What the hell just happened?
In a 19-year career, Jason Kidd played six and a half seasons with the then-New Jersey Nets. He made two NBA Finals appearances and became the most recognized face in the franchise's NBA history as its leader in assists, steals and three-pointers made.
After playing his final season for the cross-town rival Knicks, Kidd signed on as the Nets' head coach. Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov gave him a four-year $10.5 million contract, and Kidd even bought himself Jay-Z's old piece of the team, a modest one-sixth of 1 percent of the team.
The sure-fire Hall of Famer coached one season in Brooklyn before bouncing for the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday. After much speculation of Kidd wanting to swap teams over the weekend, a trade was finalized sending the Bucks' 2015 and 2019 second-round picks to Brooklyn.
Jason Kidd Judgment Day leaves us with trying to determine winners and losers.
Marc Lasry: Lasry, a Moroccan-American hedge fund manager, bought the Bucks with fellow investor, Wesley Edens, in April for $550 million. (Steve Ballmer just did a $2 billion face palm). Lasry and Edens are both New York based, with Lasry being the chairman and CEO of Avenue Capital Group and Edens the co-founder and chairman of the board at Fortress Investment Group.
Monday morning, while the Kidd news was still a likely-true rumor, CBS Sports' Gregg Doyel referred to Lasry as a "meddling" owner, as he pursued Kidd while the coach was still under contract with the Nets and Bucks' coach Larry Drew was still under contract with the Bucks.
According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, "Kidd has had a personal and financial partnership with Lasry." As soon as Lasry got an NBA franchise, he pursued his friend and signed him. Lasry and Edens say they have a new arena in the works, which means a new start for the franchise may be on the horizon. The Hall of Famer will be a face of the franchise as coach.
Jabari Parker: A few weeks ago, Parker was a 19-year-old finishing his freshman year at Duke. On Thursday, the forward became the second overall pick in the draft, and now, he has one of the game's best playmakers as his head coach.
Though he only played one year at the NCAA level, Parker developed a close relationship with Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Coach K developed a relationship with Kidd at the 2008 Olympics. Kidd engineered the gold medal run of the "Redeem Team" as point guard. The Nets consulted Krzyzewski last year before hiring Kidd.
Parker is primed to become the face of the franchise in Milwaukee, a city he does not plan on leaving any time soon. Now, the rookie can learn from a legendary point guard.
City of Milwaukee: The Bucks finished dead last in home attendance in 2013-14, averaging 13,487. The mark goes hand-in-hand with the team's league-worst 15-67 record. The season was a dark cloud after a playoff-bound 2012-13 campaign (the eighth-seeded Bucks were swept by the eventual champion Miami Heat in four games).
Now, a corner is turned. The Bucks have young talent in Parker, point guard Brandon Knight, forward Gianis Antetokounmpo and forward/center Larry Sanders. Guard O.J. Mayo, forward Eryan Ilyasova and center Zaza Pachulia also provide veteran depth. With Kidd, a huge face, in the mix as head coach, Milwaukee has reason to get excited.
Lawrence Frank: Frank was an assistant with the Nets from 2000-2004 and head coach from 2004-2010. After stints as a Boston Celtics assistant and Detroit Pistons head coach, Frank returned to the Nets last summer to be an assistant at Kidd's insistence.
In December, Frank was demotedto "evaluator" and banned from the bench during games.
Frank looked pretty bad this winter and held an embarrassing position for a half-season. Now, the Nets' newest soap opera arbitrarily confirms Kidd was the baby and not Frank. Frank's reputation is restored.
Nets' Image: A lot can happen in two years. Or, at least that is the feeling within the Nets' organization and among their fans.
The franchise arrived in Brooklyn for the 2012-13 season under Russian billionaire owner Prokhorov with a fresh look. They had a franchise player in Deron Williams, a sidekick in Joe Johnson and a rising star in Brook Lopez. The Nets also had a new black and white design, created in part by The Black Album artist himself, part-owner Jay-Z.
Just a couple months before the 2014-15 campaign begins, the Nets have little in common with their 2012 selves. Jay-Z left his post to become a sports agent, Williams just had his worst non-rookie season and the franchise player-turned-franchise coach (the third coach in two seasons in Brooklyn), left town after one season.
The Nets were supposed to be the cool team in the cool borough. Now, they are losing their hand-picked coach to a small market.
On the day of the 2013 NBA draft, Nets general manager Billy King rid the team of a series of role players and three first-round picks for veterans Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry. The move provided Kidd with remaining stars of his generation, including a former teammate in Terry. It announced the Nets would try to win right away.
Now, the big names are in flux. Williams signed on through 2016-17 and Johnson is under contract through 2015-16. Before the Kidd saga, Garnett expressed he would return for the final season of his contract over retirement. Paul Pierce is a free agent this season, who is close with Garnett and likely would have been expected to return to Brooklyn had Kidd stayed. Now, his future, and Garnett's future, is unclear. Williams and Johnson will likely be frustrated with their long contracts.
All this spells a headache for King, who was already tied down by the investment he put into the veterans over draft picks. His two new 2015 and 2019 second-round picks are not exactly a catalyst for youth.
