NBA

The Latest Theory on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Future Boggles the Mind

Nearly a dozen names have surfaced this month as potential head coaches for the New York Knicks. It took until Monday for Jason Kidd’s name to rate a mention, but it looks suspiciously like James Dolan’s interest stems from the remote possibility that Kidd could help the Knicks land Giannis Antetokounmpo.

If Kidd can pull off that miracle, then he should skip coaching the NBA’s laughingstock franchise altogether and proceed directly to simpler work, like taking the reins as mayor of New York.

Two more New York Knicks candidates

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The New York Knicks fired David Fizdale 22 games this season and replaced him with interim coach Mike Miller, who posted a 17-27 record. Miller is a longshot to be given another shot, though it’s been suggested he does have support within the organization to remain in some capacity.

Now that the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer shutting down all aspects of the NBA, which hopes to resume soon at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, the Knicks have been approaching potential coaching candidates. The two new additions to a list that’s moved from thorough to unwieldy are Mike Brown and Jason Kidd.

Brown, now an associate head coach with the Golden State Warriors, comes from the Gregg Popovich coaching tree. He earned his first shot as a head coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2005. He posted five straight winning seasons and took the Cavs to the NBA finals in his second season. Including a little more than one season with the Los Angeles Lakers and one more year with Cleveland, he is 347-216 as a head coach.

Jason Kidd makes the list of candidates

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The New York Times reported that the Knicks have received permission to talk to Los Angeles Lakers assistant Jason Kidd, who helped New York to the Eastern Conference semifinals as a guard in 2013 – their last playoff appearance.

Kidd, 47, is a Hall of Fame inductee as a player and has some experience as a head coach. He ran the bench for the Brooklyn Nets for one season and then the Milwaukee Bucks for 3 ½ seasons. This is his first season as a Lakers assistant.

Kidd’s results as a head coach were mixed at best. He was 183-190 in the regular season and 9-15 in the playoffs, but he’s also been credited with speeding the development of Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo.

And that appears to be the inspiration for the Knicks’ decision to add Kidd to the list of coaching candidates.

Giannis Antetokounmpo can’t possibly join the Knicks, right?

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has his doubters, but he’ll be a coveted free agent in 2021 if he doesn’t sign a contract extension this offseason. By potentially bringing Jason Kidd into the fold as their head coach, the Knicks could be banking on the relationship he developed with Antetokounmpo during their time together in Milwaukee.

There are problems with that school of thought:

  • Antetokounmpo hasn’t made noise about wanting to leave the Bucks. While it’s true Milwaukee is one or possibly two players short of being a legitimate title contender, the Knicks as currently constructed are in far worse shape. They badly miscalculated on the 2019 crop of free agents and came up empty in their pursuit of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
  • Can anyone be sure Kidd has the chops to coach the Knicks into contention? Jumping directly into head coaching after his playing days were over may not have been the past career-development path.
  • Is it possible for any coach to win there as long as James Dolan owns the Knicks? They’ve gone through any number of combinations of personnel on the bench and in the front office since the last playoff appearance and consistently failed. The one constant? Dolan.