Future Hall of Fame point guard ready to come to Brooklyn
By John Torenli, Sports Editor
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Just over a year ago, when Jason Kidd was an out-of-work free agent looking for a home, news began swirling that the future Hall of Fame point guard was open to returning to the Nets as they prepared to begin play in their brand new home on the corners of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues.
Who knew that he may actually have been making preliminary statements regarding his newly desired position?
"I think going to Brooklyn brings a lot of attention," Kidd said late last June, when the Nets were more concerned with whether or not Deron Williams was going to re-sign as the face of our borough's first major pro sports franchise since the Dodgers were shanghaied to Los Angeles in 1957.
"The last professional team there was the Dodgers, so I think they're going to be very excited," Kidd added. "And then with the Russian owner (Mikhail Prokhorov), I mean, he's not short on money so I think they're going to go out and make a splash."
Though Kidd ultimately wound up with the East River rival Knicks after Williams inked a $98 million deal to remain in Brooklyn, the 40-year-old recently retired 10-time NBA All-Star is suddenly on the verge of "coming home" to the organization he led to its only two NBA Finals appearances in 2002 and 2003.
According to numerous print and internet reports, Kidd met with Nets general manager Billy King on Monday to discuss the team's open head coaching job, just two days in advance of Brooklyn's long-anticipated interview with red-hot Indiana Pacers assistant Brian Shaw.
Kidd, who announced his retirement from the game early last week after nearly two decades of brilliant playmaking, is rumored to be emerging as the lead candidate for the spot, even though King has yet to meet with Shaw or recently released Memphis coach Lionel Hollins.
Typical of Kidd, the timing of his latest move was as well-calculated as the more than 12,000 assists he dished out while wearing a tank top and short pants.
Now relishing the opportunity to don a designer suit on the Nets' bench, Kidd is on the precipice of becoming the face of the Brooklyn Nets a full decade after assuming that role when then-owner Bruce Ratner announced his historic plan to move the franchise from New Jersey into a new Downtown arena.
Of course, Kidd was long gone, having finally captured his elusive NBA title with Dallas in 2011, by the time Prokhorov and Ratner opened the Barclays Center last November.
But by December, he was in the building and stealing the show from Williams and the Nets by draining a game-winning 3-pointer on the Knicks' second Downtown visit during Brooklyn's inaugural campaign.
"I just want to win. I'm a competitor," Kidd beamed that night after receiving a tap out from Knicks center Tyson Chandler, deftly stepping into the onrushing Jerry Stackhouse for a foul call and tickling the twine to snap a 97-97 deadlock before pounding the Nets' herringbone-design hardwood and raising his fist in triumph.
Williams, flustered by the loss but clearly in awe of Kidd's late-game heroics, gave a nod of respect to the old man by admitting his angst over the defeat.
"I hate him," Williams said of Kidd with tongue firmly in cheek. "That's a good quote, you can use that, 'I hate him'.
Something tells me Williams won't be as playful with those admissions if Kidd is the one running the Nets' huddle next November.
But first things first.
Kidd would provide Prokhorov with the flash and attention the owner craves, while giving King a brlliant basketball mind to get more toughness out of a virtually set-in-stone roster that fell one win shy of advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinals last season under the guidance of Avery Johnson and P.J. Carlesimo.
A novice in the coaching trade, Kidd would have to be surrounded by grizzled NBA bench vets as he acclimates himself to the rigors of running practices and creating effective gameplans, not to mention disciplining his players.
Perhaps most importantly, Kidd would have to deal with a highly critical New York media contingent that can turn from warm and fuzzy to cruel and corosive after a single late-game collapse. Just ask Carlesimo.
Kidd's top job if he assumes the post will be developing a strong working relationship with Williams, who struggled through a brutal first half last season before flourishing following the All-Star break.
The San Francisco native also addressed that scenario when he was seeking work as Williams' back-up point man last year.
"[Williams] and I could play off each other really well," Kidd noted.
Though he has stonewalled any and all attempts to dig up information on his ongoing coaching search, King did let us know how he and the Nets felt about Kidd in a statement issued shortly after the latter announced he was hanging up his sneakers for good.
“Jason Kidd was the captain of the Nets during their most successful period in the NBA, and is considered the greatest player in the Nets’ NBA history," Kind said. "On behalf of the entire Brooklyn Nets organization, we congratulate him on his Hall of Fame career.”
In a few short days, King will have to decide if the first face of Brooklyn basketball will be the new face of Brooklyn basketball.
As for Kidd, who suffered through what proved to be a career-ending scoring drought during last season's playoffs, this shot is looking very good coming out of his hands.
The only question is whether it will hit nothing but Net, or clang off the rim. Either way, Kidd is hoisting it up before time expires.
Now, King and Prokhorov are officially on the clock.