NBA: Whether the NBA admits it or not, this is very bad. The Nets are supposed to be one of the top brands in the league. They are a Christmas Day team two years running and one of only two teams, the other being the Miami Heat, to wear nickname jerseys this season, not to mention the Nets' Dodgers-themed alternate jerseys. The Nets' arena (Prudential Center and then Barclays Center) has hosted the NBA draft the past two years.
It was the perfect storm. A Hall of Famer starting coaching his old franchise in New York City. He had the talent around him and the brand to create a contender. And then, boom. This.
Adam Silver is not going to complain much. The Donald Sterling song and dance has drained his energy too much to get stressed over a Kidd saga. But there is no way the NBA is a winner here.
Larry Drew: The former Bucks coach is the forgotten man wrapped up in the Kidd chaos. Drew had two years left on his contract with a team option for a third.
Drew had a bad 2013-14 year no matter how you look at it, winning only 15 games. However, his track record was much different. Drew made the playoffs in all three seasons as Hawks coach. The Bucks were in clear transition mode after losing Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis in the off-season.
Drew, a Nets assistant from 2003-2004, does not get another shot in Milwaukee. He loses his job to a player he used to coach before new ownership even got a chance to know him.
Jason Kidd: Kidd will need a few years in Milwaukee before anything can be determined here. In his heart, Kidd thinks he is a winner. He is leaving a mess in Brooklyn. After the Garnett-Pierce trade, the Nets are low on cap space and draft picks with a roster that does not appear title-ready. He also ditches the spotlight of New York City for quaint, Midwest Milwaukee. He has a young roster with a franchise player, Parker, whose future potential is greater than anyone in Brooklyn.
Of course, the Bucks are also a small market, and Kidd has never spent any time in the Midwest (grew up in the Bay Area, went to Cal, played in Dallas, Phoenix and New York markets). He may prove to be a horrendous fit among young, unproven players. If Kidd cannot make the Bucks a playoff team in a few seasons, he will look like a complete jerk.
Pat Riley totally stuck it to the Knicks (although he had the luxury of getting 10 years to win his first title in Miami). Bill Belichick hosed the Jets. Kidd has to hope he looks just as good shunning and shaming the Nets. But it is certainly a roll of the dice.
Also, Kidd just lost the respect of every other coach in the league by breaking the unwritten rule of pursuing an occupied coaching job.
Nets Front Office: Kidd asked the Nets for more power within team operation and Prokhorov and King told him to forget it. A 44-38 season with a sixth-place Eastern Conference finish and a second-round playoff exit one year after backing up Raymond Felton in Manhattan did not warrant more roster power. Kidd fired back by moving to Milwaukee.
It is easy to label the Nets' front office as a loser, but they may be the ones playing us all along. Kidd got off to a brutal start on the sidelines, with the team at 10-21 on New Years' Day. Kidd spilled a drink to manufacture a timeout he didn't have and feuded with Frank, causing more drama than Prokhorov and King could have expected.
Kidd clearly has an ego and it made things sometimes icy for the franchise. Now, King can search for a new coach (former Warriors coach Mark Jackson was an early candidate, along with former Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins and CSKA Moscow coach Ettore Messina) to repair relationships with his veterans and build relationships with new players. Maybe Kidd was a cancer bringing the Nets in a poor direction. The front office did not appear keen on bowing down to Kidd to keep him in Brooklyn.
It got to the point management felt the best decision was to rid the organization of Kidd. Like the former coach, the team got its wish.
Milwaukee Bucks: How much of an impact can Kidd have on a rebuilding, small-market franchise? No one knows. It has never been done before. Kidd's one season with the Nets was a wild card. We still do not really know how good of a coach he is. He started slowly, but he totally flipped the switch halfway through the season. Was this due to Kidd's coaching or players changing their games? Maybe it had to do with Frank's relegation?
Kidd will come in and try to change the Bucks. He will likely have pull within the front office, allowing him to pursue talent, as well as coach it. That is, if talent will come. Kidd needs to prove he is a good player-turned-coach.
Best case scenario: Jabari Parker becomes a superstar, the Bucks make the playoffs in Kidd's second year and contend for the Central Division title in season three.
Worst case scenario: Kidd cannot connect with the Bucks' young core and he is gone after two bottom-dwelling seasons.
Deron Williams: Williams, who was traded to the Nets in February 2011, was supposed to be the franchise player in Brooklyn. A point guard, who just turned 30 this week, was expected to stay in his prime for a few more years.
Williams' 14.3 points and 6.1 assists were noticeably lower than his previous averages. Williams had surgery on both his ankles in May, and the Nets must hope the operation resolves whatever brought his numbers down.
Williams could be past his prime. Or, Kidd hindered his prime. Williams has never been known to mesh well with coaches, as he has been blamed for long-time Jazz coach Jerry Sloan's departure from Utah. Time will tell if Williams' break-up from Kidd was worth it.
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.
Topics: Adam Silver, Basketball, Billy King, Brooklyn Nets, Deron Williams, Jabari Parker, Jason Kidd, Jay-Z, Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett, Larry Drew, Lawrence Frank, Marc Lasry, Mikhail Prokhorov, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA, NBA Draft, New York Knicks, Paul Pierce