The Nets announced Wednesday the hiring of Jason Kidd as their next head coach less than 10 days after the 10-time All-Star announced his retirement.
“On behalf of the Nets organization, I am very pleased to welcome Jason Kidd as the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets,” Nets GM Billy King said in a statement. “Jason is a proven winner and leader with an incredible wealth of basketball knowledge and experience. This will be a natural transition for him to move into the role of head coach, as he embodies the tough, smart and team-first mentality that we are trying to establish in Brooklyn.”
Yahoo! Sports reported earlier Wednesday that the Nets and Kidd were closing in on a four-year contract that may include a team option on the final year. ESPN.com reported that the Nets have opted to make Kidd their next head coach and informed Pacers assistant Brian Shaw, also a finalist for the position, that he was no longer in the mix. SI.com's Chris Mannix confirmed that the two sides were finalizing a deal.
“Jason Kidd has a long and legendary history with the Nets and with the city of New York," Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov said. "He has the fire in the belly we need, and has achieved as a player everything the Brooklyn Nets are striving to achieve. We believe he will lead us there. Welcome home, Jason.”
“This is a tremendous opportunity to be named head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, and it’s a role I have been studying for over the course of my playing days,” Kidd said. “Championship teams are built on being prepared, playing unselfishly and being held accountable, and that’s how I expect to coach this basketball team. I am truly excited about this next phase of my basketball career.”
Kidd, the No. 2 pick in the 1994 draft after earning All-America honors as a sophomore at Cal, played for the Mavericks, Suns, Nets and Knicks. The 1995 co-Rookie of the Year finishes with career averages of 12.6 points, 8.7 assists, 6.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals. Kidd made the All-NBA first or second team six times and the All-Defensive team nine times. He also won a gold medal with USA Basketball at the 2000 and 2008 Olympics and he received the NBA’s sportsmanship award twice.
“My time in professional basketball has been an incredible journey, but one that must come to an end after 19 years,” Kidd said. “As I reflect on my time with the four teams I represented in the NBA, I look back fondly at every season and thank each every one of my teammates and coaches that joined me on the court.”
Regarded as one of the greatest all-around point guards in NBA history, Kidd ranks No. 2 all time in assists and steals, trailing only Jazz Hall of Fame guard John Stockton in both categories. He retired having earned more than $187 million in contracts.
“I think it is the right time,” Kidd told ESPNNewYork.com last week. “When you think about 19 years, it has been a heckuva ride. Physically, I want to be able to participate in activities with my kids, so it has taken a toll. It is time to move on and think about maybe coaching or doing some broadcasting.”
Brooklyn fired former coach Avery Johnson back in December after a 14-14 start. Assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo was promoted to interim coach for the balance of the season, but Prokhorov and King opted not t0 retain Carlesimo after the Nets lost their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series to the Bulls in seven games.
The Point Forward ranked Brooklyn's job as the most attractive position back in May. Kidd join a long list of first-time NBA head coaches hired this summer: Lakers assistant Steve Clifford is now the coach of the Bobcats, Spurs assistant coach Mike Budenholzer will become the head coach of the Hawks after the Finals are completed, Jazz assistant coach Jeff Hornacek is now the coach of the Suns and Warriors assistant coach Michael Malone is now the coach of the Kings.