Last summer, Jason Kidd was the ray of hope beaming throughout the entire Brooklyn Nets organization and fanbase. The optimism that he could be the savior to soon lead them back to the Finals for the first time in over a decade was endless.
This summer, not only has all that hope vanished into thin air following his sudden shipment to the Milwaukee Bucks, but his legacy with the franchise has essentially been blown into smithereens as well.
After being regarded as a hero for transforming a pathetic Nets squad to back-to-back Eastern Conference champions in 2002 and 2003, Kidd somehow found a way to destroy that legendary status and get run out of Brooklyn as head coach after just one season at the helm. Doing such a thing is so unheard of that he just wrote the book for other coaches around the league on what not to do if they at least want a chance to keep their job.
The title of the book – “The Tale of the Ungrateful Net.”
Had the Nets been as atrocious following this past New Year’s Day under Kidd as they were before the ball dropped, chances are he probably would have been fired somewhere between January and February and owner Mikhail Prokhorov would have been perceived as the bad guy for firing the man whose number he retired that same preseason.
The only way Kidd could possibly find the door after rallying Brooklyn to the semifinals was if he inexplicably tried to assert dominance over the hand that fed him. General manager Billy King took a true shot in the dark by hiring Kidd fresh off missing an open layup in the 2013 postseason with the New York Knicks, and Kidd expressed his eternal gratitude by reportedly asking for a basketball operations role as King’s superior.
At that point, no one could honestly blame the Nets for giving Kidd the boot. Combine that with several other alleged clashes with the front office, including griping about fellow first-time coaches Steve Kerr and Derek Fisher receiving more lucrative deals than him this summer, Kidd’s ego and thirst for control became too wild for anyone to tame.
Had this been the first instance in which Kidd put his own desires before the betterment of the organization, it wouldn’t be so detrimental to how he will first be remembered in Brooklyn/New Jersey. However, it was as easy to see through the “migraines” he claimed to have when he wanted out of Jersey as a kid who fakes illness to get out of a school day.
That is the moment when everything becomes clear as it ever could be when it comes to Kidd. He’s simply always been too self-centered to deserve the honorable recognition the Nets and their fans gave him for his playing days.
Maybe he could’ve gotten a pass if it was the first time. Maybe if he had left at least one world championship banner hanging at Barclays for generations to come.
But instead, all Kidd will leave behind is disappointment. Not just in what he could have accomplished with the Nets, but in their twice misguided belief that the person could turn out to be just as impressive as the player and coach.