Now that Jason Kidd is officially heading to Dallas to be the new head coach of the Mavericks, the Lakers will have at least one assistant coach to replace on their bench by the start of next season.
The reason I say “at least” one is that according to Kyle Goon of the O.C. Register, it is at least a possibility that Kidd could ask some of his soon-to-be-former co-workers on the Lakers’ bench to join him with the Mavs:
Cultivating a coaching staff takes time, but multiple sources who spoke to Southern California News Group on Friday said it is possible that Kidd could ask current Lakers staffers to join him in Texas to coach a team built around budding superstar Luka Doncic.
Now, before you panic, Goon did add that “it’s still uncertain as of Friday who Kidd would ask, or if anyone would be willing to leave Los Angeles to join him,” so as of right now, this is mostly just speculation, albeit speculation of the informed variety, coming from within the team.
But Kidd asking some members of the Lakers’ staff to leave with him is something that has always seemed like a very real possibility, to the point that I speculated about it in our first post on him leaving. Assistants who get hired elsewhere often bring at least one colleague or two with them, promising a larger role or better opportunity at their new destination.
As of right now, the remaining Lakers staff includes Lionel Hollins, Phil Handy, Miles Simon, Mike Penberthy, Quinton Crawford, Greg St. Jean, Dru Anthrop and Jon Pastorek. Handy and Hollins are obviously the two most well-known names there, although because they are already front-of-the-bench assistants in Los Angeles, it’s unknown what Kidd could offer them in terms of larger opportunity, unless it was a significant raise or lead assistant title (the latter of which the Lakers have not doled out under Vogel thus far). Or, if the Lakers don’t extend Vogel soon, the Mavericks may be able to offer more job security to any departing L.A. assistants.
Given his status as a voice to the stars and player development legend, Handy is the one the most Lakers fans have expressed consternation about leaving, but there are reasons to be confident he will remain in Los Angeles. For one thing, he already rejected a job with the Nets last summer after his former Lakers player (and current Nets head coach) Steve Nash pursued him hard, and that’s despite Handy being incredibly close with Nets star Kyrie Irving. He doesn’t have any ties that tight in Dallas that we know of, and he said during his recent appearance on the “All the Smoke” podcast that a big part of the reason he came to Los Angeles in the first place is that he has a young son growing up in the area. The point is, it may be more than just the Lakers tying Handy to L.A.
As for the rest of the staff — and really, Handy — we don’t know for sure what Kidd could offer them that would lure them to the Mavericks, or if he even wants to do so. At least part of his coaching staff, according to early reports, will likely consist of his former Mavericks teammates:
As Jason Kidd begins to assemble his coaching staff, with his formal hiring as Mavericks head coach apparently imminent, 2011 title-team teammates JJ Barea and Jason Terry certainly appear to be strong candidates to rejoin the organization.— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) June 25, 2021
“I hope,” Barea says.
But a brain-drain post-title is usually inevitable, and the Lakers were lucky to not sustain one after their 2020 championship, in part due to how short their offseason was. If they lose a coach or two this summer, that’s just part of the cost of doing business and having success in the NBA. They hired a pretty solid staff the first time they got a chance to under the Vogel/Pelinka/Rambis regime, and fans will just have to hope they can again when it comes time to officially replace Kidd... and anyone he brings with him.
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