The Brooklyn Nets hired the veteran point guard who spent last season with the New York Knicks before announcing his retirement with two years remaining on his contract. The Nets are hoping the presence of a former franchise cornerstone can galvanize a team that lost in the first round of the playoffs.
The Nets chose Kidd over Indiana assistant Brian Shaw, who was one of the front-runners and had interviewed for the job Wednesday.
Kidd, whose 12,091 assists rank second on the NBA's all-time list, led the Nets to appearances in the Finals in 2001-02 and 2002-03 during his six-plus seasons with the team.
He is expected to surround himself with a veteran cast of assistants, including former NBA head coach Lawrence Frank, as a hedge against the inexperience factor.
Another selling point for Kidd was his strong relationship with Nets point guard Deron Williams, whose play is often only as strong as his feelings for his coach. Williams did not particularly care for former coaches Jerry Sloan and Avery Johnson, leading to their ousters and subpar play from Williams.
"Jason is a proven winner and leader with an incredible wealth of basketball knowledge and experience," Nets General Manager Billy King said in a statement. "This will be a natural transition for him to move into the role of head coach, as he embodies the tough, smart and team-first mentality that we are trying to establish in Brooklyn."