The best player in New Jersey Nets history has been tabbed to lead the franchise forward in Brooklyn.
Jason Kidd has been hired as the Brooklyn Nets’ next head coach, the team announced Wednesday night. Kidd and the Nets agreed to a three-year deal earlier in the day, according to reports.
Kidd, 40, will be introduced on Thursday in a 2 p.m. press conference at Barclays Center, 10 days after he announced his retirement from professional basketball.
“Jason Kidd has a long and legendary history with the Nets and with the city of New York,” Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov said in a statement late Wednesday. “He has the fire in the belly we need, and has achieved as a player everything the Brooklyn Nets are striving to achieve.”
Kidd played 19 seasons in the NBA, including this season with the Knicks, before ending his sure fire hall-of-fame career last week. Some of his finest years were in New Jersey with the Nets. In 61/2 seasons with the franchise he averaged 14.6 points, 9.1 assists and 7.2 rebounds per game, leading the franchise to the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003. He’s the Nets’ franchise leader in assists, three-point field goals and triple-doubles.
“On behalf of the Nets organization, I am very pleased to welcome Jason Kidd as the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets,” general manager Billy King said. “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.”
Kidd has no head coaching experience, but impressed the Nets enough in an interview Monday to get the job. The Nets also interviewed Pacers associate head coach Brian Shaw for the opening Wednesday, but moved quickly to announce the hiring of Kidd.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to be named head coach of the Brooklyn Nets,” Kidd said. “And it’s a role I have been studying for over the course of my playing days. 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, whose son T.J. attends Bergen Catholic in Oradell, won an NBA title with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011. He also won two gold medals with team USA. But no one can be sure how he’ll fare in the abrupt transition from player to coach.
The Nets’ head coaching job has been anything but stable since the franchise moved to Brooklyn before this season. Kidd will be the third head coach in short history of the Brooklyn Nets: Avery Johnson was fired in December after the team started the season 14-14, and interim coach P.J. Carlesimo was not retained despite leading the Nets to the playoffs and getting off to the best start of any coach in franchise history.
One thing that could work to Kidd’s advantage is his longstanding relationship with star guard Deron Williams. Last year, with both Kidd and Williams set to become free agents in the summer of 2012, there was talk of the two playing on the same team.
“It would be great to back him up,” a grinning Kidd told The Record that January. “Wherever he’s at.”
Now Kidd will be Williams’ head coach. And they’ll both be in Brooklyn.