned 10 All-Star selections during a 19-year pro career that ended in 2013. He played for the Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, New Jersey Nets and New York Knicks, winning an NBA title with the Mavs in 2011.

He made the immediate jump to coaching in 2013 as he was hired by the Brooklyn Nets as their head coach just nine days after announcing his retirement as a player.

Kidd posted a 44-38 record during his first year as a coach and led the Nets to the second round of the playoffs. He was then traded to the Milwaukee Bucks during the 2014 offseason.

He guided the Bucks to a 139-152 mark with two playoff appearances in three-plus seasons before being fired midway through the 2017-18 campaign.

Kidd was hired by the Lakers as an assistant in July 2019 and was part of the staff that helped LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Co. win the 2020 NBA championship in October.

In December 2019, L.A. head coach Frank Vogel said Kidd quickly emerged as a key part of the staff.

"Doing the scouts, working with the video guys, preparing the film and the scouting reports and contributing to ... the pulse of the team as a whole,"ย Vogelย said. "And he's brought great suggestions to the table in all areas of our decision-making process."

Meanwhile, UNLV is coming off a 12-15 season under Otzelberger, but it does have the best 2021 recruiting class in 247Sports' rankings from early signings, and the new coach will be tasked with building off that to improve the outlook for the 2021-22 season and beyond.

Kidd's name recognition would help him on the recruiting trail if he does make the switch to the college ranks.