MIAMI - Jason Kidd was taken aback when he heard the news that the Golden State Warriors had fired Mark Jackson on Tuesday.
"I was just surprised, like, wow!" the Nets coach said before Game 1 against the Heat. "We're not in that situation, I'm not there, so I don't know what's going on. But I'm very disappointed because of what he has done at Golden State: winning, and losing Game 7 against a potential team that can win a championship.
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"So for that being said, I thought . . . he did all the right things and he was a great mentor for me, and still will be. And he'll find another job hopefully here soon."
When the Nets were struggling at 10-21 in January, Jackson was one of Kidd's most vocal supporters, defending Kidd's decision to remove top assistant Lawrence Frank. Jackson said then that everyone must know who's in charge and that's the head coach.
"I've never seen any one of the Pips try to lead," Jackson said before the Nets' ended the Warriors' 10-game winning streak Jan. 8. "That's Gladys' role. Let Gladys be Gladys."
Kidd remains grateful that Jackson stuck up for him.
"Well, he had no choice. He couldn't guard me when we played basketball, so he had to protect me there. I'm just joking," said Kidd, who got to know Jackson while he was calling Nets games for YES Network. "It just shows he's my bigger brother and for him to step up and protect me is always appreciated. I've always been thankful for him.
"When he stepped up and said those things in light of what was going on, I'm always thankful."
Deep trouble for Heat?
All season, the Nets have touted their depth and they believe that could be an advantage for them against the Heat, too. Paul Pierce pointed to one reason in particular: flexibility on both sides of the ball.
"With our ballclub, we have three or four guys that can guard each and every one of their stars," Pierce said. "We have a lot of big guards that can match up with LeBron [James] or D-Wade and also helping on Chris Bosh. So our versatility is also great, but not only on the offensive end but defensive end."