The Brooklyn Nets Will Win With Jason Kidd

Jason Kidd w/ Deron Williams

Jason Kidd w/ Deron Williams

The Brooklyn Nets rocked NBA headlines last week with the hiring of Jason Kidd as their new head coach. Kidd was nine days into his retirement as a player from the NBA when the Nets announced him as their new coach. It’s everything a team on the rise, such as the Nets, would want out of a big announcement. It was sexy, clever, attention-grabbing, and outside-the-box. The Nets wanted Phil Jackson, however in my opinion, they will win with Kidd.

The Nets are not hiring Kidd because of his coaching experience because well … he doesn’t have any. That makes the question of what makes Kidd qualified for the job a reasonable and valid one. It’s not Kidd’s blank coaching resume that got him this opportunity, it’s that with this team and at this time he’s the most logical choice for this job.

Kidd is arguably the greatest player in Nets history, leading them at point guard to consecutive NBA Finals in 2002 and 03′ when the team played in New Jersey. He knows what it takes to become a championship team and how they should be built. His name rings bells throughout the league from teammates, opponents, and coaches all praising his contribution to the game. Kidd brings credibility with him whenever he walks through an NBA door. The Nets are owned by a Russian billionaire who’s determined to make good on his investment and makes sure it’s his team and not the crosstown New York Knicks that dominates any headlines. The Nets franchise player Deron Williams has a very strong relationship with Kidd and also happens to be their point guard. It’s no question to me that Kidd walked into the right door at the right time and for the right owner.

Time will tell if Kidd can take the Nets to a championship. This isn’t a case of someone taking over a team that’s starting from scratch or looking to rebuild, the Nets are a playoff team with high expectations. This is a team that should have beaten Chicago in the first round of the playoffs this year. Kidd is being brought in to be the piece that connects all the dots and I believe he’s the right man for the job. The Nets will make sure Kidd is surrounded by the best staff of assistant coaches they can assemble to offset his lack of coaching experience. They could have went another direction with Brian Shaw, Lionel Hollins, and George Karl all available at the time of Kidd’s hiring. Any one of those moves would have been logical with the exception of one thing … their not Kidd.

NBA NEWS: Patrick Ewing To Be Named Associate Head Coach For Bobcats

Patrick Ewing

Patrick Ewing

It’s no secret that Patrick Ewing wants to become an NBA head coach one day. He’s  been pursuing this goal for years and has put in the work as an assistant coach in Houston and Orlando. Ewing hasn’t reached his goal yet, however he appears to be back on track towards one day making it. According to  Adrian Wojonarowski of Yahoo Sports, the Charlotte Bobcats have reportedly reached an agreement with Ewing to join their coaching staff as associate head coach.

Ewing would be joining the coaching staff of new Bobcats head coach Steve Clifford. It seems to be a fit that makes a great deal of sense for Ewing. Clifford and Ewing have a strong professional history together,  and of course the Bobcats are owned by Ewing’s good pal Michael Jordan. Ewing will also get a chance to be the lead assistant coach with Charlotte. It’s not the goal Ewing has in mind, however it’s an ideal situation for him at this point in his coaching career. It could very well open that elusive door for him down the line.

NBA News: Lionel Hollins Out As Memphis Grizzlies Head Coach

Lionel Hollins (Getty Images)

Lionel Hollins (Getty Images)

It appears that the Memphis Grizzlies and Lionel Hollins have decided to agree to disagree and go their separate ways. 

The two sides have decided to part ways due to “philosophical differences”, as reported by Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. The Grizzlies informed Hollins that they will not be renewing his contract which is set to expire June 30th. From all indications it just looks like a situation where a change of scenery is perhaps best for Hollins as the Grizzlies management appears to just be ready to turn the page and bring in a new voice. Letting a head coach walk away who’s had the success Hollins has had in recent years with Memphis has to be something of a head scratcher for the Grizzlies fan base. Hollins coached the Grizzlies to the NBA playoffs in each of the last three seasons, winning 56 games this past season and advancing to the Western Conference Finals. It was the best season in franchise history for the Grizzlies.

