Jason Kidd said he had no relationship with Nets GM, didn’t attempt power play

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Sorry, Kevin. Jason Kidd didn’t even make it to pregame introductions before the idea of a warm reception in his return to Brooklyn went out the window.

In his pregame press conference, Kidd – the former Nets coach who took the same position with the Bucks this summer – aired more grievances than Frank Costanza on Festivus.

Let’s start with the reports Kidd, before leaving for Milwaukee, tried get control of the Nets’ front office.

Devin Kharpertian of The Brooklyn Game:

He once again denied the allegations that he sought power in the Nets organization, wishing to usurp power and seek a presidential position after one year as a coach. “Sometimes things don’t end the right way,” Kidd growled. “Sometimes things, one side talks, the other side goes about his business. Again, I think you’ve heard from their side, it’s business. It happens.”

How Kidd’s relationship with Nets general manager Billy King?

Kidd, via Kharpertian:

“He’s management. So that’s– my relationship with Billy was to figure out how to get things right when he was around. So. There was really no relationship.”

That doesn’t sound like a healthy relationship at all. Does Kidd have no relationship wither Bucks general manager John Hammond either, because “he’s management”? That’s not really much of an explanation.

If Kidd and King really were this disconnected, I wouldn’t blame Kidd for seeking front-office power. It’s hard to see how a franchise can succeed if the coach and general manager have no relationship.

That said, I think they had a relationship – just one where there wasn’t much trust.

Kidd has said he believes the Nets wanted him fired in December, and he emphasized the significance of that today. Kidd, via Kharpertian:

“I think it really helped me to see what I was dealing with, what type of people I was dealing with.” Kidd added.

Last December, Kidd was a first-year coach overseeing one of the NBA’s most disappointing teams. What kind of people consider firing a coach like that? People who want to run a franchise in a sound manner.

It should noted the Nets didn’t fire Kidd in December. Instead, they let him grow on the job and uncover a small-ball formula that worked well for Brooklyn.

Firing Kidd after his awful start would have been justified. From his handling of assistant coach Lawrence Frank to asking a player to spill a drink on him, Kidd looked to be in way over his head.

Again, the Nets were the type of people to show patience in him, even though others noticed how little he seemed to do.

Kidd brought that up too, comparing himself to current Nets coach Lionel Hollins (who made a Kidd joke in his introductory press conference). Kidd, via Kharpertian:

“I thought it was kind of funny that you guys were marking down how many times I held a clipboard, did you do that with Hollins? Oh good. Let me know how many times he holds the clipboard.”

Lionel Hollins proved himself to be a good coach in Memphis. He gets, and deserves, the benefit of the doubt for now.

Kidd hadn’t coached before last year, and for the first couple months of the season, he looked really bad at it. That’s why he got scrutiny.

After New Year’s, Kidd did much better, and he appears to be doing well in Milwaukee. But there’s so much unsettled about Kidd’s time with the Nets that nobody is fully ready to move on, not even the coach who claims he has but is still saying a lot.

Check out The Brooklyn Game for more on Kidd’s press conference, including the coach addressing Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s comments.

Report: Trail Blazers sign president Neil Olshey to contract extension

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Just after a rumor emerged about the Wizards trying to hire Trail Blazers president Neil Olshey…

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

It’s nice to be wanted. It always adds leverage in contract negotiations.

Olshey has done well in Portland, building a winner around Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum after LaMarcus Aldridge left. But Olshey’s job will get harder now.

Evan Turner, Meyers Leonard and Maurice Harkless each have another season on the expensive contracts Olshey gave them in the wild summer of 2016. That’ll inhibit flexibility this offseason.

Then, Lillard is set to sign a super-max extension that will take effect in 2021. As great as Lillard is, it’ll be difficult building a contender around someone projected to earn $43 million, $46 million, $50 million and $53 million from ages 31-34. There’s so little margin for error, especially if ownership is less willing to pay the luxury tax than the late Paul Allen was.

But Olshey has earned a chance to handle these dilemmas.

Jazz center Rudy Gobert hits super-max criteria for extension projected to be worth $250 million over five years

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Anthony Davis signed a max rookie-scale contract extension in 2015, between his third and fourth seasons. Based on the Collective Bargaining Agreement at the time, the extension called for him to earn a higher salary if he was twice voted an All-Star starter or made two All-NBA teams during his first four seasons. Davis was voted an All-Star starter and made the All-NBA first team in his third season.

Unfortunately for Davis, he missed both honors his fourth year. The All-NBA and All-Star-starter tracks ran independently. Davis couldn’t qualify for a higher max salary by earning one of each.

That cost him $19,683,908 over the four pre-player-option seasons of his extension, which will end next year.

