The Dallas Mavericks just made another questionable move that will come back to bite them.
According to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, the Mavs have hired Jason Kidd as their new head coach following Rick Carlisle’s defection to the Indiana Pacers.
It’s a baffling hire considering Kidd’s troubling record both on and off the court. As the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks, Kidd had an overall record of 182-190 (48.9%) and his teams never finished more than two games above .500.
In Milwaukee he failed to run a system that maximised the strengths of his best player and overall roster, he didn’t make the right adjustments in the playoffs, and in the season after his dismissal, the Bucks went on to win 60 games with what was essentially the same roster.
Another issue Dallas will come to grapple with (and not for the first time) is that wherever Kidd goes, trouble seems to follow. This can be traced all the way back to his early playing days. Just two and a half years after drafting him second overall in 1994, the Mavericks traded Kidd to the Phoenix Suns due to mounting tensions between him, his teammates, and the coaching staff.
Then later in his career, and a year after winning the 2011 championship in his return to Dallas, Kidd made a verbal commitment to re-sign with the team before changing his mind and leaving for the New York Knicks, agitating the Mavs once again.
His coaching career was similarly controversial. Kidd forced his way out of Brooklyn after coaching the team for just one season. The short version of the story is he wanted more power within the organisation and didn’t receive it. Kidd then landed with the Bucks, where he failed to grasp how his best player could be utilized, and was fired mid-season a few years later.
But by far the most troubling matter here is Kidd’s off-court history. In 2001, he was arrested and pled guilty to domestic abuse for assaulting his then-wife Joumana. In 2007, Kidd filed for divorce and said the threat of “false domestic abuse claims” was one of the reasons behind his decision.
A month later, Joumana filed a counterclaim for divorce, claiming Kidd had broken her rib and damaged her hearing by smashing her head into the console of a car. She said this was just one example of countless instances of abuse.
Kidd was also arrested and charged with a misdemeanour of driving while intoxicated in 2012. He crashed his SUV into a telephone pole before veering off into the woods not far from his house.
Questions have been raised ever since about whether the Mavericks have cleaned up their act, or at least made progress in changing the organisation’s culture, and the addition of Kidd is an incredibly discouraging sign.