Jason Kidd, the future Hall of Fame point guard who retired after 18 stellar seasons last week, was named head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, a surprising move considering Kidd has never coached on any level.
It was even more stunning with the availability of proven head George Karl, Lionel Hollins and Byron Scott and after long-time NBA assistant coach Brian Shaw was interviewed by the team.
“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,” said the 40-year-old Kidd, who retired as a player earlier this month. “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’s hiring came after the Nets met with Shaw for five hours Wednesday. Sources told ESPN.com that although Shaw had been targeted by the Nets for some time and made a strong presentation during Wednesday’s interview, Kidd convinced Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and his advisers that he is ready to jump directly into the lead seat on an NBA bench, despite his lack of prior coaching experience.
A source with knowledge of Kidd’s meetings with the Nets said the star point guard “didn’t just come in and puff out his chest. He got up on the board and drew up plays and showed he had command of what he wanted to do on offense. He had good knowledge of the personnel, and explained his philosophy.”
“Jason Kidd has a long and legendary history with the Nets and with the city of New York,” 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.”
The move reunites Kidd with the franchise he led to consecutive NBA Finals in 2002 and ’03, when the Nets played in New Jersey. He spent 6½ seasons with the Nets, averaging 14.6 points, 9.1 assists and 7.2 rebounds per game.