All signs are pointing towards Hollins landing on his feet, he’s set to interview with the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets later this week. The Grizzlies could be looking at former Nuggets head coach George Karl, former Phoenix Suns head coach Alvin Gentry, and top Grizzlies assistant coach David Joerger. Joerger could be the favorite to land the job, he’s well-respected in the executive office of the Grizzlies and could be had at a lower price than Karl or Gentry.

Jason Kidd Pursuing Brooklyn Nets Head Coach Job

Jason Kidd

Jason Kidd

Jason Kidd was known for his spectacular court vision throughout his 19 seasons in the NBA. Kidd is now retired from the game, however he’s set his sights on a very interesting post-game career … coaching. Kidd is pursuing the Brooklyn Nets head coaching vacancy, according to Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wojnarowski.

Kidd spent nearly seven full seasons with the Nets in New Jersey, turning them from laughingstock into a team that went to the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003. Kidd just announced his retirement a week ago, ending a career during which he made 10 All-Star appearances and led the league in assists 5 times. According to ESPN.com and sources close to the process, Kidd was scheduled to meet with Nets general manager Billy King to just discuss potential employment with the Nets. However, Kidd will be looking to convince King that he’s the man for the head coaching job. The Nets have reportedly added Kidd to their list of coaching candidates.

Kidd doesn’t have any coaching experience, so to hire him most likely means that the Nets would have to assemble a talented and experienced staff of assistant coaches to help him. It would be a unique situation that in my opinion could work. Kidd’s basketball IQ is well-respected around the league. He is good friends with Nets point guard Deron Williams and he’s still well-respected within the Nets organization for his contributions there as a player. This is definitely something worth keeping an eye on to see how it unfolds.

NBA News: Bobcats Reportedly To Hire Lakers Assistant Steve Clifford As Next Head Coach

Steve Clifford (far left) is reportedly the next head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats. (image credit: getty)

Steve Clifford (far left) is reportedly the next head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats. (image credit: getty)

The Charlotte Bobcats and their team owner Michael Jordan have to get this right eventually. In what’s becoming an annual announcement around this time of year, Charlotte has reportedly hired a new head coach.

According to Yahoo Sports, the Bobcats have a deal in place with Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Steve Clifford to take over as the team’s head coach. Clifford would become the franchise’s fourth head coach since the beginning of the 2010-2011 season. He’d be replacing Mike Dunlap who went 21-61 in his one season with the team.

 Clifford has been on the radar of a handful of teams the last couple of seasons. He’s developed an impressive resume as an assistant coach with stints in Houston with Jeff Van Gundy and Orlando with Stan Van Gundy. He’s reportedly getting a three-year, $6 million contract from Charlotte.

NBA News: Petrie Reportedly Out As Kings GM

It’s out with the old and in with the new these days for the Sacramento Kings. The new owners of the team have informed Geoff Petrie that he will not be returning as general manager and the search for his replacement is underway, reports USA Today.

Petrie had a long tenure in Sacramento that included the team’s succesful stretch of eight straight playoff berths highlighted by a 2002 Western Conference finals appearance. However, the team has been on hard times lately and have gone the last seven seasons without a playoff berth. The NBA owners recently voted to keep the Kings in Sacramento with the team being sold to Indian software magnate Vivek Ranadive. Petrie’s contract is set to expire at the end of June.

I can’t fault Ranadive for wanting to have his own people in place to oversee his investment, that’s just business 101. This is one of those situations where cleaning house is going to play a vital role in how quickly the Kings can turn around the direction of the franchise. They were right to not waste anytime and start right at the top.

According to the report, Ranadive’s short list of potential candidates includes San Antonio Spurs president R.C. Buford, Golden State Warriors assistant general manager Travis Schlenk, and Memphis Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace.

NBA Playoffs 2013: LeBron’s Post Game Too Much For Indiana To Keep Pace

 

LeBron James Goes To The Post On The Indiana Pacers.

