Jason Kidd and the Politics of Basketball
Does Jason Kidd have Machiavellian intentions?
According to 16th century Italian philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli, a person deemed to favour expediency over morality exhibits qualities of a Machiavellian character. In other words, it is to favour convenience over the impractical, while ignoring what is right by others. Often, a Machiavellian character’s sole purpose in life is the procurement of power.
After one mediocre season as a first-time coach in Brooklyn with no previous playing experience, Jason Kidd took offence to the contracts offered to both Derek Fisher and Steve Kerr by the New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors respectively. While both have now joined the coaching ranks in the same fashion as Kidd, they are both being paid more than Kidd; something Kidd has not responded well too.
The decision by the Clippers to grant Doc Rivers more control over the personnel of the Los Angeles Clippers has further fuelled Kidd’s desire for increased power within the Nets organisation. According to the ownership of the Nets, Kidd was left unsatisfied by the lack of moves by General Manager Billy King for players that he would find useful in his system.
Nets had been working w/ Kidd on roster changes he wanted – thru free agency, trades, sources tell Yahoo. He didn’t want voice, but power.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 29, 2014
Combined with the aforementioned reasons for Kidd’s apparent falling out, Kidd’s lack of input and final say towards the decisions made by the front office in trades contributed to his quench for power. Last season, Kidd advocated a trade to bring Larry Sanders and Ersan Ilyasova to Brooklyn in exchange for Brook Lopez and Mirza Teletovic. A move that was promptly rejected by the higher levels of the Brooklyn hierarchy. Kidd was once again left dissatisfied when Billy King traded for Marcus Thornton, instead of Jarrett Jack, a player who he thought would fit better in his system. It really was a rude awakening to the strenuous job that coaching is for the fresh face of Jason Kidd. For someone to earn the power that Gregg Popovich or Phil Jackson has, it takes time. Kidd’s way of favouring expediency resulted in impatience – he wanted things that he was neither qualified for, nor deserving of, after a tumultuous season with the Brooklyn Nets.
When a politician doesn’t get something that they desire, what do they do? They whinge, and whinge, and whinge. Until they get what they want or something similar to satisfy their need for power. And when another party shows interest in the skills you have and offers what you seek for, it’s clear indication that it is time to leave. This is exactly the case with Jason Kidd. Seen as once having indestructible ties with the Brooklyn Nets as a former all-time great of the franchise, his hunger for power has consequently severed all such ties.
With former financial adviser and now Milwaukee Bucks owner Marc Lasry offering Kidd what he wants, the former Nets point guard is undoubtedly a political genius for getting his way. Jason Kidd’s power play to run the Brooklyn Nets was nothing short of downright silly. The Nets stood by him after a 10-21 start to the season, they stood behind him when questions were raised by the media about his ability to coach and suitability for the role. They stood behind him when he spilt his cup of soda all over the court to gain more time in the game, which is now known as the infamous “sodagate” scandal – something that Kidd will have to live with for his entire coaching career due to the downright ludicrous nature of such an act. Confirming the rumours that Kidd’s dismissal was impending when he failed to deliver but did not eventuate, the ever-reliable Adrian Wojnarowski reports:
Within management, there was strong consideration given to firing Kidd near the end of December, league sources said. Some Nets officials wanted to bring Hollins into Brooklyn as head coach, but ultimately ownership decided to stay the course with Kidd, sources said. For Kidd’s part in the power play, there’s a sense of betrayal within ownership that’ll make his return beyond difficult, bordering on the impossible, sources said.”
Even after the undeserving respect was shown to Kidd, a coach who had been suspended for the first two games of the last NBA season due to a DUI, he didn’t rule out a political approach to securing a job further up the hierarchy. After his ambitions was denied by the higher management of the Brookly Nets organisation, Kidd now joins Milwaukee co-owner and close friend Marc Lasry. It is such a close relationship between Lasry and Kidd which resulted in neither Milwaukee GM John Hammond nor Milwaukee coach Larry Drew knowing that their jobs may soon no longer be theirs. As previously mentioned, if Kidd had any inkling of self-respect, he’d apply for the job that keeps his reputation intact and displays his morality. He’d make sure Hammond or Drew knew, or even better, he’d only interview if the job was actually available. Like any good politician, it’s not about doing things right with Kidd and Lasry. It is about doing it quickly, efficiently and effectively.
Bucks send Nets 2 second-round picks for Head Coach Jason Kidd. First NBA trade ever consummated with the words,”Keep the change.”
— David Deckard (@DaveDeckard) June 30, 2014
Brooklyn should be counting their blessings that a basketball politician like Jason Kidd as left their organisation, sparing them of any further drama. They may have to hire their 6th coach in 5 years, but it’s for the best. With the ageing group of players that form the Nets team, they need to win now and keeping Kidd is not the way to go.
Instead of working with the Brooklyn All-Star core, Kidd will now enjoy attempting to resurrect the career of OJ Mayo.
Don’t let the door hit you on your way out. Maybe you should have moved to Washington instead.
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