Jason Kidd reached out to Nets about becoming head coach, not the other way around

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The Nets hired Jason Kidd as a rookie head coach this summer, less than 10 days after his retirement from a Hall of Fame career that lasted 19 seasons.

Brooklyn’s front office wasn’t exactly camped out on Kidd’s doorstep, however, waiting to pounce once he technically became available. No, it was Kidd who reached out through his agent to Nets’ brass to see if there might be an opportunity, and initially, there wasn’t.

Nets GM Billy King, speaking during the TNT telecast to David Aldridge during Brooklyn’s preseason win over the Heat on Thursday, explained the details of how it all went down, and revealed some of the qualities in Kidd that impressed him enough to give the first-time head coach a shot.

As transcribed by Brian Fleurantin of Nets Daily:

David Aldridge: It is, it’s one thing to put a team like that together. But it’s another thing to turn it over to someone who’s never coached before [Aldridge and King laugh]. So, I mean, what was the thought process when you thought Jason Kidd was a good fit for this team?

Billy King: When we first sat down and talked, you know, just listening to him talk about the team. He was talking about what he would have done in certain games, how we would use the lineup, how he wanted to play, and a lot of the things he talked about were things that I believed in. And, so, we had a two and a half – three hour conversation the first time, and I walked away believing. And then, so we talked again, and then I was convinced.

David Aldridge: He really kind of recruited you as opposed to the other way around right?

Billy King: [nods head in agreement] He did, he did, and you know his agent Jeff Schwartz reached out, and originally I said ‘No.’ I said “No, there’s no way.” Ownership said it, I said “No way.” And then they said “Just meet with him,” and I did, and I’m glad I did.

The most interesting part of all of this is the fact that Kidd was hired a good two weeks before the deal that brought Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn from the Celtics ever materialized.

You have to wonder with the benefit of hindsight if King might have held off on hiring Kidd, in order to see what other experienced head coaches might have had some interest in trying to pilot this now loaded team through the postseason. Guys like George Karl, Lionel Hollins, or even Stan Van Gundy might have been intrigued by the talent assembled on the roster, and for better or worse, they’ve each largely had a track record of success and are generally known commodities.

Brooklyn doesn’t yet know what it has with Kidd, and it’ll be interesting to see how things play out if the team should underachieve and fail to meet expectations under its first-year head coach.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: I’ve never seen injury like Kawhi Leonard’s

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Gregg Popovich is a basketball lifer.

He’s the NBA’s most experienced active head coach. Before that, he was the Spurs’ general manager. Before that, he was an NBA assistant. Before that, he was a college head coach and assistant. Before that, he was a college player. Before that, he was a youth player.

The San Antonio coach has seen everything.

Except the right quadriceps tendinopathy suffered by Kawhi Leonard, whom Popovich said more than a week would return “sooner rather than later.” Yet, Leonard still hasn’t played this season.

Popovich, via Michael C. Wright of ESPN:

“Never, never,” Popovich said when asked whether he has seen such a condition hampering one of his players. “What’s really strange is that [point guard] Tony [Parker] has the same injury, but even worse. They had to go operate on his quad tendon and put it back together or whatever they did to it. So to have two guys, that’s pretty incredible. I had never seen it before those guys.”

“I keep saying sooner rather than later,” Popovich said jokingly. “It’s kind of like being a politician. It’s all baloney, doesn’t mean anything.”

The 26-year-old Leonard is one of the NBA’s biggest on-court stars. He might be the league’s best defender, and he has built himself into an offensive force. The Spurs (11-7) have fared fine without him so far, but they’ll need him to accomplish their main goals – this year and beyond.

Hopefully, Leonard’s health is better than it sounds here, because Popovich’s answer sure isn’t encouraging.

Tim Hardaway Jr. calls fallen ref safe rather than defend shot (video)

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The Knicks went on a 28-0 run.

They earned the right to showboat late in their win over the Raptors last night.

Tim Hardaway Jr. called a ref, who slipped on the baseline, safe rather than contest Serge Ibaka‘s 3-pointer. Perfection!

Luc Mbah a Moute sets modern record at +57 in Rockets’ win over Nuggets

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Luc Mbah a Moute is a quietly good player.

He’s an effective and versatile defender. Offensively, he shoots 3-pointers well enough to score efficiently and spread the floor. Most of all, the 31-year-old just understands how to play and plays within himself. His teams tend to perform better when he’s on the floor.

That’s an understatement for Wednesday night.

In a 125-95 win, the Rockets outscored the Nuggets by a whopping 57 points in Mbah a Moute’s 26 minutes. That’s the best single-game plus-minus in the Basketball-Reference database, which dates back to the 2000-01 season. It tops Joe Smith’s +52 in a 2001 Timberwolves win over the Bulls, a 53-point game that also produced a +50 for Wally Szczerbiak and +48 for Terrell Brandon.

Mbah a Moute’s traditional stat line was impressive, though not overly so: 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting with four rebounds, four steals and an assist. He played well, contributing to winning in all the small ways he often does, and the Rockets happened to play excellently around him.

Now, Mbah a Moute tops the leaderboard in single-game plus-minus since 2000-01:

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Did Russell Westbrook get mad at Steven Adams for not taking potential triple-double-clinching shot? (video)

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Russell Westbrook chases triple-doubles.

That hardly makes him unique. He’s just close enough to the feat more often than other players, so he chases them more often.

But he still chases them.

Late in the Thunder’s 108-91 win over the Warriors last night, Westbrook was heading toward his final line of 34 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. His teammates shot off his passes on three of Oklahoma City’s final four possessions before he took a seat (including one assist). The exception came when he passed to Steven Adams, who passed rather than shoot – clearly upsetting Westbrook.

Was Westbrook mad because he missed his chance at a triple-double? Maybe.

Was Westbrook mad because Adams passed as the shot clock neared expiration? Maybe.

It could be both!

Watch Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry on Golden State’s bench. They clearly found something funny.