Nets remove assistant coach Lawrence Frank from bench, reassign him

Jason Kidd spent last week coaching the Nets in the Orlando Summer League. Credit: Getty Images
The addition of Lawrence Frank, right, was seen as important in the growth of the new Nets coach.
Credit: Getty Images

The reunion between Lawrence Frank and Jason Kidd lasted 17 games.

Before answering any questions in his pregame press conference, Kidd announced that Frank had been re-assigned.

He did not use the word fired or resigned, simply saying Frank’s role would be to compile “daily reports” and that he would not be sitting on the bench or be involved during practice.

Kidd did not specify beyond using the term “different philosophies” and was vague when asked about the reasoning, less than two weeks after the New York Daily News reported there was friction between Kidd and Frank.

“This is the decision that I had to make and we made it and we move on,” Kidd said. “This is my decision in a sense. This is what I had to do. It’s about basketball.”

When Frank was brought in after being fired as head coach of the Pistons, and was viewed as a reunion on two fronts.

Kidd played for Frank over his final four and half seasons in New Jersey, starting in Jan. 2004 after Byron Scott was fired. Frank was an assistant under Doc Rivers in Boston for the 2010-11 season after replacing Tom Thibodeau.

Frank, 43, rejoined the Nets in July and the four-year deal that pays him $1 million per season made him the highest-paid assistant in the league. He was considered to be Kidd’s unofficial “defensive coordinator,” but the Nets have given up 102.4 points per game, which is 25th in the NBA, and have allowed over 100 points 11 times and more than 95 points 15 times.

“It’s just different philosophies, that’s all,” Kidd said. “No it’s different philosophies and that’s it. We’ll figure out to stop people.”

With Frank out of the picture, the concept of having someone handle defense and offense exclusively will not exist according to Kidd.

“We’ll be coaches,” Kidd said. “There’s no one doing offense, no one doing defense. We’ll take the responsibility of being coaches so that’s how it will be set up.”

Shaw is what could have been

Had the Nets not decided to hire Kidd to succeed interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo, they might have tapped Brian Shaw for the position.

At least that’s how it seemed to Shaw, who interviewed for the position right after Kidd and was the last person to do so with general manager Billy King.

“I thought I had a pretty good chance,” Shaw said. “I knew I was the last person to interview for the position. I knew Jason interviewed a few days before me and actually when I did interview, [general manager] Billy King told me he was going to hire Jason or myself.”

Shaw went through with the interview even though reports began to surface that Kidd was entering negotiations for the job.

“I made no secret that I flew cross-country and I got off the plane, got to the hotel and turned on the TV and I saw that it said they were already in negotiation with Jason to be coach. That kind of threw me off a little bit, but I still went through with the interview. Everything happens for a reason and I’m happy with the situation I’m in.”

Shaw has plenty to enjoy, especially lately. On a team with five former Knicks, the Nuggets have won six straight and their 104.9 points per game rank third in the league.

Like Kidd, Shaw is a former guard who is a first-time head coach. Unlike Kidd, Shaw has not played an NBA game since the 2003 Western Conference semifinals for the Lakers after winning three titles there.

Shaw won two more as an assistant coach with the Lakers and spent the previous two years assisting Frank Vogel in Indiana before getting the Nuggets’ job less than a month after the Pacers took Miami to Game 7 in the conference finals.

Shaw also didn’t seem to think he dodged a thorny situation by going to the commonly used line of thinking about his team.

“To be honest with you, I’ve been paying attention to what’s been going on with our team,” Shaw said. “I grew up with Jason and I think he’s bright and he’ll do fine. It’s his first experience as a coach.”

Follow Nets beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.


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