After nearly two years of rumors connecting him to nearly every open job in the league — rumors that began shortly after he was hired — Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd has finally found his third head coaching job, with the Dallas Mavericks bringing him in to replace Rick Carlisle.
But two-plus years is still a long time to spend with a team, long enough to form new relationships or strengthen existing ones, especially for a group that won a championship together and spent months in isolation alongside one another in the NBA bubble. And so it should be no surprise that even if the Lakers are wishing Kidd well in his next opportunity, they’ve also made it clear in their public comments so far that his presence will be missed on the bench.
LeBron James shared his thoughts on Twitter shortly after the news that Kidd had finalized a four-year deal to coach the Mavericks.
Damn I hate to lose JKidd man but damn I’m happy for him at the same time! Good luck Kidd!— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 25, 2021
That James — who joined the 2008 U.S. Olympic team in part as a chance to learn from Kidd, and who reportedly saw Kidd as “the only person alive who sees the game of basketball with his level of clarity” — will miss Kidd isn’t exactly a shock, and while whoever the team brings in is unlikely to be quite as close with the Lakers’ biggest star as Kidd was, finding someone to fill his role as a voice James trusts will be paramount, whether that person comes from inside or outside the organization.
James also wasn’t the only Laker to wish Kidd well. Head coach Frank Vogel also released a statement to Dave McMenamin of ESPN about the man he called “one of my closest friends” at the team’s exit interviews.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel, to ESPN, on Jason Kidd becoming the Mavs head coach: “Jason has been a big part of the culture we have built over the last two years and he will be missed. But, I am thrilled for him to get the opportunity to be a head coach again! It’s well deserved!”— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) June 25, 2021
Once Kidd’s hiring is officially announced, expect more congratulations from various members of the organization, and for their search for his replacement to truly begin in earnest.