According to a report, Larry Drew has been officially let go as the coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, shortly after the team negotiated compensation to bring Jason Kidd in from the Brooklyn Nets to coach.
According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN:
Larry Drew has been formally fired as coach of the Bucks, sources told ESPN
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) June 30, 2014
That report came as a stunner, if only because I was under the belief that Windhorst was strictly limited to covering LeBron James news for the Worldwide Leader.
While you may or may not believe Kidd to be an upgrade over Drew, there is no question Bucks management handled this situation terribly with regards to Drew.
Drew was completely blindsided by this. He showed up at Milwaukee Public Market on Friday to help welcome first-round pick Jabari Parker and by Saturday night, there were reports that Kidd was on his way from Brooklyn.
At no point in the process, according to reports, did anyone in the new ownership group or the front office reach out to Drew to at least advise him something might be up.
Drew will be paid for the final two years remaining on his contract, worth a reported $5 million.
Drew had the worst season in Bucks history—the numbers don’t lie—but there were factors that contributed to the 15-67 meltdown that was 2013-14.
Franchise center Larry Sanders played in only 23 games and seldom resembled the player the Bucks felt worth throwing four years and $44 million at last summer.
Veterans O.J. Mayo, Gary Neal and Caron Butler didn’t live up to expectations and when the season turned south almost immediately, those players were bypassed often to allow younger players opportunities to get experience.
The good news? Next season should be better. But after doing so many things right after taking ownership of the franchise from Herb Kohl, Marc Lasry and Wes Edens have a bit of a public relations mess on their hands after hiring a coach while one still worked for you already.
This is also risky business for Kidd, who had best make it work in Milwaukee, because he violated one of the prime ethical rules of the coaching fraterity—thou shalt not politic, campaign or otherwise make a move for a job one of your brethren already owns.
When it appeared Kidd had burned his Brooklyn bridges, he reached out to Lasry—his former financial adviser—and they started talking deal before anyone in the Bucks front office knew what was happening.
Bad form, at the very least. Larry Drew, a veteran NBA guy with more than 30 years in the league as a player and coach, deserved a hell of a lot better.