DALLAS — No matter how much rancor there might have been when Jason Kidd bolted Brooklyn after one season as head coach, he had nothing but fond words for his Nets days when his former team showed up to face his new one, the Mavericks.
“It was incredible. It was great to be able to coach Hall of Famers and future Hall of Famers. It was a great experience,” Kidd said of his lone season with the Nets, a 44-38 campaign in 2013-14. “Even with the slow start, only winning 10 games before the New Year, we finished winning over 40-some games and making it to the second round and losing to Miami. It was a great experience.
“I had no coaching experience for sure. But to be around those type of players that have the respect from playing against those guys, Deron [Williams] and Joe Johnson, to help put those guys in a position to be successful was new because I didn’t have the ball in my hands. It was about communicating. It was a great lesson and I learned from it. I had a great time.”
The Nets have since hired another great point guard with no coaching experience, current coach Steve Nash. He and Kidd played against each other in college, played together for a year-and-a-half in the NBA and even went into the Hall of Fame in the same class, in 2018.
“I played with Steve in Phoenix. We go way back. I played against him at Santa Clara with Cal,” Kidd said. “He’s a great human being, loves the game of football, which is soccer. He’s done great as a head coach. I’m happy for what he’s done, and he’s great for the game of basketball.”
Nash and the Nets entered Tuesday sitting atop the Eastern Conference, while Kidd’s Mavericks had lost seven of nine. But Nash said he certainly wouldn’t presume to offer any advice, pointing out Kidd, who was the Bucks’ head coach for four seasons and was a Lakers assistant for two more, is by far the more experienced coach.
“He’s done it before, he’s coached. He’s been head coach twice, so I should be asking him for advice,” Nash said.
And for the record, he hasn’t. Nash said when he and Kidd talk, it’s more reminiscing.
“We never really talked about coaching. We had so many common experiences as players that whenever we talk it’s really more about the good old days, and all of our people we have in common and all that stuff.”
The Nets started James Harden, Patty Mills, Kevin Durant, DeAndre’ Bembry and LaMarcus Aldridge.
They assigned Day’Ron Sharpe to their G-League affiliate Long Island. Kessler Edwards was also on G-League assignment, while Joe Harris (left ankle surgery) and Kyrie Irving were out.
Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. were all available for the Mavericks, while Sterling Brown was out with left foot soreness.