ANDREW WAGNER, Associated Press
MILWAUKEE (AP) — New Bucks owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens admit they may have made some errors in luring Jason Kidd to Milwaukee.
That doesn’t mean they aren’t happy to have him as Milwaukee’s coach.
“Our one goal is to hire people to run it, that know what they’re doing,” Edens said. “Jason is someone I’ve admired as a player. He did a great job managing the Nets this year and we think he’s the best young coaching talent in basketball.”
Kidd, who was formally introduced Wednesday at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, said there were no hard feelings over his abrupt and surprising departure from Brooklyn, where he won 44 games and reached the second round of the playoffs in his first season as a coach.
Kidd dismissed the suggestion that he left after being turned down in seeking control of the Nets’ basketball operations department. And he said he had no plans to seek a similar role in Milwaukee, where general manager John Hammond is under contract through the 2015-16 season.
“They are not true,” Kidd said. “It’s not about power. You guys ran with that. It’s not about power. As I was introduced, I’m the coach.”
Brooklyn agreed Monday to deal Kidd to Milwaukee for second-round draft picks in 2015 and 2019. The Bucks fired Larry Drew, who had no indication he wouldn’t be back for a second season. The whole affair was messy and played out in the media for days before the deal was announced, overshadowing the positive buzz surrounding the Bucks’ selection of Duke star Jabari Parker with the No. 2 overall pick.
Lasry said it was wrong to not bring Hammond into the loop earlier in the process, which began last week when the owners sought permission from the Nets to speak with Kidd. Lasry and Kidd are friends.
“We were asked to keep it confidential,” Lasry said. “In retrospect, that was a mistake. I would tell you that it was very much newness. We’ve learned a lot in this process. Our view, and it hasn’t changed from the beginning, is that all the basketball operations goes through John. In this process, we learned we made a mistake.”
Lasry and Edens said once the initial discussion took place and news leaked out, Hammond took over the negotiation with Nets GM Billy King.
If Hammond felt threatened by Kidd’s presence, he wasn’t showing it.
“The last four days have been have been great for this organization,” Hammond said. “I’ve never felt the kind of excitement that’s surrounding our team — people are talking about the Bucks and want to know what’s going on with our team — and that’s a great thing.”
Kidd spoke confidently about Hammond, who spent seven seasons as an assistant to Pistons’ GM Joe Dumars before joining the Bucks in April 2008.
“He is great. He’s a leader,” Kidd said. “He understands the league. He’s been doing it for a long time. I trust him like no other.”
Kidd didn’t offer much explanation of his reasoning for taking the job in Milwaukee, where he inherits a team that finished a league-worst 15-67 but adds Parker to a group that includes 19-year-old Greek forward Giannis Antetokounpo, forward John Henson and center Larry Sanders.
He downplayed questions about moving from the NBA’s largest market to its smallest.
“I’ve played in big markets and I’ve played in small markets,” Kidd said. “It’s not about the market, it’s about being able to teach and I have a great opportunity here in Milwaukee to be part of a young, talented roster.”
Edens and Lasry, both New York investment firm executives, recently purchased the team from former U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl for about $550 million after they pledged to keep the club in Milwaukee. Lasry and Edens have committed to providing $100 million to help build a new arena. Kohl also announced he would donate $100 million for a facility to replace the team’s downtown arena that opened in 1988.
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