SAN ANTONIO — The Nets announced the hiring of Jason Kidd as their new head coach on Wednesday, and while there are legitimate questions as to whether he can make the transition so quickly from player to coach, the reaction has been mostly positive.
Go ahead and count LeBron James among the believers.
Speaking before the Heat’s Game 4 win over the Spurs, James couldn’t have been happier for Kidd, and believes that his experience and his personality are well-suited to take on this new challenge.
“I think it’s amazing, honestly,” he said. “J-Kidd is unbelievable, one of the best teammates I ever played with — on the ’08 Olympic team, he was one of the best friends I would have, on and off the floor. He’s a student of the game. His basketball IQ is crazy and I think it’s going to make it an easy transition for him to be a coach. It’s a great thing for him.”
Kidd obviously comes into the role without any prior coaching experience, having retired from the game as a player less than two weeks before securing his new position. But James pointed to another former player who entered the coaching profession under similar circumstances when talking up Kidd’s chances for success.
“It’s going to be a transition, but I don’t know,” James said. “He doesn’t know. It’s the first time for him, but it was the same with Mark Jackson. He had never patrolled the sideline either, but look at the great work he’s done in Golden State. You play the game and you’re smart, I think it can make the transition much easier for you. And he’s not inheriting a bad team, he’s inheriting a good team. So that makes the job easier, too.”
James seemed so positive about Kidd’s potential to do well in his new career choice that it was only natural to wonder if he himself might be interested in one day becoming a head coach. But being in the prime of his career, the question came as a bit of a surprise.
“Me, coach?” James asked, with a smile. “I’m 28 years old. I’ve got a lot of time to think about that.”