The Los Angeles Lakers could be losing a key assistant as Jason Kidd is a front-runner to be the next Boston Celtics head coach, per Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes. The news comes after the Celtics shocked the basketball world by announcing Danny Ainge is stepping down from the front office with Brad Stevens taking over as the team’s new head of basketball operations. All this creates a head coaching vacancy for one of the most desirable jobs in basketball.
“Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd and former Atlanta Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce are expected to be head-coaching candidates for the Boston Celtics, league sources tell @YahooSports,” Haynes noted on Twitter.
It is just the latest rumor involving the Lakers that points to a critical offseason with the team trying to retain key free agents along with its coaching staff. Kidd is in his second year as a Lakers assistant after spending the previous five seasons as an NBA head coach. The former NBA point guard began his coaching career in 2013 with the Nets before spending the next four seasons as the Bucks head coach.
LeBron Reportedly Views Kidd as His Equal in Terms of Basketball Knowledge
Kidd potentially leaving the Lakers for the Celtics or another team may not seem like a major deal to most fans given Frank Vogel is the head coach. However, LeBron James is believed to have a great deal of respect for Kidd. ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz reported in 2020 that the Lakers pushed for Kidd to be part of Vogel’s coaching staff as James viewed the former NBA All-Star as the only person on his level in terms of basketball knowledge.
“One of those primary assistants would be Hall of Fame point guard Jason Kidd, whom two sources have independently said James regards as the only person alive who sees the game of basketball with his level of clarity,” Arnovitz noted. “Kidd was also known to be looking for his next opportunity as a head coach and had interviewed for the Lakers’ vacancy. The instant the Vogel-Kidd pairing was announced, the schadenfreude brigade began chattering about Vogel’s life expectancy with the Lakers, with Kidd waiting in the wings.”
There was some speculation that Kidd would try to replace Vogel as the Lakers head coach. This is something Kidd shot down in a 2020 interview with ESPN.
“There’s always going to be chatter — it’s the Lakers,” Kidd said at the time. “Sometimes people act like I never played a game and I’ve never been a teammate. I was a good teammate then, and I’m a good teammate now.”
Kidd Is No. 2 in the Opening Vegas Odds to be the Next Celtics Coach
Vegas appears to view Kidd as one of the top candidates to replace Stevens in Boston. Kidd is currently second in the odds at five-to-one behind Jay Larranaga at three-to-one, per Yahoo Sports’ Keith Smith. During a 2020 interview on Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s SiriusXM radio show, Vogel praised Kidd’s impact on the Lakers’ success.
“But I can’t say enough about Jason Kidd, and his impact on this year’s team,” Vogel explained, via Silver Screen and Roll. “I mean he’s one of those guys that, there’s guys who study the game hours upon hours upon hours that don’t have the natural basketball instinct that Jason Kidd has, you know what I mean? And his ability to support me and and combine my sort of video study work with his lens of his basketball instincts I really think was a great partnership and a great pairing, and a huge reason why we were able to put this talented group of players and make them play as a team and obviously, achieve the ultimate goal.”