The Brooklyn Nets announced Jason Kidd as their head coach on Wednesday, not long after the former All-Star point guard hung up his basketball shoes. The Nets have scheduled a press conference to introduce Kidd on Thursday afternoon at Barclays Center.
The decision to bring on Kidd ends a search that began after the team parted with coach P.J. Carlesimo following Brooklyn's first-round ouster from the playoffs. Carlesimo replaced former head coach Avery Johnson after a 14-14 start to the 2012-13 season.
Kidd's sudden candidacy developed into a legitimate deal as he leapfrogged Indiana Pacers associate coach Brian Shaw, who was reported by Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski as the frontrunner until Kidd came into the fray. Shaw interviewed with Brooklyn on Wednesday, but had considered the Los Angeles Clippers' opening the priority.
Though he has a steeper learning curve than most of the Nets' coaching candidates, Kidd will have credibility in the locker room and the ability to bring on an experienced staff to help him ease into the new position. Wojnarowski reported that Kidd could bring on his former coach with the Nets, the recently-fired Detroit Pistons coach Lawrence Frank. Pistons assistant Roy Rogers, who also coached Kidd in New Jersey, could be another addition.
On Sunday, Frank vouched for Kidd as a head coach when asked about the rumors on NBC's "Mike'd Up," according to ESPN:
"I think Jason could become a great coach," Frank said. "Think about his training: 19 years of playing, an NBA championship, two Olympic gold medals. ... [He's] one of the smartest players to ever play the game, a great leader who has a great presence. I think Jason could be a great head coach."
A champion with the Mavericks in 2011, the proof of Kidd's basketball smarts lies in how he adapted in a league where a loss of athleticism can often end a career. Kidd played 19 seasons in the NBA with the Phoenix Suns, Nets, New York Knicks and two stints with the Dallas Mavericks. A 10-time All-Star selection, Kidd led the Nets to the NBA Finals as a playmaking point guard but won an NBA title with the Mavericks as a veteran able to hit the longball and play off the ball.
Another supporter of Kidd is San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, who before Sunday's Game 2 of the NBA Finals said the former point guard would easily fit into a head coaching role. Via The Associated Press:
"He certainly has the intuitive skills to know what's going on out there," Popovich told the media. "Obviously, he would be able to have relationships with the players that he's had with his coaches throughout. So if that's what he wants to do, and that's who [the Nets] want to hire, I think he's got an opportunity and a possibility to be really, really good at it."
Kidd will hope to stabilize the Nets' coaching situation for the first time since Frank was fired in 2009. Frank coached in New Jersey from 2004-09.