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Grown-Up Kidd: Is Mavs’ New Boss a Better Coach - and a Better Man?

Kidd will have three introductions in Dallas. Drafted as rookie in 1994. Acquired in a trade in 2008. Hired as head coach in 2021.

Whether you’re at the end of your coffee, your day, your week or even your rope, welcome to Whitt’s End 6.25.21  …

*During Jason Kidd’s rookie season with the Dallas Mavericks in 1995, venerable head coach Dick Motta was daydreaming about his budding star’s future the day after he won a game by making a steal and, while diving out of bounds, calling a mid-air timeout that was as savvy as it was athletic. 

“You don’t understand, but you will,” Motta said. “The kid’s a basketball genius. He was born, not made. He’ll be the most dominant player never to average 20 points a game. He’ll be an All-Star. He’ll win MVP. He’ll win a championship, maybe several. Then he’ll be a head coach, if he wants.” 

Sub the MVP for a couple of Olympic gold medals, and the ol’ coach was spot-on about the young kid. What he didn’t predict: That Kidd would have three introductions in Dallas. Drafted as rookie in 1994. Acquired in a trade in 2008. Hired as head coach in 2021.

There have been personal issues along the way. Once the Mavs hold a press conference featuring Kidd, those questions should be asked and answered. And then? The hope that Kidd has grown, as a coach, but more, as a man.

*Silly to make any evaluations before pads start poppin’ next month in Oxnard, but early glimpses lead us to believe the Dallas Cowboys’ best draft pick just might be third-round cornerback Nahshon Wright. What the 6-foot-4 rookie lacks in polish he makes up for with raw athleticism, instinct and ball skills. 

After all their swings-and-misses on ball-hawking cornerbacks – Byron Jones, Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, et al – wouldn’t it be refreshing to stumble upon an elite corner with the 99th overall pick?

*Went to a Texas Rangers game Wednesday night and two things: 1. When ERCOT and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ask Texans to keep their thermostat at a balmy 78 degrees to conserve energy, why doesn’t that apply to 1.8 million square-foot Globe Life Field, which was a nippy 72? 2. Nothing says “Summer” like the booming voice of Chuck Morgan.

*Remind me to be reincarnated as an NBA head coach. Why? Kidd just got hired despite having a losing record in the regular season (183-190) and playoffs (9-15). Rick Carlisle just got hired despite not winning a playoff series in the last 10 years.

 They’ll both make more than $5 million per season in their gigs.

*Not a lot of creativity from Mavs owner Mark Cuban on his hiring of Kidd, but landing Nico Harrison to be general manager could be an outside-the-box stroke of genius. The high-ranking Nike executive has deep NBA connections and may solved the Mavs’ decades-old conundrum of not being able to attract blue-chip free agents.

*That said, the last time the Mavs lured a Nike executive into their front office it didn’t go so well. Right, Terdema Ussery?

*Completed the Spartan Stadion race at AT&T Stadium last week. Six miles. 20 obstacles, the most difficult of which was carrying a 60-pound sandbag to the top row and back down. I know some men who display their machismo by pushing their foot down on the gas pedal an inch or pulling the trigger finger of their gun a couple of centimeters. I guess I prefer a tad more strenuous metric to measure my masculinity.

*Personally, I love the Kidd hiring. I wrote about him extensively in the 1990s while the Mavs beat writer for the Fort Worth-Star Telegram and have long considered him a friend. 

Professionally, meh.

 But I’m in the minority. A sampling: 

Three weeks ago Blazers’ star Damian Lillard said “Jason Kidd is the guy I want.” 

Magic Johnson on Friday tweeted “Hiring Nico Harrison as the GM and Kidd as head coach is a game changer. Both hires will make the Mavs championship contenders for many years to come!” 

And added LeBron James, “Damn I hate to lose JKidd man but damn I’m happy for him at the same time!”

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*I ranked the Top 10 all-time coaches in the history of DFW sports. Bet you can’t name them all without peeking.

*Hot.

*Not.

*So the same Patrick Beverley that Luka Doncic laughed off as “too small” and sent to the bench for the entire first-round Mavs-Clippers series is now giving Suns’ star Devin Booker defensive fits in the NBA Western Conference Finals? I think it says more about Luka than Bev..

The Mavs’ superstar is literally above it all.

*I dunno, doesn’t this feel like a guy who just divorced his wife endorsing her next husband? “My hope is that Jason Kidd will be the next coach of the Mavs because he and Luka have so many things in common as players,” Carlisle said. “I just think that it would be a great situation for Luka, and I think it would be an amazing situation for Jason. I’m the only person on the planet that’s coached both of those guys and that knows about all of their special qualities as basketball players. To me, that just would be a great marriage.”

*Hear that? It’s the sound of exactly zero Mavs players publicly expressing sadness over the departure of Carlisle. 

The silence is indeed deafening.

*Lotta debate about voting rights and gerrymandering these days. My solution: Make Election Day a national holiday.

*At 25-45 last week, the Rangers dropped 20 games below .500. Only twice in their history have they plummeted so far so fast, in 1973 and 2001.

*Swoosh! What goes around comes around, and back again. In the 1990s, Kidd’s first agent, Aaron Goodwin, was a huge Nike proponent who helped his client land his own signature shoe, the Air Zoom Flight. Now Kidd is back in Dallas, working in concert with a former Nike executive.

*Baseball tried to make a big deal out of the Cubs throwing a “combined” no-hitter against the Dodgers this week. What’s next, celebrating a team hitting for a “combined” cycle?

*Kidd is the new coach. Michael Finley moving up the personnel department ladder. Dirk Nowitzki a special advisor. J.J. Barea and Jason Terry being considered as assistant coaches. If the whole coaching/front office thing doesn’t work out, the Mavs are putting together a heckuva old-timers touring team.

*Props to Shenaniganz Entertainment Center in Rockwall for its permanent bans of former Mavs Lamar Odom, Rajon Rondo and DeAndre Jordan.If you don’t know why, you’re not a true MFFL.

*Not a great sign when your signature coaching moment is an orchestrated accident to stop the clock because you ran out of timeouts.

*DFW road rage feels like it’s at an all-time high.The more you read these terrifying tales, the less you should care about someone infringing upon “your” lane. Let them win, and live to drive another day. Please.

*Good news: The NFL is allowing alternate,throwback helmets this year. Bad news: The Cowboys’ originals were … yawwwwwwn.

*RANGERS RISK: We all think the Texas Rangers are going to be putrid this season. Our lil’ roundtable revealed predicted win totals of anywhere between 61 and 78, but no one thinks .500 is plausible. Let’s put our money where our mouth is. I’m going to bet a virtual $100 against the Rangers every game this season and, after six months and 162 games, see where I wind up. I’ll keep a running tab right there each Friday and come September I’ll (wink) disperse my profits to my most loyal readers. RECORD: 28-48 TOTAL: +$562.

*This Weekend? Saturday is for taking Big Brother Big Sister Ja to the Dallas zoo, followed by some tennis and a trip – motivation to be revealed soon – to LaBare. As always, don’t be a stranger.