Two Cents On The Two Buck Head Coach
May 6, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Brooklyn Nets head coach Jason Kidd (right) talks with referee Sean Wright (left) during the second half in game one of the second round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports Photo: Image by Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Having had time to process events of the last few days as well as a terse 15 minute news conference, here's a few takes on the state of the Milwaukee Bucks, new head coach Jason Kidd and the NBA:
--there's no such thing as loyalty in pro sports
--there are unwritten rules, but breaking them brings little in the way of retribution if you win
--fans have short memories, and the amnesia accelerates with victory
Kidd's 15 minutes or so in front of the mike over lunch Wednesday was long on 'right answers' but short on direct ones. Reporters pressed, and Kidd skirted past each with as if he were leading an NBA offense a decade ago. Feint. Pass. Dodge.
Big on the dodge.
The owners stepped up, admitting that the substitution of Kidd for Larry Drew was weapons-grade clumsy--my words, not theirs--serving up the most genuine moment of a proceeding that seemed sanitized for everyone's protection, especially the man of the hour.
What did we expect?
If we know anything about Kidd it's that contrition isn't part of his DNA. He had a chance to say "sorry" to Drew for busting the unwritten rule about seeking a coaching gig that is still held by a warm body but didn't. He could've shed light on his hasty Brooklyn departure, but passed.
Truth is, there's no such thing as loyalty, in the NBA or any other pro sport, from either participants or management. Used up players and losing coaches get dispatched. Winning players and coaches seek greener pastures.
Larry Drew knows that better than anyone. His dismissal surprises no one, and his reward for his stewardship of a lousy, disengaged team last winter is what's left on his contract. We won't be holding any bake sales for him.
This unpleasantness will soon be forgotten amid what we hope is a Brewers pennant push, Packers training camp and the start of a fresh NFL season. Then, Kidd will take his Bucks into NBA battle later this fall and, if there are signs of life, an uptick in victories, they'll grow smaller in the rear view mirror. Even before a game has been played under the Kidd administration, fans are saying they're already proud of the fact that the moves, no matter how pungent, brought an after-thought franchise more pub than it's had in better than a decade. Ink and social-feed mentions don't equal titles, but this is where the bar is set for pro hoop acheivement in our humble burg.
Kidd may fill the Bradley Center with fresh laundry, and be the focal point of local championship rallies. He could order that beer be sold for $2 a cup at the Bradley Center, find us a new Bango that's badder and better than the one who just stepped aside. Kidd may become a MACC Fund fixture, serve endless meals at the Rescue Mission and fill firemen's boots for MDA on his off-days. He could be all that Bucks fans hope for, and more.
Judging from Kidd's past, there could be a lot of basketball positives, at least if he's as good of a head coach as he was a player. Something that seems more certain is that, no matter when it ends, it will end badly. That part of Kidd's game, the one away from the bench and executives behind the scenes, is sadly predictable and very, very consistent.
Kidd's Milwaukee reign got off to a bad start, and history suggests its destined for a bitter end. Fans are left to hope they bookend a long, glorious middle, one that purges bad memories and makes Bucks basketball relevant again in Milwaukee.
Too much is at stake for it to go quickly, and poorly.