The Los Angeles Lakers have granted permission to the New York Knicks to interview assistant coach Jason Kidd for their vacant head coaching position, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times. Kidd was the first coach to be added to Frank Vogel’s staff last summer when the current lead man took over for Luke Walton. Kidd had previously interviewed for the Lakers’ head coaching position. The Knicks fired David Fizdale earlier this season.
According to Brad Turner of the LA Times, the Knicks already spoke to Kidd on Friday and hope to have an in-person interview before the Lakers go to Orlando with the other 21 teams that are set to resume the NBA season in late July.
Kidd’s ambition to return to the head coaching ranks is known given his reported strong impression on the Lakers’ front office last year and according to Knicks’ reporter Steve Popper of Newsday Sports, the former Nets and Bucks head coach is interested in the open position. The Knicks have been reported to be interviewing a mix of young and veteran head coaching candidates including former Lakers’ head coach and current Warriors’ assistant Mike Brown.
Kidd’s hiring to the Lakers came with quite a bit of controversy. The Hall of Fame point guard has had his fair share of off-court incidents, including a DUI and pleading guilty to domestic violence. The latter offense reportedly scared the Lakers off of hiring him as their main manager on the bench. He was also under scrutiny for publicly declaring his interest in the job before Walton was fired. That led to some speculation that he was setting himself up as the heir to Vogel should the latter be fired in the case of a poor start to the season.
As the season has progressed, however, Lakers’ players, as well as Vogel, have only been complimentary of Kidd and his commitment to the team. The Nets have also reportedly listed him as a potential candidate to return to the franchise to succeed Kenny Atkinson.
On top of his Hall of Fame resume as a player, including a stint in New York, the Knicks may be banking on Kidd’s relationship with Giannis Antetokounmpo as a potential reason to pursue the superstar’s former coach. That relationship may be overstated, however, as the Bucks had limited success under Kidd and have flourished since his successor, Mike Budenholzer, took over. People around the Bucks also don’t seem to give much credit to Kidd for Antetokounmpo’s development into the probably MVP this season.