LeBron James Goes To The Post On The Indiana Pacers.

It must be nice to coach the best basketball player on the planet. Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra has the luxury of knowing LeBron James is on the court for his team and in most cases these days everything is going to be alright. James is on a level all by himself these days and that’s bad news for opponents. Just in case we needed to be reminded, there was James in game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Indiana Pacers showing us again why he’s simply unstoppable at times out there.

 Miami did get a big game from their old veteran and big-game player Udonis Haslem (17 points), and overall it was a solid all-around effort by the team in securing the 114-96 win and taking a 2-1 series lead over Indiana. However, it was the damage James caused with his play in the post that served as another eye-opener. It gets lost in the mix because of his overall talents, however at 6’8 240 pounds James is a dominant post-player whenever he decides to pull that weapon out of his arsenal.

 James took to the paint and when he wasn’t abusing Paul George down low, he was kicking the ball out to Chris Bosh, Haslem, and Ray Allen for the perimeter game to shoot down Indiana.It’s almost unfair at that point.

 James can beat you in so many ways and Indiana will have to figure out how to counter that post game if and when Miami turns to it again. I don’t see that happening and most likely Miami doesn’t either. Not when they have LeBron James and the other team doesn’t.

Kobe Bryant Isn’t Retiring …”Not Yet”

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Kobe Bryant wanted to make it clear earlier this morning that retirement isn’t in the cards for the Los Angeles Lakers guard just yet.

The rumors of Bryant retiring began popping up on Twitter and various social sites after Bryant announced on his Facebook page this weekend that he’s planning a major announcement. What announcement turned out to be was Bryant and his wife Vanessa were partnering with non profit Sports Spectacular for a “great cause”.

The cause has been reported as bringing more awareness to homelessness.

Bryant took to Twitter afterwards to squash any retirement rumors:

Really?? Me. Retire?? Soon, but not yet Vino still has work to do #35 #OG #kbvff

— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) May 20, 2013

Bryant is 35 years old and underwent surgery in April to repair a torn Achilles tendon in his left leg. He is expected to miss six to nine months.

Bryant has been clear since the injury of letting the world know he’s hungry to defy the odds and get back as soon as possible and resume his career. I applaud his announcement and think announcing it in that fashion was a great way to get the ball rolling on bringing more awareness to the issue of homelessness.

Two Teams In Texas Reportedly Has Dwight Howard “Intrigued”

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Dwight Howard will finally get his chance to test the free agent waters
this summer on his terms. The soon-to-be free agent center reportedly will give “strong consideration” to signing with the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks.

According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, Howard is intrigued at the thought of joining the Rockets. They have a roster that includes James Harden and Omer Asik. Howard apparently likes the idea of joining forces with them. Harden is a young superstar on the rise and Asik is a young big man that Howard could form an imposing front court for years to come.

The Rockets were involved in trying to acquire Howard from the Orlando Magic before the Lakers eventually traded for him. The emphasis seems to be on Howard’s interest in Houston, however Dallas could be players this summer. Both teams would have to make a few roster moves in order to sign Howard.

The Lakers can offer Howard the most money based on the current collective bargaining agreement. Howard could stay with the Lakers and sign a 5-year, $118 million deal or he can opt to go elsewhere and get a 4-year, 87.6 million.

Howard has waited a long time for this moment. In 2012 he struggled with the pressure that comes with this type of decision and his image and personal brand is still recovering from that. While Howard might be intrigued with Houston or Dallas, how he handles the attention that will come his way this summer will be just as intriguing to watch.

The Knicks Must Get Stronger And Younger This Summer

Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler

Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler

Summer vacation came earlier than expected for the New York Knicks thanks to Roy Hibbert, Lance Stephenson, and the scrappy Indiana Pacers. The Knicks were eliminated from the playoffs after losing a grueling semifinal round series to the Pacers in six games. The loss sends the Knicks into the summer with major questions to be addressed. It wasn’t supposed to end this way, to this team, and definitely not in this round. Changes will have to be made and the challenge will be to make those changes while facing major salary cap restrictions.

