A year ago, Jason Kidd was blaming himself for the Nets’ collapsing in the third quarter of a loss to the Trail Blazers. A day later at practice Kevin Garnett famously said “I’m not a genie, I’m not a fortune teller,” when asked if he knew when the Nets would turn it around.
The Nets careened towards 10 losses in their first 13 games and eventually a 10-21 record after a New Year’s Eve blowout in San Antonio. Then they turned it around to finish with 44 wins, win a Game Seven on the road.
So the assumption was all that well with Kidd and the Nets. But the reality was far from the big happy family that was portrayed at the June 13, 2013 press conference introducing him as a coach just weeks after his playing career ended.
That’s how you get to situations like Wednesday night.
Kidd was in Brooklyn but this time standing under a Milwaukee Bucks banner in a front of a media crowd that not even Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson faced during the late 1960s and 1970s when they played for the team.
He spoke in the same monotone voice and reiterated “It’s the Bucks against the Nets.”
But in reality, it was all about him, and making sense of the circumstances that led to his departure from Brooklyn.
“I think it really helped me to see what I was dealing with, what type of people I was dealing with,” Kidd said. “They didn’t give me a fair chance to coach a team that had injuries. We made a big trade but I think (I) understand that they did want to fire me in December. I think it shows you what type of people I was dealing with.”
Kidd described his relationship with Billy King as non-existent. He also denied again wanting to promote himself to have more control over roster decisions.
“Nope, I didn’t try to promote myself,” Kidd said. “Billy is the GM, he’s put the Brooklyn Nets together, so it is what it is. I didn’t try to promote myself. I was still learning to be a coach. This is my second season. I had a very interesting first year as a coach.”
The Nets are locked into veteran contracts without draft picks for the new three seasons while the Bucks are hoping their teenaged duo of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker can be the cornerstones for a young franchise learning how to win again. Perhaps Kidd will get the last laugh.
“I don’t know if anybody said it was better,” the coach said. “I’m learning how to be a coach. I’ve got a great group of young guys in that locker room that are learning how to play the NBA game the right way. The veteran guys that I coached last year I had a great a time with. Not maybe fulfilling my expectations of winning a championship but we did come a long ways, we won a game seven on the road. We did a lot of good things and it was a fun journey and I respect everyone in that locker room.”
The point guard who led to the Nets to two Eastern Conference titles in 2001 and 2002 will always be a key member of the Nets family, and hopefully, eventually the events of last season will be behind him.
“I think sometimes things don’t end the right way,” he said. “Sometimes things one side talks the other side goes about its business. So I think you’ve heard from their side. It’s business. It happens.Coaches have gotten traded, Doc [Rivers] got traded from Boston. Was there a big deal, no it’s part of the business. As a player you get traded and as a coach you get traded, that’s what happens. We move on, unfortunately one side hasn’t but eventually both sides will move on.”