Jason Kidd has been hired as coach of the Brooklyn Nets, nine days after ending a 19-year playing career during which the former point guard established himself as one of the National Basketball Association’s most successful on-court leaders.
Kidd, 40, compiled 12,091 assists and 2,684 steals -- trailing only Hall of Famer John Stockton in each category -- and was selected as an All-Star 10 times. He spent six seasons with the Nets, helping lead the team to back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in 2002-03, and won a championship with the Dallas Mavericks two years ago.
“Jason Kidd has a long and legendary history with the Nets and with the city of New York,” Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov said last night in a statement on the team’s website. “He has the fire in the belly we need and has achieved as a player everything the Brooklyn Nets are striving to achieve. We believe he will lead us there.”
Kidd becomes the 18th head coach in the franchise’s history.
“Jason is a proven winner and leader with an incredible wealth of basketball knowledge and experience,” General Manager Billy King said. “This will be a natural transition for him to move into the role of head coach as he embodies the tough, smart and team-first mentality that we are trying to establish in Brooklyn.”
Kidd replaces interim coach P.J. Carlesimo, who was fired last month after the Nets were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, their first postseason appearance since 2007. Carlesimo had a 35-19 record after replacing Avery Johnson, who was fired when the Nets started 14-14 in their first season at the $1 billion Barclays Center in Brooklyn following a move from Newark, New Jersey.
Kidd follows the lead of Johnson, who also took over as a head coach at the age of 40 in his first season after retiring as a player. Johnson became coach of the Dallas Mavericks during the 2004-05 season after Don Nelson stepped down. Nelson had brought in Johnson as his successor.
“This is a tremendous opportunity,” Kidd said. “Championship teams are built on being prepared, playing unselfishly and being held accountable, and that’s how I expect to coach this basketball team.”
In addition to the Nets, Kidd played with the Mavericks and Phoenix Suns before retiring June 3 following one season with the New York Knicks. He averaged career lows of six points and 3.3 assists per game last season.
Kidd was the No. 2 pick in the 1994 NBA draft, behind Glenn Robinson, and had career averages of 12.6 points, 8.7 assists, 6.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game.
Dallas traded Kidd to the Suns during his third NBA season and he played four more years in Phoenix. In 2001, he joined the Nets, who lost in the NBA Finals in 2002 to the Los Angeles Lakers and the following year against the San Antonio Spurs. After being traded back to the Mavericks during the 2007-08 season, Kidd won his only NBA title in 2011.
The Nets missed the playoffs for five straight seasons after Kidd’s departure, going 126-268 during that span, before making a resurgence in Brooklyn.
The Nets, bought by Russian billionaire Prokhorov for $200 million in May 2010, spent more than $330 million on contracts to re-sign center Brook Lopez, All-Star point guard Deron Williams and defensive specialist Gerald Wallace and to add All-Star guard Joe Johnson. The Nets went 49-33 this season, finishing second to the Knicks in the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division, before losing to the Chicago Bulls in the playoffs.
A two-time Olympic gold medalist for the U.S., Kidd was an All-NBA First Team selection five times and an All-Defensive First Team pick after four seasons.