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- The Los Angeles Lakers hired Frank Vogel to be their new head coach, with Jason Kidd serving as a top assistant.
- The decision to put Kidd on the staff is a curious one, as Kidd interviewed for the head-coaching job and reportedly impressed the Lakers, though not enough to be named head coach.
- Many in the NBA world think that the set-up will immediately undermine Vogel’s credibility and create an awkward dynamic that could lead to Kidd eventually taking the job.
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The Los Angeles Lakers’ new coaching hire may still invite more drama to a franchise that’s been rife with it in recent months.
Over the weekend, the Lakers agreed to hire Frank Vogel as their new head coach. The move came after they fired Luke Walton, then missed out on their top replacement, Tyronn Lue, over disagreements in salary, contract, length, and staff.
Interestingly, the Lakers reportedly got another coach they wanted on Vogel’s staff: Jason Kidd. The former Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets head coach will be an assistant under Vogel.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesIt’s fair to wonder if this will be a productive set-up for Vogel and the team. Kidd interviewed for the Lakers’ head-coaching job this offseason and reportedly impressed the team. According to reports, the Lakers wanted to include Kidd on Lue’s staff before talks broke off.
Many felt having a head-coaching candidate as an assistant would immediately threaten the head coach’s credibility in the locker room. That would appear to be the case with Vogel and Kidd.
Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix wrote that the situation already has an instability to it.
"Doesn’t this already have a David Blatt/Lue feel to it? Kidd is already being pegged as the coach-in-waiting, and how is Kidd going to respond to taking marching orders from Vogel, a man with zero playing experience, who was in the video room while Kidd was making All-Star teams? This will be a storyline early and the drumbeats for Kidd to take over will only get louder when the Lakers inevitably skid."
Worsening matters is Kidd has a track record of trying to gain more power within organizations. When he was the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, he reportedly tried to gain the power of personnel decisions but was rejected by management. He left the team shortly thereafter to join the Milwaukee Bucks. Adrian Wojnarowski reported at the time that some in the NBA world thought Kidd would try to gain control of personnel in Milwaukee, too. He was fired during the 2017-18 season.
Kidd and LeBron James have a relationship, dating back to their time on Team USA during the 2008 Olympics, leaving some to wonder if the Lakers’ best player will have Kidd’s back over Vogel.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith predicted that Kidd would become the Lakers coach in two years.
The decision to seemingly force Kidd onto their new head coach’s staff seems curious. The Lakers haven’t been lacking in drama in 2019, beginning with their pursuit of Anthony Davis, their failed playoff chase, Magic Johnson’s abrupt resignation, and their messy coaching search.
Immediately putting their new coach into a position to be usurped could only continue what many in the NBA world view as dysfunction in Los Angeles.
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