Despite a forceful endorsement from franchise star and fellow Oakland native Damian Lillard, Jason Kidd will not be the next head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Kidd, the former Cal and NBA star point guard, told ESPN he does not wish to be considered for the vacancy created when the Trail Blazers cut ties with this week with nine-year coach Terry Stotts.
"Portland's a first-class organization and will have great candidates for its head coaching job, but I've decided not to be one of them," Kidd told ESPN. "Whoever they choose will have big shoes to fill from Terry.”
Just two days earlier, Blazers All-Star guard Lillard made his position clear.
"Jason Kidd is the guy I want,” he told Yahoo Sports on Friday night.
But, according to ESPN, Kidd had concerns about the way things unfolded this week in Portland:
Kidd was ultimately uncomfortable with the idea of pursuing the opening after Blazers star Damian Lillard publicly called for his hiring within hours of Stotts' departure on Friday night. The public nature of Lillard's endorsement -- telling Yahoo Sports that "Jason Kidd is the guy I want" -- left Kidd feeling he would put both Lillard and Portland's process in an awkward circumstance should he pursue the opening.
It's so early in the process that it's impossible to know whether Kidd would have had a real chance at the Trail Blazers' job. Perhaps he got word through channels that he wouldn't be considered and simply decided to control the narrative himself. We just don't know.
Oregonian columnist John Canzano wrote that Lillard's endorsement was tantamount to a power play.
ESPN reported that the Blazers had not yet requested permission to talk with any potential candidates, but were expected to do so by the end of Sunday.
Candidates for the position reportedly include Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups, former Knicks and Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy, Nets assistant Mike D'Antoni and Michigan coach Juwan Howard.
Kidd, 48, has been Lakers coach Frank Vogel’s top assistant the past two seasons and has received high marks for his contributions.
Previously he was the head coach for the Nets and Bucks, where he became the first coach in history to lead two franchises to the playoffs in his first two years with the team.
Kidd led Cal to the NCAA tournament in both his years at Cal. As a freshman, he helped the Bears upset two-time defending champion Duke in the second round of the 1993 NCAA tournament, but his last game at Cal was a first-round loss to Wisconsin-Green Bay in the 1994 NCAA tournament.
As a pro, Kidd was a 10-time all-star and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Cover photo of Jason Kidd by Mark. J. Rebilias, USA Today
Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo