After reports surfaced that Jason Kidd emerged as a strong front-runner to become the next head coach of the Dallas Mavericks, it appears as though it’s all but official. The team opened contract talks with Kidd on Thursday and reached an agreement on Friday, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Kidd will replace Rick Carlisle, who stepped down last week after 13 years in Dallas, and took the Indiana head-coaching job on Thursday.
The Mavericks have also reached an agreement with Nike executive Nico Harrison to take over as their new president of basketball operations. Harrison replaces Donnie Nelson, who had been with the Mavs since 1998. Marc Stein of the New York Times, who first reported the negotiations for the two hires, notes that Harrison has developed strong relationships with players throughout the league through his work at Nike, which could help bring in players to Dallas.
Kidd was already in the process of assembling a coaching staff before reaching an agreement, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, with former Mavericks players JJ Barea and Jason Terry among the possible candidates. On Thursday, Carlisle, who won a championship with Kidd, endorsed his former point guard for the job.
“My hope is that Jason Kidd will be the next coach of the Mavs because he and Luka [Doncic] have so many things in common as players,” Carlisle told ESPN’s Tim Macmahon. “I just think that it would be a great situation for Luka, and I think it would be an amazing situation for Jason. I’m the only person on the planet that’s coached both of those guys and that knows about all of their special qualities as basketball players. To me, that just would be a great marriage, but that’s just an opinion.”
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This is Kidd’s third head-coaching post after previous stops with the Brooklyn Nets for one season and the Milwaukee Bucks for parts of four (183-190 record as a coach). He was fired by the Bucks with a 23-22 record midway through the 2017-18 season. He never won more than 44 games as a coach in either Brooklyn or Milwaukee. Mike Budenholzer took over the Bucks for the 2018-19 season and led them to a 60-22 record.
Kidd has been an assistant under Frank Vogel on the Lakers’ coaching staff for the past two seasons, and won a championship there in the Orlando bubble. He has a strong relationship with LeBron James due to his basketball IQ, but James is far from the only star to have endorsed Kidd. Giannis Antetokounmpo reportedly offered to speak to Bucks ownership on his behalf when he got fired, and Damian Lillard publicly lobbied for Kidd to become the next coach of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Kidd played two separate stints for the Mavericks and won the 2011 championship as Carlisle’s starting point guard. He was the co-rookie of the year after the 1994-95 season with Dallas and in 1996, he was traded to the Phoenix Suns for a package that included Michael Finley, who had been viewed as a candidate to replace Donnie Nelson atop the Dallas front office before Harrison’s emergence. Finley currently works as the vice president of basketball operations in Dallas, and is expected to remain with the Mavericks moving forward, according to MacMahon.
The Mavericks recently hired team legend Dirk Nowitzki as an advisor to owner Mark Cuban. Nowitzki played alongside both Kidd and Finley. Now, as the team attempts to usher in a new era of championship contention, it appears as though it will lean on the players that kept them there over the past two decades.