clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Mavericks new leadership is a lot to take in

There’s both good and bad with the Mavericks new coach and front office executive — and the bad is real bad.

Dallas Mavericks v Milwaukee Bucks Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Back in 2018, Mark Cuban went on ESPN and cried in front of Rachel Nichols during an interview over his responsibility in the Mavericks horrible workplace sexual harassment scandal.

“I have no excuse,” Cuban said during the interview. “I should have done better, I could have done better. I’ve learned. There’s just no other way to put it.”

Fast forward three years later and here is Cuban’s newest head coach of the Dallas Mavericks:

This photo of Jason Kidd was taken back in 2001, after he was arrested for domestic abuse. He later pled guilty to the charges and his now ex-wife claimed during their divorce that Kidd “broke her rib and damaged her hearing by smashing her head into the console of a car” — among other claims of abuse.

Kidd will be replacing Rick Carlisle as the first new head coach for the franchise in 13 years. The Mavericks organization is also three years removed from the sexual harassments scandal, where the Mavericks and Mark Cuban knowingly employed a convicted domestic abuser and other serial harassers. How much those two things intersecting and mattering to you personally depends on a variety of different viewpoints. Maybe you don’t care because it’s been so long. Maybe you don’t want to watch Mavericks basketball anymore.

Before you render an opinion, all I personally ask is that you put yourselves in the shoes of the women that used to work for the Mavericks, but were driven away by the horrific treatment they endured. Or think about the women currently working for the Mavericks. How do you think they feel? If nothing else, please consider that. It’s quite remarkable to see the many unflattering things Kidd has done since entering the NBA — the list almost stacks up next to his on-court accomplishments. Included in that list is the time Kidd spurned the Mavericks in the summer of 2012, despite already agreeing to a contract with the Mavericks. It was so bad at the time that Cuban refused to consider retiring Kidd’s number.

Aside from an organization hiring a convicted domestic abuser three years after the organization had its own scandal with how it treated women in its workplace, the good news is that from a basketball standpoint, Kidd has a terrible resume as a head coach. Oh, darn.

While you shouldn’t forget Kidd’s personal past when viewing his hiring with the Mavericks, even if you removed all that and just purely judged Kidd on his previous coaching stops, this hiring is still confusing. Kidd has a sub.-.500 record as a head coach, lasting one season in Brooklyn before attempting a coup of the front office, failing, and then the Nets shipping him to Milwaukee, where Kidd had marginal results while also rubbing almost everyone in the Bucks organization the wrong way, as we’ve learned from various reports and anecdotes.

In Brooklyn, reports were not kind on Kidd’s first season as a head coach.

“More than once, sources said, players have stood in the locker room and told Kidd they don’t understand their roles, that there’s confusion about their principles,” Adrian Wojnarowski wrote in 2013. “When the Nets players keep insisting they don’t have a team identity, they’re offering code words for Kidd’s inability to give them clear structure, organization and vision.”

When Kidd was fired from Milwaukee, it wasn’t pretty either. After using a blitzing defensive scheme to great success in his first season with the Bucks, the league adjusted and Kidd never did — even with a burgeoning Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks defense ranked below average for every following season after Kidd’s first. You would think someone with as much baggage as Kidd would at last have some basketball results as a coach to back himself up, but Kidd has almost nothing. At most, he helped Antetokounmpo early in his career, playing him at point guard to open his game up a bit. But Luka Doncic is not the same as a 21-year-old Antetokounmpo. He doesn’t need a coach to take his game to the next level, he just needs one to not get in his way. Kidd hasn’t proven he can do that.

Kidd has been a weasel almost his entire NBA career. Where as a player he had the skins on the wall to back it up, with plenty of accolades to his name, as a coach, he has nothing more than a couple “Coach of the Month” designations. The Mavericks are gambling a lot —and none of it is based on past evidence — to turn that around.

The other hire is a bit more mysterious — Nico Harrison, a major executive with Nike. Harrison has zero NBA front office experience, but he has been plenty involved with Nike’s basketball division, signing players to the brand and working with agents.

This move has more hope, as many people in and around the NBA praised the move due to Harrison’s deep connections with the players he works with at Nike. Players seem to like him and hell, that sounds a hell of a lot better than what the Mavericks have been trotting out during free agency the past 10 years. It’s not hard to imagine a player buying what Harrison and Michael Finley, who will be working either with or above Harrison in the front office, are selling, compared to the pitches from Donnie Nelson and Rick Carlisle. If the Mavericks are going to keep going hog wild with chasing star free agents, having a front office executive that has deep relationships with these players and not just the league’s powerful agents, can come in handy.

The rest, who knows. Does Harrison know to manage an NBA cap sheet? Probably not and the Mavericks will likely hire people underneath him to figure that out for him. We’ve seen hires like Harrison work with the Lakers and Rob Pelinka, the Knicks with Leon Rose. We’ve also seen organizations (*cough* the Kings *cough*), flail widely behind a splashy front office hire that didn’t have front office experience. It’s hard to know how Harrison will do, simply because we don’t know how much power Mark Cuban will give him. Presumably, the draft will fall to Finley, as he has been taking an increased role in the Mavericks drafting process the last few years. At the very least, Harrison is new and after clearing out the organizations long standing leadership, new is good — for now.

It’s a shame Harrison’s hire coincides with Kidd. Reportedly, the two are close so it could be interpreted as them coming in as a packaged deal. Reports indicate NBA teams have been chasing after Harrison for a front office role for years, so one wonders if Kidd being coach helped sway him. Unfortunately in sports, whether it’s worth it or not will entirely come down to how many games the Mavericks can win. Everything else doesn’t seem to matter.

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.