It seems that the Mavs are whole once again.
The Dallas Mavericks have agreed to terms on a deal making Hall Of Fame point guard and NBA legend Jason Kidd the franchise’s newest head coach and just their second since 2008, sources told ESPN’s Tim McMahon on Friday.
Dallas was at a crossroads after longtime president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson and head coach Rick Carlisle left just days apart following the team’s first round exit from the playoffs after losing to the Los Angeles Clippers—who are now a solid NBA pick offering -110 NBA odds in a win or go home Game 6 on Wednesday against the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals.
With the hiring of Kidd the Mavs and their exuberant owner, Mark Cuban, were nearly through those crossroads, seemingly finishing their quest and emerging on the other side with the acquisition of former Nike executive Nico Harrison to come on as the new president of basketball operations, sources told McMahon.
Kidd is certainly no stranger to the Mavericks organization. Dallas drafted the 21-year-old kid out of Cal with the second overall pick in the 1994 NBA draft, winning Co-Rookie of the Year alongside Grant Hill. Kidd earned his first All-Star nod in his second season with Dallas in 1996, but issues with the coaching staff led the team to trade him to the Phoenix Suns midway through the 1996-1997 season.
The San Francisco native would spend the next four years in Phoenix before moving onto the New Jersey Nets, where he played for 6+ seasons as part of some of the best Nets teams of all-time alongside Vince Carter, Kenyon Martin, and Richard Jefferson. During the 2007-2008 season, the point guard was shipped back to the Mavericks for his second stint with the club.
In the intervening decade or so, Kidd had emerged as a two-way superstar in the NBA and as arguably its best passer, leading the league in dimes five times during those years while also leading the Nets to back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in 2002 and 2003 and being named to eight All-Star teams, six All-NBA teams, and nine NBA All-Defensive teams.
Kidd would spend four more years in Dallas, the penultimate of which he served as a key player during the team’s improbable run to the 2010-2011 NBA championship—Dallas’ first and only title—alongside Dirk Nowitzki, defeating LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and the Miami Heat in six games as enormous underdogs.
Unfortunately, the Mavericks have not made it past the first round of the postseason since that championship triumph, and the sustained mediocrity is not really Cuban’s speed, which is likely a contributing factor to the big changes we saw at the top for the Mavericks over the past few weeks.
While he was no longer looking to play, Kidd’s love for the game did not wane a smidge after retiring as a player, taking a job as the Brooklyn Nets’ head coach the very next season, whom he led to the Conference semis.
Despite that success, Kidd ended up being traded to the Milwaukee Bucks during the ensuing offseason after he was unable to secure the higher level of control over the team that he craved. Kidd did not find much success in Wisconsin, losing his only two playoff series with them and getting the boot midway through his fourth campaign on the job.
After taking a year off, the 48-year-old returned to the sideline in 2019, this time as an assistant for the Los Angeles Lakers, with whom he won another ring in 2020. He continued with LeBron’s Lakers through this past season before finally getting another shot at the top job here with Dallas.
Kidd has enjoyed the support of his former teammate, Nowitzki, after the big German was brought on by Cuban to assist as a special advisor for the searches for their new top dogs. An unsolicited and extremely glowing recommendation from his predecessor, Carlisle (who held the job for 13 years), certainly couldn’t have hurt his chances either.
“My hope is that Jason Kidd will be the next coach of the Mavs because he and Luka have so many things in common as players,” Carlisle said. “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.”
Kidd has already entered into the early stages of putting together his coaching staff, sources told ESPN’s McMahon and Adrian Wojnarowski. A conversation has already taken place between Kidd and former Mavericks teammate JJ Barea about joining the staff, sources told McMahon. Barea is personable and maintains great relationships throughout the franchise, specifically with their franchise player, Luka Doncic.
Doncic also has a great relationship with the new president, Harrison, who had been instrumental in moving the Slovenian phenom from Nike to the Nike-owned subsidiary Jordan Brand in 2019. Harrison has previously been coveted by NBA teams, as most see his two decades with Nike nurturing relationships throughout the league as a big plus.
Mavericks vice president of basketball operations Michael Finley—a club legend who, funnily enough, joined the Mavs (where he would remain for a decade) in the trade that sent Kidd from Dallas to Phoenix way back in 1996—is likely to remain at his post and work in tandem with Harrison, sources told McMahon