The Milwaukee Bucks fired Jason Kidd on Monday in a move that wasn’t exactly stunning.
“I’m a little surprised by the timing, but not surprised that the firing took place,” longtime Wisconsin sports talk host Bill Michaels said on Ferrall on the Bench. “This was a team that couldn’t figure out how to handle success. They’d come out and beat Cleveland (and then) look bad against Orlando. They’d go toe-to-toe with Golden State, and they’d turn around the next day and they’d lose to a team they had no business losing to. They had no consistency.”
Kidd went 139-152 in three-plus seasons in Milwaukee and twice led the Bucks to the playoffs. But after a 15-10 start this season, the Bucks lost 12 of their next 20 games.
The change was made.
“Jason Kidd, he kept saying all season long, ‘Well, they’re young,’” Michaels said. “Well, you’ve got guys that, yeah, they’re 23 and 24, but they’re in the league four years now. When are they not young anymore? When can you stop using that as an excuse? And by the way, if you look at the average age of the team, they’re about 15th in the league. It’s not like they don’t have experienced players. You can’t keep saying they’re young. They’re immature absolutely, but you can’t say they’re young. When you’ve got a team that’s immature and can’t figure out how to play all four quarters, after a while you have to look at the head coach and say, ‘What are you doing to get these guys to play four full quarters of basketball? That falls on you.’”
Kidd, in fact, was being booed on a nightly basis in Milwaukee. Still, Giannis Antetokounmpo reportedly called Kidd before he was fired to ask what he could do to save his job.
Nothing, Kidd said.
“Giannis owes a lot to Jason Kidd,” Michaels said. “He wanted to play for Kidd, he feels that Kidd worked with him, honed his skills, got him to where he is – he feels a sense of loyalty. (He’s a) very loyal kid to the city (and) very loyal kid to the head coach.”
Not everyone, however, felt the same way.
“On the other hand, you got a guy like Jabari Parker who’s working his butt off to come back, second ACL tear – Jabari Parker says, ‘Kidd doesn’t even talk to me. He doesn’t even talk to me or look at me when I’m in the facility,’” Michaels said. “That relationship is completely broken, and he’s supposed to be one of the cornerstones when he comes back. So you can’t have a team with a bad schism and feel that you’re going to be a good head coach and get productivity out of these guys when other guys feel the tension between these two players and their head coach.”
The Bucks, who named Joe Prunty interim head coach, have yet to hire Kidd’s successor. Milwaukee (24-22) hosts Brooklyn (18-29) this Friday at 8 p.m. ET.