Much was (rightfully) made of the the Los Angeles Lakers letting Jason Kidd be one of the reasons they stopped pursuing Tyronn Lue and instead hired Frank Vogel as the team’s head coach. Vogel was open to Kidd having a spot on his coaching staff and now gets to (heavy air quotes here) “make decisions,” like potentially starting Rajon Rondo at point guard.
At Lakers Media Day last week, general manager Rob Pelinka was first asked why Kidd was such a priority for the Lakers. According to him, they wanted an experienced staff filled with former head coaches. Kidd’s experience is a little questionable, but he at least checks that box.
Where Pelinka’s explanation for Kidd being made the highest-paid assistant coach in the NBA makes more sense is the art where he brought up LeBron James.
“Jason in particular, we just liked what he stood for in terms of his ability to understand and see the game,” Pelinka said. “When you have guys on your team like LeBron and Rondo and players of that ilk, having guys that can relate to their level of talent was really key and important for us, and a big ingredient that we’re grateful for on the overall staff.”
It sounds like Vogel is just as grateful for Kidd’s addition.
“In terms of how it’s begun with Jason and I, I would rate it at 10 out of 10. I think we’re off to a great start with our chemistry with one another. His intent to come in here and play any role that is needed should be commended,” Vogel said.
Vogel then offered up some of what he and Kidd talked about during the interview process.
“I love the fact that when I interviewed him, the discussion was along the lines of he felt like when he went from being a player to a head coach, he skipped steps in terms of learning what the process is like being an assistant coach and the work that goes in and learning what the foundation is to coaching at this level,” Vogel said said.
This is very interesting and enlightening, no matter how one feels about Kidd. He did skip steps. He was ready to skip right on into the front office at one point, too, but wasn’t nearly good enough as a coach to warrant that kind of upward mobility and was stopped. Shouts to Kurt Rambis for figuring out that grift.
If Kidd really is serious about learning the intricacies of coaching beyond “hey, I was really good once upon a time at a very different aspect of basketball,” then he and the Lakers both stand to gain something from this working relationship.
Still, the fact remains that Kidd has stabbed coaches in the back on his way to landing previous head coaching gigs. That reputation isn’t going to be shaken by everyone saying the right things so far.
And if what he told Vogel during that interview process was just BS, and he’s still getting his dominoes lined up for a(nother) eventual coup, then, well, Lakers fans have to hope that by that point he’ll have learned a thing or two since being the only coach in NBA history to slow down Giannis Antetokounmpo.