Jason Kidd became the Bucks’ head coach in part due to his relationship with Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry. Lasry previously owned a share of the Nets and served as Kidd’s financial advisor.
Kidd has seen his power grow in Milwaukee, reportedly becoming the team’s de facto general manager.
But his ascension with the Bucks, who are also owned by Wes Edens and several others with smaller shares, has hit a snag.
At last week’s trade deadline, Kidd tried to engineer a massive deal with New Orleans that Milwaukee ownership ultimately rejected, league sources tell me.
That wouldn’t have happened a year ago. But the fact that it did now speaks to the growing division within Milwaukee’s ownership group on Kidd.
At the least, there’s an increasing reluctance to grant Kidd player-personnel power — never mind his hopes of moving out of coaching and into the role of Milwaukee’s top basketball executive.
There’s plenty of reason to question Kidd’s reign, especially given his relationship with agent Jeff Schwartz. The players union is cracking down on agents representing players and management/coaches, but Kidd has already made shaky moves with Schwartz clients — including trading for Michael Carter-Williams and drafting Rashad Vaughn. For what it’s worth, Schwartz doesn’t represent any current Pelicans, making that potential trade more of a mystery.
The Bucks have also gone from 41-41 last season to 24-34 this year. If that were a deliberate choice to get younger — jettisoning Zaza Pachulia, Jared Dudley and Ersan Ilyasova and signing Greg Monroe — that step back could be OK. But given Kidd’s reliance on veterans like Jerryd Bayless and O.J. Mayo this season, the step back does not seem intentional. Plus, Milwaukee probably should’ve gotten more value when trading Pachulia, Dudley and Ilyasova.
Kidd has improved immensely as a coach since his start with the Nets, and perhaps he could do the same as a front-office head. He’s smart.
But he can also be difficult, and it seems the Bucks might not want to ride out his learning curve.
Complicating matters is the split in their ownership. Has Lasry changed views on Kidd? Is Edens driving this? Are lower-stakes owners incapable of affecting real change just griping? For what it’s worth, Edens has represented Milwauke at the NBA’s Board of Governors meetings.
Kidd’s end in Brooklyn got messy. Is his tenure in Milwaukee headed a similar direction?