In his first public comments since being fired by the Milwaukee Bucks earlier this season, Jason Kidd cleared up…very little.
Most tend to think he was canned because he lost the locker room, or because he pissed off ownership with a power play similar to what he pulled with the Brooklyn Nets, or because he did some combination of both. Kidd, for his part, doesn’t think he lost the Bucks—not even now, a couple months later.
As he told Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck:
That relationship was one of the stronger ones Kidd had, although sources say Antetokounmpo, too, grew weary of Kidd’s relentless critiques. (Antetokounmpo was also disappointed, per sources, that Kidd revealed a private exchange between them in the wake of his firing.)
“Did I think I lost the locker room? I didn’t think I did,” Kidd says. “My style? My voice was only heard when it needed to be heard. I let the other coaches do as much talking as I did, because I knew as a player, if you hear one voice, you can lose the locker room.”
Caveat incoming: Kidd himself went on to walk back these comments.
Here’s what he told Beck:
“Maybe I did lose the locker room,” he finally says. “Maybe they lost trust in what I was trying to do, player-wise, or as owners, or as management. But that was never communicated to me.”
Even now, all this time later, it’s tough to pinpoint one driving force behind Kidd’s departure. There were players he seemed to rub the wrong way, like Jabari Parker and, at one time, Greg Monroe. But he also appeared to have a strong relationship with Giannis Antetokounmpo for much of his time in Milwaukee.
More likely than not, Kidd’s firing was due to a variety of factors: idealistic differences with the front office, stubborn defensive constructs, uninventive offensive sets, etc. And yes, his relationship with some of the players—or at least those within the organization who matter—no doubt factored into the decision. That’s how these things work. They’re seldom the result of one problem. They’re a build up of a bunch of issues. And the Bucks clearly believed, for whatever reason, they’d be better off going in a different going direction.
Whether that will ultimately be true remains to be seen. They have to first hire a new permanent coach, and then see how they perform next season before any verdict is rendered.