NBA legend Jason Kidd is out of a job. The Milwaukee Bucks recently gave Kidd the pink slip thus becoming the third head coach to be fired in the ongoing NBA season. Kidd joins Earl Watson and David Fizdale, formerly of the Phoenix Suns and Memphis Grizzlies, respectively, as the head coaching casualties for this season so far.
The breaking news was first reported by popular NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski via Twitter. According to Wojnarowski in another tweet, the Bucks severed ties with Kidd “based upon dropping into the 8th seed in the East.” He also said that league sources cited “frayed relationships in organization and general no-alignment” as reasons why Milwaukee let go of Kidd.
Bucks team president Peter Feigin and general manager Jon Horst broke the news to Kidd. The two apparently met Kidd in a pizza restaurant to officially inform him of his firing.
“We appreciate everything that Jason has done for the Buck organization, but we have decided to make a coaching change,” Horst said. “We believe that a fresh approach and a change in leadership are needed to continue elevating our talented team towards the next level, bringing us closer tour goal of competing for championships.”
The statement from Horst also credited Kidd with turning the franchise around in his first season as head coach of the Bucks and for taking the team to the playoffs on two occasions. Horst also said that the team appreciates all the contributions Kidd has made for them, including his efforts to “keep the Bucks in Milwaukee.”
Horst also told Milwaukee fans that the firing of Kidd was a decision made with the “unanimous support of ownership.”
Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo learned about the impending firing of Kidd and called his coach to offer his help and support, ESPN reported. The Greek Freak called 15 minutes before Kidd was officially fired by the team. Antetokounmpo apparently told Kidd that he was willing to talk to the owners to let him keep his job.
“He called me and said, ‘Coach, this isn’t right what they’re about to do, but [they] are gonna let you go,'” Kidd told ESPN‘s Ramona Shelbourne.
Kidd told Antetokounmpo that he “had a feeling that was gonna take place.”
“What can I do? I’ll call the owners, I’ll call my agent,” Antetokounmpo apparently told Kidd.
After telling Antetokounmpo that there was nothing he could do but “tell the truth,” Kidd thanked his former player for his loyalty. Kidd also said that he was grateful for the opportunity to have coached Antetokounmpo and helped him “become the player he is today.”
“And I know when our paths cross again, he’ll be much better.”
Assistant coach Joe Prunty will take over the reigns temporarily for the Bucks, according to AOL. Prunty will have his baptism of fire on Monday when the Bucks face the Phoenix Suns, another team that released their head coach early.
Kidd spent the last four years of his coaching career in Milwaukee. Prior to that, he was named head coach of the Brooklyn Nets after an illustrious NBA career highlighted by the 2011 championship.