The Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday hired Frank Vogel to be their next head coach and took the uncommon step of placing an assistant coach on his staff rather than letting him choose to build his own. That coach is Jason Kidd, and it’s someone Vogel needs to be leery of for a few reasons.
Jason Kidd has a history of power plays
Kidd, 46, has been a head coach for two NBA franchises since ending his playing career in 2013. There was one common factor at both of his stops: he created/was involved in power struggles.
Kidd was the Brooklyn Nets head coach for one season (2013-2014) before the Milwaukee Bucks traded for him. He made two unsavory moves that led to his trade to Milwaukee. One was trying to get more power over Nets personnel and a higher title than GM Billy King. The Nets did not relent and instead let Kidd arrange his job in Milwaukee. The other was making a play for the Bucks job even though it was held by Larry Drew, leaving Drew blindsided. Coaches often refuse to interview for a job while it’s occupied out of courtesy to the current coach.
Kidd only needed two seasons with Milwaukee to get into a power struggle with ownership over personnel control.
As a player, Kidd also infamously played a big role in getting Byron Scott fired as Nets head coach despite consecutive NBA Finals appearances. The man who replaced Scott, Lawrence Frank, is someone Kidd treated poorly later when he was a head coach.
The LeBron James factor
Deserved or not, LeBron James has developed a reputation as a coach killer. If he is not happy with you as head coach, your chances of survival are not good. That’s a big reason Luke Walton got fired despite having the support of owner Jeanie Buss. That’s also a big reason why David Blatt was replaced by Ty Lue midseason in 2016.
James does not have much of a connection to Vogel, but he played with Kidd on USA Basketball and may have more respect for the former point guard due to his Hall of Fame playing career. If he does not like the way things go with Vogel, he could easily lobby for Kidd to be the replacement. And as we have seen, Kidd has no problem lobbying for a head coaching job even while it’s already occupied.
Vogel is taking a chance by agreeing to become the head coach of the Lakers. It’s a high-pressure job with sky-high expectations. As soon as things don’t go so well, there will be talk about Kidd taking over.
At least he can’t say he wasn’t warned.