While the NBA plots its return to play on the court, some of the off-court news that would normally sweep through the league this time of the year is already occurring. The Pistons, for example, just named former OKC Thunder executive Troy Weaver as their new General Manager. And, in more news, the Knicks are moving forward with their search for a new head coach, including a familiar name to Lakers fans:
It’s no secret that Kidd is eager to slide over a chair and resume running a bench of his own rather than continuing to report up the chain as an assistant. Remember, he first interviewed for the Lakers head coaching job before it went to Frank Vogel. And, it’s no secret Kidd saw a successful stint as an assistant as a pathway to returning to the big chair. It seems that instinct was at least somewhat correct as he’s been granted permission to talk to the Knicks about their opening.
One can debate whether the Knicks head coaching job is actually a better gig than being an assistant with the Lakers,1Sure, the money will be better as the Knicks head man, but I’m not sure anything else would be… but Kidd is better suited than many to understand the stakes here. He’s already coached in New York (albeit in Brooklyn with the Nets) and was a player on the last Knicks team that was really any good at all. He surely understands the NY market, the Knicks’ place in it, and after nearly a full season as an assistant for a title contending team, can, hopefully, bring more experience to the table through more diverse, learned experiences.2Glass half full, I know.
Or, you know, maybe he’d be destined to fail like nearly every other head coach who works for James Dolan. Time (and whether he actually gets the job) will tell, I suppose.
I will say, though, that Kidd’s time in Los Angeles has been remarkably less turmoil-filled than what many (including me) thought it might be. From the second Kidd was mentioned as a possible member of Vogel’s staff, it was not hard to envision him angling to replace his boss should the Lakers start out slowly or if Vogel didn’t quickly earn the respect level of his star players (most notably LeBron). Vogel, however, did get that respect and the Lakers quickly showed they were a contending team to be reckoned with, so any potential drama was dead before it could gain any traction at all.
Kidd, then, became a valued member of the staff and the positive qualities he brought as a candidate in the first place–the inherit respect he garners from a HOF playing career and the strategic influence he offers from being one of the smartest players from the last 25 years–were able to shine through. In that way, then, he’d be missed if he actually relocated to the only media market larger than the one he currently works in.
All that being said, I can’t say I’d be terribly upset if Kidd moved on. Regardless of how smooth his time in LA has (seemingly) been, Kidd’s history of executing power grabs in his previous stops, be it as a player or a coach, is too consistent to have me believe all is now changed. So, I think I’d rather him move on before things have a chance to go south rather than have him stay on to the point here his past tendencies become his current way of being.
Maybe that’s giving him too little benefit of doubt. Maybe things wouldn’t go that way at all. I guess, though, I’m comfortable never having the chance to know I’d end up wrong rather than the alternative actually finding out I was right.