The Milwaukee Bucks introduced new head coach Jason Kidd Wednesday and even if the new coach wasn’t apologizing for the way he left Brooklyn, the Bucks’ new owners acknowledged mistakes were made.
“It’s business,” Kidd said about his awkward departure from the Nets and arrival in Milwaukee.
Milwaukee co-owners Wes Edens and Marc Lasry, however, took a more conciliatory tone after arranging for compensation to Brooklyn (two second-round draft picks) while still having a coach, Larry Drew, under contract.
“We were naive about how this business is put out to the press,” Edens told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We are used to operating in businesses where discretion is necessary and part of the fabric of it.
“The degree to which the media plays an integral role in basketball was a shock to me.”
Kidd, 41, spent just one season as coach of the Nets, leading Brooklyn to a 44-38 record and the Eastern Conference semifinals, where they were eliminated by the Miami Heat in five games.
“Having this opportunity with Milwaukee, I’m very excited about it,” Kidd said. “For me, I’ve played in small markets; I’ve played in big markets.
“Basketball is inside the arena. It doesn’t recognize what market you’re in. It’s about wins and losses and that’s the way I approach it.”
The trade for Kidd was agreed to Monday and shortly thereafter Drew was fired after just one season at the helm in Milwaukee and a club-record-worst 15-67 record.
There is no question that Kidd is giving the Bucks some buzz around the league—the first time the franchise has been in the national spotlight for quite awhile.
Edens said having a coach of Kidd’s stature will pay benefits down the road as the Bucks will try to recruit better talent.
“I hope so,” Kidd said of the idea that he can sell Milwaukee as a good place to play. “My job is to try to get the players I have better and when we go into free agency, to have that attraction because we’re winning.
“Milwaukee has a lot of great things to sell. I think it’s the talent and being able to win a championship.”
Kidd also pointed out that the franchise has both new ownership and young talent, specifically citing how much he’s looking forward to coaching Parker.
“I talked to Grant Hill and said, ‘I played against you a lot and now hopefully I’m getting to coach a player like you,’” Kidd said. “Jabari has an opportunity to be a special player in this league.
“But it’s not handed to you. He’s going to work and our jobs are to make him better each day.”
Sean Sweeney will coach the Bucks’ summer league team along with Eric Hughes. Both were members of Kidd’s staff in Brooklyn who have joined their old boss in his new gig.