The current CBA’s more significant adjustments to super-max eligibility – changing the years for qualification, using Defensive Player of the Year instead of All-Star starter – obscured a minor tweak. The tracks now run together. A player can qualify with one Defensive Player of the Year and one All-NBA selection. He needn’t achieve two of one category.

So, Jazz center Rudy Gobert – who won won Defensive Player of the Year in 2018 and made All-NBA this year – quietly became eligible to sign a super-max extension in the 2020 offseason. The extension’s highest-allowable value projects to be $250 million over five years. The first four years would follow the structure of the super-max Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers are set to sign.

Newsflash: Gobert isn’t Lillard.

Gobert is elite defensively and underrated offensively. But paying him $50 million per year from ages 30-34 in a league overflowing with good centers? That’s a recipe for disaster for Utah.

But Gobert earned eligibility. That makes it harder for the Jazz to tell him they don’t deem him worthy. That tension is an unintended consequence of the super-max rules.

There is room for negotiation. In this case, Gobert’s designated-veteran-player extension must be for five seasons and have a starting salary between 30% and 35% of the 2021-22 salary cap. But his salary can increase or decrease annually by up to 8% of his first-year salary. The deal can be partially guaranteed.

Still, the lowest possible designated-veteran-player extension for Gobert projects to be $155 million over five years. If fully guaranteed, that’d be expensive for a player of his age. If not fully guaranteed, the Jazz would get savings only by waiving him, and that’d mean dropping the cheaper latter years.

Because he doesn’t have enough experience to qualify, Gobert can’t sign a super-max extension until the 2020 offseason. He met the award criteria, but a player must have seven or eight years of experience. Gobert just finished his sixth year. He’s also under contract for two more seasons – locked into salaries of $24,758,427 next season and $26,275,281 the following year.

So, there’s time to figure this out.

But this is the most uneasy super-max situation so far – unless Gobert just doesn’t insist on the money. Good luck with that.

Rumor: Wizards interested in Trail Blazers president Neil Olshey

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The Wizards struck out on luring Nuggets president Tim Connelly.

Washington’s next choice?

Ben Standig of NBC Washington:

As for the rumor mill, one name stands out: Neil Olshey.

Numerous sources told NBC Sports Washington of the Wizards’ interest in Blazers President of Basketball Operations

Olshey has done a good job in Portland. He drafted Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum then built a winner around those two after LaMarcus Aldridge left. Trading for and re-signing Jusuf Nurkic to a reasonable contract looks great. Olshey also overpaid Evan Turner, Meyers Leonard, Allen Crabbe and Festus Ezeli, but many teams spent wildly in 2016. It was a weird summer.

The Wizards would do well to hire such a proven executive.

Would Olshey leave the Trail Blazers? Their ownership situation remains uncertain following the death of Paul Allen in October. Wizards owner Ted Leonsis has demonstrated extreme loyalty to his executives.

Portland will also reportedly sign Damian Lillard to a super-max extension – a move that practically must be made, but one that carries massive downside risk. However, if he goes to Washington, Olshey would be trading uncertainty in Damian Lillard’s value on the super-max for certain negative value with John Wall on his super-max extension.

A couple years ago, Olshey signed his own extension through 2021. Maybe he’s ready to move on.

Or maybe he’s ready to use the Wizards as leverage for a raise.

Rumor: Lakers hired Jason Kidd to lure Giannis Antetokounmpo

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New Lakers coach Frank Vogel said he wanted Jason Kidd because Kidd is a good coach.

Steve Popper of Newsday:

the person familiar with the Lakers process said something else: that Kidd was brought to Los Angeles to attract Giannis Antetokounmpo to the Lakers when he becomes a free agent in two years when the Bucks star could become an unrestricted free agent.

Things I believe:

1. This plan probably wouldn’t work. Not only does Antetokounmpo appear happy in Milwaukee, he has specifically said he could never see himself playing for Los Angeles. And though I believe Antetokounmpo respected Kidd while Kidd coached him, look at the Bucks now. They’re so much better under Mike Budenholzer. You think Antetokounmpo is itching to play for Kidd again after seeing the other side?

2. The Lakers might just try this wild plan anyway. Remember when they were waiting to hire a coach in 2014 so free agent LeBron James could pick? Aside from signing LeBron last year, who seemingly had his eye on Los Angeles for years and for reasons other than basketball, the Lakers have struck out on star free agents. The franchise is getting desperate.

3. People want to believe the Lakers would do something crazy like this, and that makes the rumor spread faster – whether or not it’s true. The Lakers, because of their stature, tactics and general manager have made many enemies around the league. Plenty of folks are enjoying piling on.