Last offseason, the Lakers didn’t suffer the brain drain that often happens to teams that just won the championship. Phil Handy rebuffed interest from the Brooklyn Nets to stay on Frank Vogel’s coaching staff, and Jason Kidd didn’t get the head coaching jobs he interviewed for with the Nets, New York Knicks or New Orleans Pelicans.
But in the case of the latter, it wasn’t for lack of trying. All the rumors that have swirled around Kidd’s candidacy for multiple head coaching jobs since the Lakers made him the highest-paid assistant coach in the NBA have made one thing clear: He’d like to be a head coach again.
Kidd confirmed as much on the record to Marc Spears of The Undefeated in a recent interview:
How close do you think you are to getting another opportunity?
I hope I’m close. I would love to have another opportunity at it. Being here with Frank, understanding his strengths and watching him and how he handles different situations, is a big key that I’ve learned. Patience, communication is really key to understanding where everybody stands. Not just your top players, but the end of the bench.
How much would it mean for you to become a head coach again?
It would be great because I really believe I can help certain players who want to be stars. I’ve sat in every seat as a player. I’ve been an All-Star. I’ve been an MVP candidate. As I got older, I played off the bench. And I played at the end of my career, at the end of the bench when I had no gas left in the tank. When I told Woody [former New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson], ‘I can’t help you as much on the floor, but I can help you at the end of the bench.’ So my experience is not just helping the stars, but the role players, too. And so I really believe I can do that with an organization.
As alluded to above, this answer isn’t really surprising considering the number of openings
Kidd’s agent has made sure he’s publicly linked to Kidd has been linked to over the nearly two calendar years since he was hired as an assistant coach with the Lakers. And with the Lakers planning to offer Vogel a contract extension this summer, the shot Kidd is seeking is unlikely to come for him in Los Angeles.
So while these Lakers have had remarkable continuity on their coaching staff since Vogel was hired, if they have any sustained success again this season — and especially if they win another championship — their staff is likely to actually get raided this time, especially with a full, real offseason for teams to interview and pursue coaches. Some teams won’t even wait that long, with Kidd already being linked as someone the Portland Trail Blazers have their eye on as a potential Terry Stotts replacement if their playoff run is disappointing.
We won’t know how real any of this is or how much it will fully effect the team until seeing how the summer plays out, but it is something to keep an eye on over the months to come, whenever the Lakers’ season ends.