Jason Kidd introduced as Nets head coach
Jason Kidd was the face of the Nets' franchise for 6½ seasons and looked comfortable being back in that role Thursday.
The Nets are Kidd's team again, but the all-time great point guard won't have the ball in his hands anymore. Kidd will push them from the sideline and try to motivate them with his knowledge and experience from playing 19 NBA seasons.
Ten days after retiring from playing, Kidd was introduced as the Nets' coach at a news conference at the Barclays Center.
"I have an opportunity to share my experiences and help a team from a different seat,'' Kidd said. "I have a lot to learn about coaching, but when I played the game I felt like I was an extension of the coaching.''
All around the Barclays Center it read, "Hello Coach. J.Kidd Back Where He Belongs.''
Kidd led the Nets to their greatest success in the NBA, back-to-back trips to the Finals in 2002 and 2003. But questions abound about whether he can go from a Hall of Fame career that ended with the Knicks to becoming a successful coach with no experience. He admitted to having butterflies, but also said he is confident he can do well.
"I'm nervous,'' said Kidd, who is 40. "I'm a rookie. I go from being one of the oldest players in the league to now a rookie coach. I think we have a special opportunity to achieve that status and that's to be championship-type caliber team. I'm looking forward to being a part of that and helping with structure. Sharing things as a player: being unselfish, communicating and being tough. Hopefully, I can get that across to the guys.''
Kidd, who signed a guaranteed three-year deal, said he will lean "heavily'' on his staff. He acknowledged that former Nets and Pistons coach Lawrence Frank is a candidate to be his lead assistant.
"Does he have a learning curve? Yes,'' Nets general manager Billy King said. "But if you know Jason, he doesn't take something and just want to be good at it, he wants to be great. To me, the ceiling for him is very high because he has a great work ethic and knowledge.''
King met with Kidd Monday, and said he talked about the personnel and what he envisioned doing with the Nets, who went 49-33 under Avery Johnson and P.J. Carlesimo and were eliminated by the Bulls in seven games in the first round. King chose Kidd over Pacers assistant Brian Shaw, whom he interviewed Wednesday.
Kidd plans to stress defense and play up-tempo basketball, two of his strengths. He said he wants to build a perennial 50-win team, similar to the Spurs. Kidd also said point guard Deron Williams, a close friend who attended the news conference, is the Nets' best player and would be the one to relay many of his messages.
But Kidd said the ball wouldn't be in Williams' hands all the time. He wants Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace to bring the ball up sometimes. Williams said he is on board with that and with Kidd being the face of the Nets again.
"Bringing back arguably the best player to ever play in a Nets uniform and now having him as your coach and the face of the franchise, we are excited,'' Williams said.
Kidd has off-the-court issues to deal with next week. He has a court date on eastern Long Island for his arrest on drunken- driving charges last summer. Kidd pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor DWI and other charges. King said the incident was discussed in the interview process and what was expected of him.
"I won't go too far because it's a legal matter, but we talked about it,'' King said. "I felt comfortable where things stand. I spoke to his attorney. It's a legal matter and it will be resolved.''
Kidd is out to prove he can help the Nets' on-court issues.
"The vision is to win,'' Kidd said. "This is a veteran ballclub, so my message is going to be simple. Understand you have to play hard, you have to play defense, and we're going to grow together and that's what's going to make us special.''