Kidd Making His Pitch
Nets coach trying to lure Frank to Brooklyn
As he prepared to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night before the Bronx Bombers hosted the Los Angeles Dodgers for the first time since 1981, new Nets head coach Jason Kidd admitted he had one goal in mind.
“Just not to embarrass myself,” the future Hall of Fame point guard and coaching neophyte said.
Kidd could have been talking about his first season at the helm of Brooklyn’s hometown hoops squad.
Having recently completed a 19-year-career on the hardwood, the San Francisco native knows all-too-well he’ll be under the media microscope next November, when the Nets open their second season at the state-of-the-art Barclays Center on the corners of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues.
That’s why he’s made no secret of the fact that he’s openly recruiting former Nets coach Lawrence Frank as his top assistant and right-hand man as the 2013 offseason continues.
“I’m working as hard as I can,” Kidd said after revealing in a recent TV interview that he’d spoken to Frank about the vacant position. “So, hopefully he does join the staff because he would be great.”
After Kidd led the then-New Jersey Nets to their only two NBA Finals appearances in 2002 and 2003, he had a well-chronicled falling out with former coach Byron Scott, resulting in the latter’s departure from East Rutherford, N.J.
Frank, then an assistant on Scott’s staff, took over as head coach and won his first 13 games with Kidd leading the way.
Five years later, after Kidd was traded to Dallas, resulting in an 0-16 start to the 2009-10 campaign, Frank was relieved of his duties,
Chances of the tandem reuniting in Downtown Brooklyn have been rumored since Kidd accepted the head coaching post last week. Kidd confirmed as much when he spent a part of his introductory press conference at Barclays openly calling for Frank to join him on the bench next season.
“We’re in discussions about a staff. Lawrence would be a great candidate,” said Kidd, who is also reportedly seeking to attain the coaching services of former NBA forward Rodney Rogers. “I understand that I will lean on my staff heavily and learn from them.”
Frank, fired following a dismal stretch as head coach in Detroit, is remaining mum on the matter for now. But for Kidd, having an assistant he is familiar with, should ease the transition from ballplayer to head coach.
By the way, Kidd fired a strike to catcher Austin Romine on his first-pitch attempt, proving once again that some pre-game jitters can go a long way toward a strong performance come crunch time.
With Frank by his side, Kidd figures to overcome some of his admitted “nerves” in taking the Nets job, and all the pressure that comes with it.
“I’m just a rookie,” Kidd admitted when asked about the daunting task of delivering Brooklyn’s first major pro sports title since the Dodgers edged the Yankees in the 1955 Fall Classic.
The Nets can only hope that Kidd’s pitch to Frank goes as well as the one he tossed from the Yankee Stadium mound Wednesday night.
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