Jason Kidd to coach the Mavs

The Oakland myth was one of the best point guards in history but he is a highly questioned coach. The Mavs also want Nico Harrison of Nike.

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Is the future of the Dallas Mavericks close to clearing up? It seems. In the throes of turmoil, the Texas franchise is moving towards an absolutely necessary reconfiguration after its structure was blown up with the departure of executive Donnie Nelson, who had been in the franchise for almost a quarter of a century. The son of the legendary coach Don Nelson has a great relationship with Luka Doncic, who publicly regretted his departure in the midst of a whirlwind that shook the Mavs, a happy franchise just a few days before (they managed 0-2 and 2-3 before of being eliminated in the first round by the Clippers) and that convulsed after the appearance of a controversial article in The Athletic in which there was talk of internal wars that had to do with Haralabos Voulgaris, the man of maximum confidence of the owner, Mark Cuban.

Voulgaris had assumed near-total command competitions on the Mavs, influenced even the sporting decisions of coach Rick Carlisle, and had a bad relationship with the roster exemplified by his friction with Doncic. The Slovenian also ended, according to several American journalists, distanced from Carlisle, who also ended up dating after thirteen years in Dallas, where he leaves as the coach with the most victories in franchise history and the architect of the champion team in 2011, the Mavericks roof for now.

Mark Cuban, surrounded by the internal earthquake and external criticism, organized an entente with franchise historical figures such as Mike Finley and a Dirk Nowitzki who arrived as an advisor to help rebuild a team that cannot lose its step after two years in the playoffs: Luka Doncic will sign his extension of more than 200 million dollars this summer because nobody leaves so much money on the table, but the medium and long-term future of the point guard may be at stake already in the coming months if things do not go for the better. It should be added that his at least cold relationship with Kristaps Porzingis, the other star of the team but a player punished by injuries and with a frankly poor performance in recent times, is well documented.

Where are things going? Well after tonight there is enough light on it. Yesterday Rick Carlisle was announced as the new coach of the Indiana Pacers, a team he returns to fourteen years later, and told reporter Tim MacMahon that he saw Jason Kidd as the ideal coach to coach the Mavs and Luka Doncic. Kidd, a myth as a player, has such a bad press as a coach that some took it as a poisoned dart from an ex whose exit has certainly not been placid. But it seems that the shots are going there, as Adrian Wojnarowski has advanced that the search is close to closing in Dallas with two names on the front lines of the starting grid: Nico Harrison as an executive and Jason Kidd as a coach. The latter seems a matter already practically closed, in fact.

The first, Harrison, is a very influential and respected figure in the NBA world, one of those who moves behind the scenes with enormous power. A Nike executive, he is friends with Luka Doncic, whom he helped get out of Jordan in 2019, and has already been tempted by other franchises in recent years. A professional gamer in Belgium, he returned to the United States to work in the pharmaceutical industry before joining Nike in 2002. First in the sales department, from which he rose to the position he has held since 2015, president of operations of the North American wing. Harrison, who has a great relationship with many players and works young talent from high school to professional level, was close to Kobe Bryant. Nike sent him west to work first in Texas, especially with the Spurs big three (Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili) and then he was assigned, in 2003, to Los Angeles, with the mission of recovering his credibility and image. Kobe Bryant's public view, at a critical moment after his arrest on a sexual assault charge at a Colorado hotel.

If many bless the interest in Harrison, things change radically with a Jason Kidd who except for surprise will be the new boss of the bench. Oakland's is one of the great point guards in history: second in assists in the NBA (12,091) only behind the untouchable John Stockton (15,806). Kidd played between 1994 and 2013, was a twelve-time all-star and won the 2011 ring for the Mavericks, the team that drafted him in 1994 (number 2) and in which he played in two rounds: 1994-96 and 2008-12. Then he managed the Nets and Bucks and since the summer of 2019 he has been Frank Vogel's assistant in the Lakers, where he was proclaimed champion last season, in the Florida bubble. Kidd, and that made Carlisle put his name on the table, is considered one of the best playmakers in history, so his connection to Luka Doncic could be perfect, in that sense. Finley and Nowitzki also discussed that option with Cuban.

But the problem is, there are many doubts with Kidd, whom Damian Lillard publicly said he wanted on the Blazers' bench. Kidd went awry from Dallas both times, in 1996 after clashing head-on with the board and locker room, and in 2012 after committing to return to the Mavs as a free agent but breaking his word to go to the Knicks. In addition, in 2001 he went through the trance of pleading guilty to domestic violence, an event that was followed by an ugly divorce and with many details that delved into the violent nature of a Kidd who later, in 2012, was arrested for driving drunk and exploding his car against a phone booth. That meant a two-game suspension as he was going to start his stage as coach, which started with him punished. The Mavericks have recently gone through a scandal of toxic and discriminatory relationships with the women who work in the franchise, so Kidd's past may come to the fore again if, as it seems, he is signed.

Furthermore, there are serious doubts in sports. Kidd led the failed super-team Nets (Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Deron Williams…) and after one season forced his way out to the Milwaukee Bucks because they didn't give him the power he claimed. In Wisconsin he was fired during his fourth season. With both teams he played playoffs and in the Nets he made it through a round, but his work was highly questioned and his total balance as head coach is 182 wins and 190 losses. As soon as Mike Budenholzer left and arrived, the Bucks went on, with practically the same team, to win 60 games and be one of the best teams in the NBA. So the Kidd option, which seems the one that has been imposed, is highly questioned at a time when the Mavs need stability and good direction so that Doncic feels that there, in Texas, he can continue to stride towards the last competitive layer and the fight for the ring.



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