Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Kidd, No Play

The thing that you have to understand is that Jason Kidd is very, very good at getting things to go his way.

He's outmaneuvered multiple coaches, both in college and in the pros (see also: Frank, Lawrence). He fell into a head coaching gig with an owner willing to pay luxury tax and a pile of experienced vets gunning for one more ring. He juked past multiple mistakes - Sodagate, anyone - that would have gotten anyone else laughed out of the league, and he's made run-ins with domestic abuse and DUI largely vanish from the conversation.

So when people make fun of Kidd for demanding total control of the Nets, then using the refusal to springboard his way to Milwaukee, I'm disinclined to agree.

I mean, yeah, it's Milwaukee. But it's a Milwaukee team that's young. It's a Milwaukee team that just added a pro-ready kid with star potential in Jabari Parker, and that has a hyper-talented freak who's just starting to blossom in Giannis Antetokounmpo. It's a Milwaukee team with some other nice talent like Larry Sanders and John Henson and Brandon Knight, and all of it is young. And best of all, as far as Kidd's concerned, he knows one of the new owners - Lasry, who's been Kidd's financial advisor for years - which presumable means Kidd's got him wrapped around his finger.

Compare that to Brooklyn: An aging team with massive cap issues. $144M in losses last year because of luxury tax issues and no real relief in sight. Pierce and Garnett have maybe one more run in them. The best player, Deron Williams, is 30, and is getting a little antsy. No young talent in the cupboard, and the recent drafts have been thin and poor. With the hiring of Phil Jackson, the crosstown Knicks have stolen all the back-page thunder, and the Russian plutocrat owner is suddenly making noise about wanting to sell.

Now, when I put it that way, which one looks like the better job?

So, yes, Kidd's going to get hammered by the casual fans and on the sports talk stations for forcing his way out of Brooklyn. But he's not stupid, and he's not slow, and when you look at things objectively, you can see why Milwaukee suddenly looked a whole lot better than overseeing the KG-PP farewell tour in the Barclays Center. There's a risk, of course - second year coach who made his own bed now gets to lay in it and hope it's a good fit. If the Milwaukee thing goes south, that may be the end of the line for Jason Kidd, coach.

But it's looked like the end of the line for Jason Kidd a bunch of times before, and he's always come through. And so help me, I don't see why this time should be any different.
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