The Dallas Mavericks and Jason Kidd have a shared history. Kidd, a 12-time All-Star, played two stints with the Mavericks, bookending his career with the team. Both of his tours with Dallas ended tumultuously. How would a possible third reunion with his former team playout? If history is any indication, it won’t end well.
Kidd’s name continues to pop up in conversations surrounding the Mavericks’ head coaching vacancy. Reports indicate that there are voices within the organization pushing for him. Some on the outside thing he’d be a great fit as well. It seems like the Mavericks cannot escape their longtime link to Kidd, but bringing him on as the new head coach would be a mistake.
Thursday, after agreeing to terms with the Indiana Pacers, former Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle told ESPN that he thinks Kidd would be a great choice to replace him. Carlisle has always had a great sense of humor.
“It’s hard to put an exact finger on it,” Carlisle told Tim MacMahon. “It’s just a feeling that I had that it would be mutually beneficial. My hope is that Jason Kidd will be the next head coach of the Mavs because he and Luka have so many things in common as players. I just think that it would be a great situation for Luka, and I think it would be an amazing situation for Jason.
“I’m the only person in the world that’s coached both of these guys and that knows about all of their special qualities as basketball players. To me, that just would be a great marriage, but that’s just an opinion.”
Ignoring how out of line it is for Carlisle to comment on the Mavericks’ coaching search, this isn’t the first time that Kidd’s name is mentioned as a potential replacement for Carlisle. When Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki joined the club as a special advisor to help in the search for a new general manager and head coach, he met with Mark Cuban, Michael Finley, and other longtime staffers. In that meeting, Kidd’s name was brought up as a potential choice for head coach. Cuban, reportedly, shot that idea down and stated that the focus was finding a new GM first.
It’s somewhat understandable why Kidd’s name keeps coming up. Dallas drafted him with the second overall pick in the 1994 NBA Draft and he went on to be the co-Rookie of the Year with Grant Hill. His time in Dallas was short. After two and a half seasons, the Mavericks traded him to the Phoenix Suns. He returned to Dallas in 2008 via a trade with the New jersey Nets. A few years later, he helped the franchise win its first and only NBA title.
Both times that Kidd left the Mavericks—in 1996 and 2012—were controversial. The first time, tensions between him, his teammates, and the coaching staff predicated the Mavericks’ decision to move him. The second time, a year removed from the championship, Kidd agreed to return to Dallas but instead changed his mind and left for the New York Knicks in free agency. Controversy would follow Kidd as a coach as well.
After one season coaching the Brooklyn Nets, Kidd effectively forced his way out of the organization and made his way to the Milwaukee Bucks—the Bucks sent two second round draft picks to the Nets for their troubles. Kidd’s desire for more power within the Nets precipitated his departure. Milwaukee fired Kidd midway through his fourth season.
Kidd’s record as a head coach is a mixed bag. Despite taking both the Nets and Bucks to the playoffs, winning a first-round series with the Nets, and winning two Coach of the Month awards, Kidd’s coaching record leaves much to be desired. His teams have never finished more than two games over .500 and his overall record as a head coach is 182-190. After dismissing Kidd, the Bucks went on to have a 60-win season the following year with virtually the same roster. That doesn’t instill a lot of confidence in his strategy or decision making as a head coach.
More troubling are the decisions Kidd has made in his personal life. He been part of a slew of disturbing legal matters. In 2001, he plead guilty to domestic abuse for assaulting his then wife. The claims of abuse only grew as the couple filed for divorce. Then, in 2012, he was arrested and charged with DWI after crashing his SUV into a telephone pole. He plead guilty and was suspended for the first two games of his head coaching career.
For the Mavericks, an organization still recovering from a sexual harassment, domestic abuse, and workplace misconduct scandal, Kidd’s guilty plea to domestic abuse should be enough to disqualify him from consideration. An organization that’s allegedly deeply concerned with the wellbeing of its female staffers cannot possibly bring in Kidd. It would be a slap to the face of all the women the Mavericks employ.
Kidd’s name will keep coming up until the Mavericks’ brain trust—and new GM—finally make a coaching decision, which is unfortunate. There are so many qualified coaches, including at least one or two already on the team, who deserve consideration over Kidd. His record simply doesn’t warrant the attention he’s getting now. Moreover, hiring him out of a sense of loyalty would in reality be a betrayal to the organization and any values it purports to hold.
Here’s our episode of the Mavs Moneyball Podcast discussing the Dallas Mavericks hiring Jason Kidd and Nico Harrison. Here’s the Green Room on the topics as well. Search Mavs Moneyball Podcast on your favorite app to find the episode, click the link, or press play in the player below.