May 22nd, 2024

Mavs extend coach Jason Kidd’s contract in middle of playoffs, a year after chaotic ending

By Schuyler Dixon, The Associated Press on May 6, 2024.

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) talks to head coach Jason Kidd during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers Friday, May 3, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)

DALLAS (AP) – Jason Kidd found a groove with Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving a season after a chaotic ending to the first two months together for the Dallas superstars.

The Mavericks coach has his team advancing in the playoffs for the second time in his three years in charge, and the 51-year-old now has a contract extension to go with it.

Kidd signed a multiyear deal Monday, the day before Dallas opens a second-round playoff series against Oklahoma City. The Mavs moved on by beating the Los Angeles Clippers in six games.

A year ago, Dallas missed the playoffs after reaching the 2022 Western Conference finals in Kidd’s debut as coach for the team he helped win a championship as a point guard in 2011.

The blockbuster trade for Irving in February 2023 wasn’t the catalyst the Mavs hoped for another postseason run. Instead, the team tanked at the end of the regular season to try to preserve a draft pick, even when there were still mathematical hopes of qualifying for the play-in tournament.

Kidd was the front man for all the tough questions in the final days of the regular season, and got a vote of confidence from then-owner Mark Cuban. Dallas kept the draft pick, and first-rounder Dereck Lively II had a significant impact as a rookie center.

“Last year, we learned a lot about character, about the team,” Kidd said. “At the time, everyone had their opinion. But understanding what the plan is internally, I thought we executed the plan. Being calm and not losing your mind or being offended of what others say turned out to be the right thing.”

Irving re-signed with Dallas, and after Cuban sold his majority stake to the casino-linked families of Patrick Dumont and Miriam Adelson, a late-season surge lifted the Mavs to fifth in the West at 52-30.

The extension for Kidd comes after his name surfaced in reports of the Lakers’ coaching search. Los Angeles fired Darvin Ham last week.

Terms of the deal weren’t released. Doncic and Irving are under team control together for one more season. Irving has a player option in his contract for 2025-26, Doncic the following season.

“We are excited to have coach Kidd continue to lead our team throughout the coming years with this well-earned contract extension,” said Dumont, who is the team’s governor while Cuban has the role of alternate governor. “We are looking forward to his leadership in continuing to build and grow this already great franchise.”

A hall of famer as a player, Kidd ended his career second on the all-time list for assists behind John Stockton. He went into coaching immediately upon retirement, leading Brooklyn to the second round of the playoffs in his first season in 2013-14 before Milwaukee hired him away from the Nets.

The Bucks fired Kidd in the middle of his fourth season – with a pair of first-round playoff exits the first three years – and he spent two years as an assistant with the Lakers, including when LA won the NBA title in the 2020 playoff bubble.

Kidd, who replaced Rick Carlisle in Dallas, has a 140-106 regular-season record with the Mavs and is 323-296 overall.

After Kidd and NBA Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavs to the 2011 title, they didn’t win another playoff series until beating Utah in the first round under Kidd two years ago. Now Dallas has three series victories in three seasons.

“Jason brings a wealth of experience and expertise to this role, which cannot be duplicated,” general manager Nico Harrison said. “He has earned the trust and respect of our players and that of so many across the league.”

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba

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