- The Dallas Mavericks have officially announced the hiring of Jason Kidd as their new head coach.
- Dallas also announced the hiring of former Nike executive Nico Harrison as general manager.
- There are now three remaining NBA head coaching vacancies: Washington, New Orleans, and Orlando.
The Dallas Mavericks have officially announced the hiring of Jason Kidd as their next head coach. The news isn’t a surprise–throughout the weekend reports indicated that Kidd would be hired and that both sides were working out the details. In addition, Dallas has announced the hiring of former Nike executive Nico Harrison as general manager. Harrison is replacing longtime GM Donnie Nelson who resigned on June 16 in a move that set off the departure of previous head coach Rick Carlisle one day later.
Kidd played eight of his 19 NBA seasons in Dallas and was the floor leader of the Mavs’ only championship winning team in 2011. Kidd was as good as they come on the floor and is in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a player. His coaching career, on the other hand, is clearly a work in progress. He was the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets in 2013 and 2014 and took over the Milwaukee Bucks head coaching job in 2014. He served in that role until he was fired midway through the 2017-2018 season. He’s been an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers since July 31, 2019. His career record as a head coach is 183-190. The Mavericks will be expecting substantially better than that.
While Jason Kidd is a household name to any NBA fan the same can’t be said about new general manager Nico Harrison. Although Harrison is moving into his first NBA front office job he’s reportedly been approached for several other positions in recent years. Harrison has been Nike’s VP of North American Basketball Operations since May 2015 and began working with Nike in 2002. Much of the interest in hiring Harrison as the GM is the relationships he cultivated at Nike. He’s tight with players throughout the NBA including Mavs’ superstar Luka Doncic. He’ll have some help acclimating to his new position as Dallas will reportedly retain Michael Finley as VP of basketball operations.
For whatever reason, the Mavericks have struggled to land impact free agents in recent years. The hope is that Harrison will be able to change that. He’s already received love from Damian Lillard:
David Aldridge also chimed in with props for Harrison:
There has been plenty of speculation about what is going on in Dallas where the team has gone from having one of the most stable and long serving coaches and GM in the league to hiring two new ones in the span of a couple of weeks. Obviously, the success or failure of the hiring of Kidd and Harrison will be determined on the court but there could be some method to Mark Cuban’s madness. Mavs’ beat writer Kevin Sherrington’s column in the Dallas Morning News suggests that the new hires are intended to reflect the reality of how much power superstar players have in today’s NBA:
Just the same, Kidd’s hiring isn’t a throwback to when the Mavs were kings. It’s a nod to where the league is these days.
Players run the league more than ever, and the addition of Kidd and Nico Harrison in particular constitutes a shoutout to any and all superstars, both at home and abroad.
Start with the impact on Luka Doncic, who’s already a fan of the new coach. Rick Carlisle made an astute observation about the pair on his way out the door. Both are basketball savants. Luka is more talented, particularly as a scorer, but Kidd was just as entertaining because of how he imagined his way around a court. He could put the finishing touches on Luka’s ascendance. And Luka would listen because of his respect for Kidd’s Hall of Fame career, still fresh in the kid’s memory.
Besides Carlisle’s recommendation, Kidd also received a recent endorsement from Damian Lillard. In fact, if Lillard hadn’t pushed so hard, Kidd might be coaching Portland instead of Dallas.
Giannis Antetokounmpo liked Kidd so much, he offered to intercede on his behalf when the Bucks were about to kick Kidd to the curb.
He also dropped this zinger:
For all you critics who complain that Cuban can’t close the deal with free agents, the Mavs now boast the best recruiting staff outside Tuscaloosa.
That leaves only three vacant NBA head coaching jobs: Orlando, Washington and New Orleans. The Magic have elevated Penny Hardaway to their top candidate at the moment while the Wizards and Pelicans are still in ‘tire kicking mode’. Washington has requested permission to interview Mavericks’ assistant Jamahl Mosley who was once considered a favorite to get the head coaching gig in Dallas. Sam Cassell is also in the mix. New Orleans is looking closely at a couple of highly regarded assistants—Brooklyn assistant Jacque Vaughn and Milwaukee assistant Charles Lee.