News out of New York City this week indicated that Jason Kidd was a frontrunner in the New York Knicks‘ coaching search, a job that is instead going to former Bulls and Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau.
A source tells me that Kidd wanted the Knicks head coaching job.
Another source told me that Lakers All-Star LeBron James wants Kidd to stay put in Los Angeles.
The NBA Hall of Famer and current Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach recently interviewed for the Knicks head coaching gig.
In 291 games as head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, Kidd held a 139–152 record. Before his tenure with the Bucks, Kidd guided the Brooklyn Nets to a 44-38 record and a second-round appearance in the NBA playoffs. Kidd abruptly left Brooklyn after his first year there to join the Bucks in the summer of 2014, bumping out head coach Larry Drew.
Lakers Colleague Praises Kidd
“Jason has a really unique mind to the game of basketball and his perspective of interacting with players and coaching,” Lakers assistant Phil Handy told me on the Scoop B Radio Podcast back in the spring.
Handy, who was an assistant coach for the Raptors and the Cavaliers before rejoining the Lakers (he was a developmental coach for the Lakers from 2011-13), went on:
He’s got a unique mindset approaching the game and how he looks at the game from a player’s side and a coach’s side. So, being able to see and listen and learn how he thinks and see the game, that’s been big for me because I’m always trying to grow and learn and you know, continue to see how other people view the game and their stratagies. So, just his mindset, man, that has been really big for me; how he approaches the game from a player’s standpoint and a coach’s standpoint. Having somebody that played in the league for a long time and then went right into head coaching. I also liked what Jason said to me one day that was really profound and that when he retired, he went straight into being a head coach, right? And so he said to me, ‘Phil man, I just want to learn to be a good assistant coach. I didn’t have the opportunity to do that in Brooklyn when I took that job. So, I didn’t know what assistant coaches do. I want to really learn it, kill it and I think that it will help me be a better head coach.’ … And that was profound in that he really wanted to go through that process.
Knicks Cast a Wide Net
In addition to interviewing Kidd and Thibodeau, the Knicks looked at a wide field of candidates, including former Nets coach Kenny Atkinson and former Knicks coach Mike Woodson, and a range of assistants like former player Ime Udoka, Spurs assistant Will Hardy and Mavericks assistant Jahmal Mosley.
This season, the New York Knicks sit in 12th place in the NBA’s Eastern Conference standings with a 21-45 record.
The team lists young studs like guard RJ Barrett and big men Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson on their roster.