BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Jason Kidd had a seat in the coaching box and a jersey in the rafters.
He wanted more. And now his celebrated return to the Nets has turned into yet another ugly exit.
Kidd is set to become Milwaukee’s coach after Brooklyn agreed to a deal Monday with the Bucks, who paved the way for Kidd’s arrival by firing coach Larry Drew.
The Nets will receive second-round draft picks in 2015 and 2019. They said a search for a new coach would begin immediately.
Kidd went 44-38 in his only season as Nets coach, but then sought control of the basketball operations department and was denied. The Nets gave him permission to talk to other teams about a job.
It was a stunningly quick ending to Kidd’s reunion with the franchise he twice led to the NBA Finals as a player. The Nets hired him last June as coach just weeks after he retired as a player and retired his No. 5 before a preseason game in October. Also, he bought a small portion of the team.
There was no reason to believe he wouldn’t be back Thursday when he appeared at a press conference where the Nets announced plans for their new practice facility.
But things rarely ended cleanly for Kidd throughout his Hall of Fame-worthy career, and that remains the case as a coach. He was traded from Dallas, his first pro team, when he feuded with teammates. He was shipped out of Phoenix after an arrest for a domestic dispute.
And though he led the Nets to the 2002 and ’03 NBA Finals and remained a franchise icon, he soured on the team during the 2007-08 season, and the franchise dealt him back to Dallas.
But as much as the current ownership may have liked him, it wasn’t interested in positioning Kidd above general manager Billy King and giving him the power he sought. King is scheduled to address the media on Tuesday.
Drew went 15-67 in his only season in Milwaukee, but there had been no indication he wouldn’t be back before the Kidd situation emerged.
“Despite the challenging season, Larry always handled himself and represented the Bucks in a first-class manner,” Bucks general manager John Hammond said in a statement. “Larry did the best he could in a difficult situation, especially given all of our injuries. I want to thank Larry for all of his efforts, and we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”
Milwaukee had the NBA’s worst record last season and is under new co-owners in Marc Lasry and Wes Edens. Lasry and Kidd are friends.
The Nets could choose from a number of quality coaches who are available, including Lionel Hollins, George Karl and Mark Jackson.
They bypassed experience when they chose Kidd last summer, and the results were ugly early. Kidd removed Lawrence Frank from the bench after lobbying for the Nets to hire his former coach as his lead assistant, and then was fined $50,000 by the NBA after intentionally spilling a drink on the court to delay a game.
The Nets started 10-21 with a high-priced, high-expectations team, though regrouped to reach the second round of the playoffs. Kidd won two Eastern Conference coach of the month honors for engineering a turnaround with a small-ball lineup after center Brook Lopez was lost to a broken foot.
He departs Brooklyn now with free agency opening Tuesday and key Nets Paul Pierce and Shaun Livingston set to hit the market.
Lasry and Edens had said in announcing the purchase of the team in April that they would evaluate the organization. Lasry spoke to a meeting of Milwaukee-area journalists and business leaders on June 23, before the draft, and afterward told The Associated Press that they were still in the evaluation process.
But the new ownership group had given no indication that Drew or Hammond might be in trouble after the franchise’s worst season in former U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl’s last year as team owner. Hammond spearheaded the NBA draft evaluation process that landed Milwaukee a potential superstar in Duke forward Jabari Parker with the second overall pick.
AP Sports Writer Genaro Armas in Milwaukee contributed to this report.
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