When Los Angeles Lakers lead assistant Jason Kidd publicly declined the Portland Trail Blazers head coaching position after Damian Lillard endorsed him for the job, there were assumptions that he had better options out there. There were many interesting openings, including the Dallas Mavericks, New Orleans Pelicans and even Boston Celtics.
The Celtics worked quickly to hire Ime Udoka as their next head coach, so Kidd’s options were slimmed down slightly. The Indiana Pacers also struck fast, hiring former Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle to lead their team. This means that it was essentially down to the Mavericks, Pelicans and possibly the Orlando Magic.
Kidd wound up going with the Mavericks, as he was reportedly hired as the team’s head coach by governor Mark Cuban and a brand new general manager Nico Harrison, via Shams Charania of The Athletic:
The Dallas Mavericks have agreements to hire Hall of Famer Jason Kidd as their new head coach and longtime Nike executive Nico Harrison in a lead basketball operations role, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 25, 2021
For Kidd, this is a great landing spot. Despite plenty of recent dysfunction, there is one remarkable positive of getting to coach Luka Doncic, who figures to be perhaps the league’s best player in short order. This will be Kidd’s second chance at developing a young superstar after his tenure with Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks did not go as planned.
Additionally, Cuban is not known to fire coaches. The only reason this position was even available was because Carlisle stepped down with two years remaining on his contract. Kidd will be only the fourth head coach since Cuban’s ownership began back in 2000. The first three were Don Nelson, Avery Johnson and Carlisle.
The mix of job security and superstar talent was likely exactly what Kidd wanted out of his next job, and that’s not something that any other open coaching job would have offered him.
Now, the Lakers must turn their attention to filling the open lead assistant position. They’ll also need to replace anybody that Kidd could bring with him. Typically, new head coaches will turn towards their old bench to find assistants.
Carlisle endorsed Kidd for head coaching position
In what was a very unconventional and fascinating moment, Carlisle endorsed Kidd to be the head coach of the Mavericks. It’s unclear exactly why he would feel this way or state it so publicly, but perhaps it went a long way with the organization, who made moves to hire him shortly after.
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