When the Nets were struggling to start the season and first-year head coach Jason Kidd parted ways with the most tenured assistant on his staff in Lawrence Frank, there were plenty who believed Kidd’s rookie season on the sidelines would end before it was completed.
Brooklyn came into the season with the league’s highest payroll and expectations to match, and it appeared as though Kidd was scapegoating someone else early on for his team’s troubling start.
At the time, the decision seemed questionable at best, but even the Nets players saw the friction between Kidd and Frank, and the dynamic between the two was no longer conducive to success.
Warriors head coach Mark Jackson was among those defending Kidd when all this went down, and before the Nets snapped Golden State’s 10-game winning streak on Thursday, Jackson used the opportunity of being in Brooklyn to once again go to bat for a brother in the coaching ranks.
From Rod Boone of Newsday:
But in listening to the Warriors coach staunchly defend Jason Kidd’s rookie trials and tribulations, he left little doubt on the role of a background singer compared to the lead who’s on stage with the booming voice and holding the mic. Quick, someone cue up a Gladys Knight & the Pips track.
“Everybody has to know who’s in charge, and that’s the head coach,” Jackson said last night before the Nets took on Golden State. “He’s the guy calling the shots. I’ve never seen anyone of the Pips try to lead. That’s Gladys’ role. Let Gladys be Gladys.” …
“To me, I think too much was made of it,” Jackson said. “I think it’s clownish. There’s no difference of opinions with my staff and I. We give suggestions, some I go with, some I don’t. But at the end of the day, it’s my decision, and we are united in whichever way we decide to go. If you have a problem with that, then you should not be my assistant coach.
We explained at the time how the Kidd-Frank pairing appeared to be doomed from the start, given the way the roles were now reversed in this employer-employee relationship. Kidd was going to get to ride out the season no matter what given all the injuries the team has sustained, but support from respected coaches around the league has to be comforting nonetheless.