Jason Kidd Returning to Nets as Head Coach

Josh Newman, Field Reporter

Future Hall of Fame point guard Jason Kidd, arguably the best player in the Nets’ NBA history, will return to the team as its head coach just nine days after he retired following 19 seasons.

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Kidd’s deal is for three years, while Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported that there may be a fourth-year team option in play.

An introductory press conference is set for 2 p.m. at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Kidd’s hiring caps a six-week search for a head coach that began when Nets General Manager Billy King announced that interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo would not be retained. Carlesimo went 35-19 on an interim basis once Avery Johnson was fired on Dec. 27 after 176 games.

Kidd had emerged as the frontrunner following a very positive Monday meeting with King in which Kidd convinced him he was the right man for the job despite no coaching experience whatsoever.

“On behalf of the Nets organization, I am very pleased to welcome Jason Kidd as the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets,” King said in a statement released by the team.  “Jason is a proven winner and leader with an incredible wealth of basketball knowledge and experience. This will be a natural transition for him to move into the role of head coach, as he embodies the tough, smart and team-first mentality that we are trying to establish in Brooklyn.”

Indiana Pacers assistant coach Brian Shaw was thought to be the favorite for the position as late as last weekend. Late Sunday evening, multiple outlets reported that Kidd had emerged as a legitimate candidate, but Shaw was still thought to be the favorite at the time with a meeting set for Wednesday.

Even as Kidd emerged as the frontrunner earlier this week, the King-Shaw meeting on Wednesday at 11 a.m. took place after Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov flew Shaw in from Los Angeles on a private jet. Shaw had been in LA interviewing for the Clippers job.

A source told SNY.tv that the nearly five-hour meeting ‘went well,’ but by the time the meeting was over, the wheels were already in motion to hire Kidd, who fits the high-profile hire Prokhorov desired from the very outset.

“Jason Kidd has a long and legendary history with the Nets and with the city of New York,” Prokhorov said.  “He has the fire in the belly we need, and has achieved as a player everything the Brooklyn Nets are striving to achieve.  We believe he will lead us there.  Welcome home, Jason.”

This search began with King getting turned down by Phil Jackson and having Boston Celtics President Danny Ainge deny permission to speak with head coach Doc Rivers.

The first time Kidd was a part of the Nets, he instantly transformed a wayward franchise into a contender. He was traded along with Chris Dudley from the Phoenix Suns to New Jersey in exchange for Stephon Marbury, Johnny Newman and Soumalia Samake following the 2000-01 season.

Kidd led the Nets to their only two NBA Finals appearances in his first two seasons, 2002 and 2003. In 2003, he averaged a career-high 18.7 points to go along with 8.9 assists in 80 games.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to be named head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, and it’s a role I have been studying for over the course of my playing days,” Kidd said in a statement released by the team.  “Championship teams are built on being prepared, playing unselfishly and being held accountable, and that’s how I expect to coach this basketball team. I am truly excited about this next phase of my basketball career.”

Kidd is the 22nd head coach in Nets history. No Nets head coach without the interim tag has a had a winning record since the late Chuck Daly went 88-76 during the 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons.

Josh Newman is SNYNets.com’s Field Reporter. Follow him on Twitter for up to the minute news and banter on all things related to the Brooklyn Nets and the NBA