The Nets officially have a vacancy at head coach with Jason Kidd leaving to coach the Milwaukee Bucks after just on season at the helm in Brooklyn, according to a July 1 report from FOX Sports. Kidd, 41, was hired as Brooklyn Nets head coach just nine months ago, but he was released from the final three years of his contract.
In return for Brooklyn allowing Kidd to bolt town for a coaching gig in Milwaukee, the Nets received a pair of second-round draft picks, with one in 2015 and the other set for 2019. With free agency beginning this week, the coaching change does not come at an ideal time for Brooklyn.
Instead of thinking about how to retool their roster for the season ahead, Nets officials now have to go through the interview process of hiring a new coach. Like it or not, Brooklyn has no choice but to move forward without Kidd. Here's a look at five candidates who could potentially take over for Kidd as Nets head coach:
1) Jeff Van Gundy: The 52-year-old Van Gundy is certainly a dark horse candidate to take over as new Nets head coach, being that he has made it known he's very happy in his current analyst role for ESPN. Could the Nets sway him back to the sidelines with the right deal?
Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is a billionaire who is willing to break the bank for the talent he wants. He won't be afraid to throw tons of cash Van Gundy's way if that's the man he's after, but no one can be sure if the former Knicks and Rockets coach is ready to return to coaching.
2) George Karl: What's not to love about Karl? He's a proven winner and a delight to journalists and reporters, which is important in a media-heavy city such as Brooklyn. Karl, 63, spent last season as an analyst for ESPN, but he's apparently itching to get back on the sidelines. Karl notched over 1,100 wins as an NBA head coach, making him sixth all-time in victories in the pro ranks.
3) Mark Jackson: Jackson did a fine job as head coach of the Golden State Warriors two years ago, leading the team to back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time in two decades. His constant disagreements with the higher-ups in Golden State eventually led to his ouster, but it's time that he gets a fresh start someplace else.
4) Lionel Hollins: The 60-year-old Hollins got a bit of a raw deal as head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, as he led the team to a 56-26 record as recent as the 2012-13 season. During three separate stints as Grizzles coach, he compiled a 214-201 record. Hollins it the clear-cut favorite to win the Nets' coaching gig.
5) Ettore Messina: Messina, who last coached CSKA Moscow, is one of the greatest basketball minds in Europe. He won four Euroleague championships, and it helps his chances that he has a bit of a link to Prokhorov. Messina coached CSKA Moscow, a team Prokhorov financially supported a few years back. The men apparently know each other very well and have a strong friendship.