Some five months into his foray as a head coach, Jason Kidd already is shaking up his staff. And this move left some reverberations.
Not long before the Nets' 111-87 loss to the Nuggets Tuesday night, Kidd delivered the surprising news that he was reassigning his lead assistant, Lawrence Frank, because of "philosophical differences."
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Frank will technically still be on Kidd's staff, but Kidd said Frank will file daily reports and won't be on the bench for games or attend practices. Kidd said no one new will be brought in to assume Frank's role on the bench.
There had been some rumblings recently depicting "friction" between Kidd and Frank. But asked directly if that was true and led to him shaking things up, Kidd flatly said: "No. This is my decision in a sense of what I had to do. It's about basketball. That's it."
Still, it was a stunner, given Kidd's heavy courtship of Frank once he initially got surprisingly hired by general manager Billy King in June. Kidd badly wanted his former coach to lead his staff and aid in showing him the ropes as he made the transition from player to coach.
Frank was on Byron Scott's staff when Kidd was traded to the Nets in 2001; he played under Frank from 2004-2008.
Kidd offered few specifics, but in reading between the lines, it's apparent they weren't always on the same page. According to a Yahoo report, things started spiraling in the wrong direction after Kidd's first game on the bench following his two-game suspension, when Kidd lost his temper with Frank.
Frank, who reportedly is the league's highest-paid assistant coach at $1 million per season, was the guy who essentially ran the team's defense and it's been rather porous so far. The Nets entered the night ranked 29th in the league in points yielded per possession. However, Kidd insisted the defensive struggles weren't the main determinant.
"No, it's just different philosophies and that's it," Kidd said. "We'll figure out how to stop people."
That's how Joe Johnson sees it, too. "It'll be a little bit of an adjustment," he said. "But as professionals, we are kind of used to situations like this. I know I've been in plenty of them. So it wouldn't be a big deal. We will be able to move forward. I think we have bigger things to worry about than that at this point. Us as players, we've got to get together and go out there and execute the gameplan and make it work. That's it."
Now the training wheels are off, and Kidd is fine with that, suggesting he didn't lean on Frank as much as some may have thought. "I've been doing it from Day 1, so I understand what it means to be a coach and having your guys ready," he said. "That's what I've been doing since summer league."
Frank's demotion could be the first salvo fired off, a sign that more changes are on the way. Kevin Garnett wasn't about to deny that. "I'm sure management will do what they feel is best for this team and organization, and every guy here has to understand that, and that's the business part of this," he said. "You have to expect that and you can't think that that's not going to happen or that it does not exist. That's just the reality and part of the NBA and sports."