Report: Nets grant Bucks permission to speak with Jason Kidd

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Jason Kidd got off to an extremely rough start in Brooklyn in his first year as head coach, but eventually was able to gain his players’ trust and guide the team to a trip to the second round of the postseason.

Kidd was feeling pretty good about the job he did in his rookie campaign, apparently, and went at ownership with a demand to gain more control over player personnel decisions.

After his request was denied, the Nets granted the Bucks permission to speak with Kidd about an opportunity within their organization.

From Tim Bontemps of the New York Post:

According to a league source, Kidd recently approached ownership with a series of demands, including the role of overseeing the Nets’ basketball operations department in addition to his head coaching responsibilities. The source said Kidd didn’t want general manager Billy King to be dismissed, but wanted to be given a title and placed above him in the organizational hierarchy.

Ownership declined to grant Kidd that kind of power, which is rare for any coach in the league to have. The source said ownership felt Kidd wasn’t ready for that kind of responsibility after having only one year of coaching experience — the team finished his first season on the bench with a 44-38 record, good for sixth in the Eastern Conference — and allowed Kidd to seek other opportunities.

The franchise then was approached by the Bucks for permission to speak with Kidd about the prospect of hiring him, and the Nets granted permission.

This, essentially, is pretty nuts.

Every head coach in the league would want to have input on the players they end up coaching, but even those long-tenured in their position don’t go to ownership with these kinds of demands. Kidd turned things around after a slow start, but didn’t do anything to prove he knows better than anyone else who would best fit the team from a personnel standpoint.

Depending on how contentious the talks between Kidd and the front office were, if I’m the Nets, my message is this: Have fun in Milwaukee.

The Bucks have been historically terrible, and play in a small and undesirable market where no free agents will sign. Contrast that with Brooklyn’s billionaire owner that will pay whatever it costs to assemble a roster capable of contending, and it’s tough to imagine a scenario where Milwaukee would be a more favorable choice, even with the more prestigious title and the added responsibility.

As to the question of, ‘why the Bucks?,’ Ken Berger of CBSSports.com has an idea.

Nets Daily reports that Kidd is “likely to leave,” although for the reasons just mentioned, it would be pretty tough to envision. With that being said, the fact that it’s gotten to this point means that there may be a significant rift that exists now between Kidd and the Nets front office.

Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s number after Cavaliers game in February

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The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.

Now, we know when.

Celtics release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11

After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.

DeMarcus Cousins on Confederate statues: ‘Take all them motherf—ers down’

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DeMarcus Cousins grew up in Alabama, played collegiately at Kentucky and now plays in New Orleans.

So, yeah, the Pelicans star has an opinion on Confederate statues.

Cousins, via TMZ:

“Take all them motherf*ckers down,” Cousins said … “Take ’em all down.”

These statues glorify people because they fought a war against the United States in the name of preserving the racist institution of slavery.

Not whom I want to honor, either.

Kevin Durant: Kyrie Irving-LeBron James situation ‘just a regular NBA problem’

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Kevin Durant knows something about star teammates not always getting along.

So, the Warriors forward is not freaking out about the disconnect between Kyrie Irving and LeBron James and Irving’s subsequent trade request.

Durant, via Chris Haynes of ESPN:

“It’s just a regular NBA problem, right? A lot of teams have gone through this before,” Durant told ESPN. “They’ll figure it out. That’s a great organization, a championship organization. They’ll figure it out.”

“It’s not the end of the world,” Durant said. “Both of those guys won a championship together. They love each other. If Kyrie wants to do something else, that’s on him. I’m sure whatever happens, it’ll work out for the best for both of them. But it’s just a normal NBA problem. It’s just two big stars that it’s happening to.”

Durant is definitely right in the larger sense. Teammates spat and requests trades more often than we realize. Remember, both Irving and the Cavaliers probably prefer this never became public.

But I’m not sure Cleveland will figure this out with the ease Durant suggests. David Griffin, who had proven so adept at putting out these fires, is gone. LeBron’s free agency looms. This could be extremely destructive to the Cavs.

The fact that this “regular NBA problem” became public only intensifies it – and raises it something greater.

Report: Heat signing Jordan Mickey

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Jordan Mickey – the No. 33 pick by the Celtics in 2015 – became the first second-round pick in memory to sign the year he was drafted and receive a higher initial salary than first-round picks.

He’s keeping the checks coming.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Mickey will be the Heat’s 16th player with a standard contract, though Matt Williams (unguaranteed) will likely be waived to meet the regular-season roster limit.

I’m not sure where Mickey fits on this team, which already has several bigs. Hassan Whiteside, Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk will likely play ahead of him. Miami also has A.J. Hammons (who might be just dead salary) and Udonis Haslem (who might provide nothing more than veteran leadership).

The Heat could just see Mickey as someone they can develop. At that point, how he fits into the current roster doesn’t really matter.

Mickey – 6-foot-8 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan – is a mobile defender with nice timing for blocking shots inside. He even possesses a work-in-progress 3-pointer in his arsenal. There’s plenty for Miami to help mold.