As the reports came out Saturday night of Jason Kidd potentially leaving the Brooklyn Nets for the Milwaukee Bucks, Nets were basically blindsided. It actually almost seems unfathomable even well after 24 hours of the initial reports. Remember, Kidd had just signed a four-year, $10.5 million dollar contract last offseason despite having just finished his playing career and having never coached before at any level.
Now, one year later, the Nets are expected to be looking for another head coach.
If in fact Kidd leaves the Nets after just one season, it was a season that now seems like it may have been a complete waste. The Nets struggled mightily as the team was just 10-21 to start the season. Then, the Nets finished the season 34-17, landing the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Nets advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2007. The team defeated the Toronto Raptors in the first round, but then were defeated by the Miami Heat in the second round.
Even before Saturday night, the Nets already had plenty of concerns headed into the offseason. With free agents, including Paul Pierce, Alan Anderson, Shaun Livingston and Andray Blatche, it was already a question as to how many players who were on the roster last season would be around come opening day in late October/early November.
Blatche and Anderson are likely out anyway as they will probably get offers that the Nets will not be willing to match.
The bigger priorities for the Nets and GM Billy King were Livingston and Pierce.
Kidd may have been the biggest proponent in the Nets adding Livingston to their roster last offseason. Livingston rewarded him by having arguably his best season as a professional. That was for a contract of just one-year at $1.27 million. This offseason, he may get a contract offer worth closer to $4-$6 million annually. That could be too much for the Nets to offer him.
As for Pierce, he openly said he’s got just “one or two years left in him.” It was foreseeable that he may have left the Nets this offseason anyway. The Los Angeles Clippers are an intriguing option as he could re-unite himself with his former coach during his time with the Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers. The Clippers are also already a title contender even despite being in the much more difficult Western Conference.
With a team filled with veterans looking to win now and not waste any more time, Brooklyn should now look for a veteran coach instead of hiring another rookie head coach. Among the coaches available are Lionel Hollins, George Karl and Mark Jackson.
Hollins has already emerged as a potential candidate for the the Nets, according to Sam Amick of USA Today Sports. Hollins was the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies from January of 2009 until the end of the 2013 season. He amassed a record of 196-155 during the regular season and a record of 18-17 in the playoffs. He led the Grizzlies to the Conference Finals in his last season there as head coach.
The unexpected events have left the Nets franchise in a cloud of uncertainty.
However, even if their free agents do decide to all bolt, the Nets job is still an intriguing one for impending coaches. Whomever takes over the job will still be coaching the likes of Kevin Garnett, Andrei Kirilenko, Joe Johnson, Deron Williams and Brook Lopez. Sure, each one of those players is aging and/or has had a recent history of injury problems. They are still players who have had extremely successful careers and have high basketball IQ’s.
Brooklyn will not be without a coach for long, that’s for sure.