Despite Jason Kidd going behind his back and trying to usurp his power, Brooklyn Nets General Manager Billy King is taking the high road in discussing the team’s former coach. While he acknowledged this morning that Kidd’s departure was “a big bump” for a team looking to build on last season’s Eastern Conference Semifinals appearance, he also said that “the franchise is bigger than one person.”
A philosophical King said that “I don’t look at it from a personal standpoint. This is business and things happen. People look at jobs, people judge people, if they don’t like a job somebody’s doing people make decisions, whether it’s coaching or management, and that happens. But I don’t look at it as any personal affront to me. Whatever he felt he needed to do, he did. And when ownership did, they did.”
It’s a very pragmatic and mature view for the GM to hold, and he certainly would be forgiven for being rather bitter about how Kidd treated him. After King publicly supported Kidd throughout the Nets’ brutal 10-21 start to last season, Kidd repaid the favor by trying to take the personnel decision-making power from his boss this summer. The move backfired, and Kidd is now the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks after the Bucks agreed to send 2015 and 2019 second round draft picks to Brooklyn as compensation.
Despite the very public setback, King remains optimistic about the future of the Nets. “If you sit here and say one person leaves and everything comes falling down, then you don’t have an organization,“ he said, “So we’re not where we were like a week ago, but I think we can get back there quickly.”
The Nets have moved quickly to find a replacement for Kidd, and are reportedly deep into conversations with former Memphis Grizzlies’ boss Lionel Hollins:
King says Hollins had dinner with himself, Bobby Marks and Frank Zanin last night, and will meet with them again today.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) July 1, 2014
As Lionel Hollins meets with Nets management/ownership today, this remains largely a single candidate search now, league sources tell Yahoo.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 1, 2014
A report from Adrian Wojnarowski suggests that this isn’t the first flirtation between Hollins and the Nets; during the team’s rocky start last year, Hollins’ name was suggested as a potential mid-season replacement for Kidd. Hollins went 196-155 in his four-plus seasons in Memphis, including a franchise record 56-win season and Western Conference Finals appearance in 2012-13. He parted ways with the team due to “philosophical differences” after his contract expired following the 2013 playoffs, and did not coach last year.
About Hollins, King said only that “If you look at track record and what he did in Memphis, they consistently got better every year,” and that the team’s search for a new coach “is an ongoing process.” Given the strong indications that Hollins is their primary target, we doubt this “process” will last much longer.
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