SAN ANTONIO — Jason Kidd has reached an agreement to become the next coach of the Nets, according to a league source.
Kidd has the framework in place for a three-year deal and could be introduced at a news conference at the Nets’ facility within the next few days, possibly as early as Friday. It’s a remarkably rapid ascension for Kidd, who just retired last week after 19 seasons in the NBA.
The Nets tabbed Kidd, 40, despite his lack of coaching experience, opting to go with the future Hall of Famer over Pacers associate head coach Brian Shaw. Kidd met with general manager Billy King on Monday and impressed him enough that he emerged as the front-runner.
Shaw had a lengthy interview with King on Wednesday, and although it reportedly went well, it wasn’t enough to keep the Nets from turning to the guy who almost single-handedly changed the franchise’s losing culture when he arrived in New Jersey in 2001.
Kidd is expected to assemble a staff with veteran assistant coaches, something that’s necessary to aid him in this sudden transition from player to coach.
The Nets had been searching for a replacement since King cut P.J. Carlesimo loose May 5, the day after the Bulls ended their season with a Game 7 first-round playoff victory in Brooklyn. Even when he took over on an interim basis for Avery Johnson on Dec. 27, when Johnson was ousted weeks after winning the league’s Eastern Conference coach of the month award in November, Carlesimo was never seen as the long-term solution.
Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has stated his belief the Nets will win a championship by 2015, putting more pressure on Kidd to get the job done.
Magic Johnson, who had a brief 17-game coaching stint with the Lakers in 1994, said he thinks Kidd will be a good coach and that he’d hire him in a minute. However, he admitted Kidd is going to need some help from others.
“(Kidd has) to make sure he gets great assistants, probably former coaches who are going to help him, because game planning is also tough because he hasn’t been doing that,” Johnson, now an analyst for ABC/ESPN, said Wednesday. “Just to come up with the game plan both on offense and defense, he’d need some top-notch assistants to help him with that. Player-wise, he’ll handle that. Respect-wise, he can get that from Day 1 because he’s been a winner, he’s been a Hall of Famer, and in the locker room he’ll know how to deal with egos because he’s been in those locker rooms.
“But the biggest challenge will be the game plan, day-to-day and making sure that he doesn’t judge guys or expect guys to be like him.”
Johnson said that latter issue was an obstacle he had to overcome in his short time roaming courtside for the Lakers. He fell into that line of thinking he was playing, and it took a member of his staff to essentially tell him to knock it off.
“The biggest thing he’s got to understand is I used to holler at Nick Van Exel,” Johnson said. “He was our point guard, and I used to yell at him, ‘He’s open! He’s open! He’s open!’ About the third time, Michael Cooper pulled me aside and said, ‘He can’t see like you. You can’t holler at him that he’s open because you can see it, but he can’t see it.’ I’m saying, ‘Why? He’s open!’ He’s got to understand that guys are not going to be able to play like him, or be dedicated like he was or want to be great like he did.
“That will be his biggest challenge.”