If there is one thing we’ve learned from the time Jason Kidd has spent as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers, it’s that while he’s learned not to attempt coups anymore — so Frank Vogel can breathe a sigh of relief — Kidd would still really like another head coaching job, even if he has to go elsewhere to get it.
Over the last year, Kidd has been the runner-up for the New York Knicks head coaching job that ultimately went to Tom Thibodeau, received interest from the New Orleans Pelicans and the Brooklyn Nets, and has even been linked to the open college head coaching job at UNLV. It turns out that even if you’re the highest-paid assistant coach in the NBA, there is nothing quite like the top job.
Now there is another one to add to the list, as according to a report from Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic, Kidd is among the candidates the Portland Trail Blazers would look at if they move on from head coach Terry Stotts this offseason:
Among the potential coaching candidates for the Trail Blazers, sources say: Lakers assistant Jason Kidd, Hawks interim coach Nate McMillan, 76ers assistant Dave Joerger, Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups and Spurs vice president of basketball operations Brent Barry.
That’s a crowded field, but one thing that stands out within it is that aside from Joerger, all those guys are former NBA players, so it appears that the Blazers may have a type. And when written in conjunction with Amick and Charania’s report that Stotts “has less player support now than he did in years past,” it’s not hard to read between the lines and guess that the locker room may prefer the voice of someone who played the game.
And if that actually is a necessary qualification here, Kidd certainly fits the bill. One of the best point guards in NBA history who has been praised by plenty of Lakers players for his ability to connect with the locker room over the past year-plus, Kidd also has a connection to Lillard, as the two of them are arguably the two best point guards to ever come out of Oakland (Gary Payton would surely disagree with this argument).
As for Kidd, he knows who his vote would be.
“It’s a great question, a great debate, but I would vote for Lillard,” Kidd told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2019.
Kidd and Lillard also seem to have struck up a friendly enough bond over their mutual roots:
Does any of that mean Kidd is a shoe-in for the Blazers job? No. After all, they haven’t even fired their coach yet. But it is all a reminder that for as valued as Vogel and Rob Pelinka have said that Kidd is to what the Lakers do, he is not going to be an assistant in L.A. forever.
So whether it’s the Blazers or another opening, Kidd is looking for another chance at the big chair. And judging by how many jobs he’s been connected to in leaks already, his agent is going to be sure to let us know about all of them.