Why did Kidd bolt Brooklyn for the Bucks?


Why would Jason Kidd leave the Brooklyn Nets, a big-spending playoff team that loved him as one of its all-time greats, to coach the Milwaukee Bucks, who had the worst record in the NBA last season?

It can’t just be he’s a big Jabari Parker fan.

No, according to Yahoo! Sports/FOX Sports 1 NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s all about the Benjamins.

Wojnarowski reports that Kidd grew dissatisfied with his job when Derek Fisher and Steve Kerr both received more lucrative deals for their first head coaching gigs. Particularly Fisher, after the crosstown rival New York Knicks gave him a five-year, $25 million deal.

Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck reports that Kidd’s new contract with the Bucks will be worth $4 million to $5 million per year. The length of the contract is not determined yet, but it’ll be at least three years. This could be a 50 percent raise from his contract with the Nets, which he signed for $10.25 million over four years.

It also seems to be a power play. Kidd went 44-38 in his only season as Nets coach, then sought control of the basketball operations department and was denied. The Nets gave him permission to talk to other teams about a job, and he quickly reached a deal with the Bucks. Kidd reportedly is a friend of new co-owner Marc Lasry.

Kidd had a seat in the coaching box and a jersey in the rafters. But he wanted more. And now his celebrated return to the Nets has turned into yet another ugly exit.

And the way it went down — the Bucks paved the way for Kidd’s arrival by firing coach Larry Drew on Monday — won’t win him any support. FOX Sports’ Bill Reiter said the move exposes Kidd as "a bad guy."

More from the Sportz Assassin blog:


"Kidd broke some huge coaching rules. One, he went for a job that was already filled. That’s a huge no-no. I mean, it happens that feelers get sent out and all of those kinds of investigation, but to openly go for a job that was already filled won’t endear him to any in the coaching fraternity. Two, he is now known as a guy that will stab his boss in the back. While the Nets GM Billy King didn’t want to hire Kidd, he was on board until the recent power grab. Since this was essentially an ownership hire in Milwaukee (new ownership, by the way) there shouldn’t be any good feelings in the Bucks front office either."

It was a stunningly quick ending to Kidd’s reunion with the franchise he twice led to the NBA Finals as a player. The Nets hired him last June as coach just weeks after he retired as a player and retired his No. 5 before a preseason game in October. Also, he bought a small portion of the team.

There was no reason to believe he wouldn’t be back Thursday when he appeared at a press conference where the Nets announced plans for their new practice facility.

But things rarely ended cleanly for Kidd throughout his Hall of Fame-worthy career, and that remains the case as a coach. He was traded from Dallas, his first pro team, when he feuded with teammates. He was shipped out of Phoenix after an arrest for a domestic dispute.

And though he led the Nets to the 2002 and ’03 NBA Finals and remained a franchise icon, he soured on the team during the 2007-08 season, and the franchise dealt him back to Dallas.


But as much as the current ownership may have liked him, it wasn’t interested in positioning Kidd above King and giving him the power he sought.

The Nets could choose from a number of quality coaches who are available, including Lionel Hollins, George Karl and Mark Jackson.

They bypassed experience when they chose Kidd last summer, and the results were ugly early on. Kidd removed Lawrence Frank from the bench after lobbying for the Nets to hire his former coach as his lead assistant, and then was fined $50,000 by the NBA after intentionally spilling a drink on the court to delay a game.

The Nets started 10-21 with a high-priced, high-expectations team, though regrouped to reach the second round of the playoffs. Kidd won two Eastern Conference coach of the month honors for engineering a turnaround with a small-ball lineup after Lopez was lost to a broken foot.

Kidd departs Brooklyn now with free agency opening Tuesday and key Nets Paul Pierce and Shaun Livingston set to hit the market.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.