The New Orleans Pelicans have officially fired head coach Alvin Gentry, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Andrew Lopez of ESPN. Last week, there were reports that Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd (as well as former almost-Lakers head coach Tyronn Lue) were expected to be candidates for that job if it opened up.
Now that it is vacant, the Pelicans are expected to look hard at both of them. And they aren’t the only team interested, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times:
Clippers assistant coach Ty Lue and Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd are expected to be prime candidates for the Pelicans' coaching vacancy, league sources say, with Lue and Kidd also both on the Nets' list of prospective candidates when Brooklyn's search starts in earnest soon— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) August 15, 2020
Kidd is reportedly “eager” to be a head coach again after most of his first season with the Lakers, and his reps are definitely working overtime to get his name out there, as he’s already been linked to the Nets job at least twice prior to this and was additionally reported as “a frontrunner” for the New York Knicks head coaching gig (and got an interview) before they ultimately hired Tom Thibodeau.
Kidd’s resume and the potential impact this would have on the Lakers haven’t changed much since that latter report, and here is what I wrote at the time:
Kidd has been a valued member of the Lakers coaching staff this season, serving as a trusted and respected voice to players and building a great rapport with Vogel. There have been no rumors that he’s trying to take Vogel’s job after Kidd attempted coups at both of his last stops, and Kidd has refused all media interviews unless they are to talk about one of his players or Vogel. He has done all the right things so far during this stop in L.A.
Is that enough — in conjunction with his connection to a certain Greek, 2021 free agent — to get him a gig with the Knicks? It seems like it just might be. The impact this will have on the Lakers this season either way will likely be minimal — even if hired, most assistant coaches finish out their current playoff run with their team — but moving forward would leave a top assistant spot open on the Lakers’ bench, making this situation very much worth keeping an eye on as it progresses.
In terms of this news, potentially relevant is that Kidd has ties to both the Nets and the Pelicans. Kyrie Irving — who grew up rooting for Kidd with the Nets — has talked about looking up to Kidd, and called him “a tremendous leader” in the past.
In the case of New Orleans, Kidd — who former Lakers and current Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball was compared to at times during the draft — already has a relationship with Ball, even if it’s not an extensive one. That was reportedly part of the reason the Lakers wanted Kidd on their staff originally, and it’s possible that could be a selling point to the Pelicans as well.
But regardless of where he goes, with Kidd now being linked to the Nets and Pelicans again, it really is starting to seem like a matter of when, not if, he leaves the Lakers. We’ll see where he ultimately heads, but it is seeming more and more likely that Frank Vogel will have at least one open spot on his bench to fill this summer.