Cal Basketball: Has Jason Kidd Risen to Favorite's Role for Knicks' Job?

LeBron James doesn't want to lose Jason Kidd as a Lakers' assistant.Photo by Alonzo Adams, USA Today

Jeff Faraudo

Is Jason Kidd now a frontrunner for the head coaching position with the New York Knicks?

Or are the Knicks merely using Kidd’s interest in the job to leverage their top choice, Tom Thibodeau?

And will LeBron James’ reported desire to keep Kidd as a top assistant with the Los Angeles Lakers actually make a difference?

As the NBA readies for its restart in the bubble of Orlando, Florida, and the sports world confronts change across the horizon, there seems to be at least one constant: the Knicks can’t get out of their own way.

In any case, Kidd's name has resurfaced in the organization's search for its 14th different head coach since 2001.

NOON UPDATE: ESPN is reporting that the Knicks and Thibodeau are finalizing a five-year deal to make him the franchise's next head coach.

Reports indicate that Thibodeau has been the franchise’s top choice, and he may still wind up with the job. The New York Post reported a source saying he has a “65 percent” chance of landing the position.

Other reports suggest the two sides are stalled over the length of the contract.

As a result, various outlets are reporting that Kidd is again a viable player in the mix:

From the New York Daily News:

The Knicks coaching search is at a crossroads and turning messy. Stalled contract negotiations with Tom Thibodeau, the favorite for months, has elevated Jason Kidd to a frontrunner, the Daily News has learned.

From the New York Post:

An NBA source who spoke to Kidd Thursday night told The Post that Kidd, now a Lakers assistant inside the Orlando bubble, really wants the Knicks job.

Kidd coached the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks for a combined four-plus seasons, posting an overall win-loss record of 183-190 and guiding his team into the playoffs in three of his fourth full seasons. But he left the Nets after a messy power-play to escape his contract and he was fired midway through the 2017-18 season in Milwaukee, despite support from Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Daily News says Kidd is “viewed by the Knicks as a conduit to attracting stars, and his relationship with 2021 free agent Giannis Antetokounmpo is a boost.”

That same story, by Stefan Bondy, says there are others within the organization who question Kidd’s coaching skills and so the organization would insist on choosing some of his assistants.

“It’s basically to save Kidd from himself,” a source told the Daily News.

Marc Berman of the Post reported that Kidd has met twice with the team and that in his second visit gave “a great interview.”

Another factor, according to the Post, is that Thibodeau is reportedly intrigued by the Houston Rockets and could be a serious candidate for that job if coach Mike D’Antoni, in the final year of his contract, does not return.

The Post said a source indicated the Knicks won’t make a decision until next week.

Then there is the LeBron factor.

According to Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of the website Heavy, James wants Kidd to remain with the Lakers.

As an assistant to coach Frank Vogel, Kidd has helped the Lakers construct the best record in the Western Conference heading into the resumption of the season next week.

If James wants the best for Kidd, wouldn’t he endorse his bid for the Knicks’ job?

Or would he use his unique position as the game’s biggest star to convince ownership to promote Kidd to the top job if the Lakers do anything short of winning the NBA title this summer?

Lots to digest here. 

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Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo

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