 Last summer, the Knicks had a plan to get Carmelo Anthony the help he needed to take the next step towards a championship. They went with experience and brought in Jason Kidd, Rasheed Wallace, Marcus Camby, and Kurt Thomas. Playoff tested veterans who bring championship level knowledge to the table. In theory, the plan made sense. However, father time is undefeated and the Knicks were the latest to find out the hard way. None of those players where able to produce in the playoffs as the Knicks had hoped for and the final result was Anthony once again without a reliable second or third option to take away some of the burden when it mattered most.

 This isn’t to discredit anything the Pacers did in this series, they were the better team. However the series was a winnable one for the Knicks, they just failed to get it done.

Roy Hibbert's game-changing blocked shot of Carmelo Anthony in game 6 of the east semi-finals Knicks-Pacers series.

Roy Hibbert’s game-changing blocked shot of Carmelo Anthony in game 6 of the east semi-finals Knicks-Pacers series.

 Watching Indiana outplay the Knicks in this series, I saw where concerns must be addressed over the summer:

  • Indiana beat the Knicks up in the paint and dominated on rebounds. They are built-in the mold of the old school NBA teams who run their offense through their post game. Roy Hibbert looked more and more like a throwback center in the paint who is going to give perimeter teams like the Knicks major fits for years to come. Hibbert’s blocked shot of Anthony late in the 4th quarter of game 6 was a major turning point that sparked the Pacers towards the knockout win. The Knicks must address rebounding over the summer and getting tougher in the paint.

 

  • JR Smith deserved to win the NBA sixth man of the year award for how he played in the regular season. However, Smith’s inconsistency reared its head in the playoffs and his struggles played a major role as to why the Knicks are thinking about next year instead of getting ready to play Miami in the next round. Smith is up for a new contract this summer and it’s safe to say his value dropped considerably during the playoffs. I wouldn’t mind seeing Smith back as a Knick, however I don’t see him as the second scoring option behind Anthony. He is too erratic to be relied on as heavily as the Knicks did this season and it cost them in the end.

 

  • The core of  Anthony, Tyson Chandler, and Amar’e Stoudemire is a flawed core to say the least. Anthony is the franchise player, however the question marks surrounding Chandler and Stoudemire must be looked at. Chandler’s an offensive liability whose specialty is defense and even that was inconsistent throughout the playoffs this year. He was badly outplayed by Hibbert in this series. It was enough for me to question his status here long-term. I don’t see the Knicks looking to trade Chandler, however if another team shows interest and if the price is right then it’s something that should be strongly considered. Stoudemire is a whole other case altogether.

 

    • It’s a fact that Stoudemire is making franchise-player type money with the Knicks, however the last two seasons have been anything but franchise-player like for him. Let’s assume the Knicks can’t trade Stoudemire and the $100 million left on his contract over the next two years. It would be a safe assumption for a player with bad knees, injury prone, and a contract that’s not insured. The Knicks can only hope that Stoudemire stays healthy next season and can give them the second scoring option that Anthony needs to have with him on the court. Before any of that the Knicks must first figure out what role they best see Stoudemire in and make sure both sides are on the same page with it. That’s just too much money clogging up the salary cap to go through what both sides have had to endure with each other lately.

 This team needs to address those issues as well as upgrading the point guard position.They need to get younger and more athletic. That won’t be easy to do with a salary cap as tight as the one this team will have heading into next season. Next season Indiana gets back arguably their best player in Danny Granger. Chicago will get back Derrick Rose and Brooklyn still needs a head coach, however they have the core of a team expected to contend. Let’s not forget Miami still has LeBron James. The competition in the east is only getting stronger.

JR Smith and the Knicks see their season come to a frustrating end in Indiana.

JR Smith and the Knicks see their season come to a frustrating end in Indiana.

 The stakes will be higher for the Knicks next season. It’s no longer about just making the playoffs. It now becomes more about what can this team do to reach the championship round. The challenge will be daunting and it starts this summer.