NBA Saturday: Coach Kidd Adjusting to Milwaukee

Head coach Jason Kidd is adjusting to his new home in Milwaukee and is ready for the challenge of leading his young Bucks squad.

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Coach Kidd Adjusting to Milwaukee

Around this time last year, Jason Kidd was preparing for his first season as an NBA head coach. He had just retired from playing in the league and was getting ready to take over the Brooklyn Nets, a team that had high expectations since the team had multiple future Hall of Famers and a combined 36 All-Star appearances entering the season.

Kidd did well in his first season, particularly in the second half of the season. Brooklyn finished the year with 44 wins, earning them the sixth seed. In the playoffs, the Nets took down the Toronto Raptors in the first round before being eliminated by the Miami HEAT in five games. It was an impressive rookie campaign for Kidd on the sidelines, but then things took a strange turn.

He reportedly tried to make a power play, asking ownership for final say on personnel moves. He wanted the kind of power that Doc Rivers has in Los Angeles, Stan Van Gundy has in Detroit and Flip Saunders has in Minnesota. But the difference between Kidd and those coaches is years and years of experience, and the Nets’ brass told him no.

This created a rather awkward working environment and shortly after Kidd was being linked to the Milwaukee Bucks’ head coaching job (even though Larry Drew was still under contract). In early July, Milwaukee sent Brooklyn two second-round picks in exchange for Kidd. Now, one year after coaching a star-laden team with championship aspirations, Kidd takes over a Bucks team that won just 15 games last year and features nine players who are 23 years old or younger.

“I think it’s the small print when you sign up as an athlete or as an NBA player,” Kidd told Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “There’s the potential of movement, different area codes. You have to be ready for that. … That’s just part of the business.”

Even though this will be a very different challenge for Kidd, he’s adjusting to his new home and is excited about the pieces Milwaukee has on their roster. With players like Jabari Parker, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brandon Knight, John Henson, Larry Sanders, Nate Wolters and Kendall Marshall among others, the Bucks have assembled an intriguing young core that’s worth keeping an eye on. Kidd is looking forward to working with his new squad and helping them reach their full potential.

“You hear about the buzz of the Bucks,” Kidd said. “When you have new ownership that’s going to be aggressive about trying to put a contender together and young talent that’s going to take the floor, there’s a lot of reason to be excited.”

Those new owners are Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens. Kidd and Lasry are reportedly good friends, and Lasry was at one time Kidd’s financial advisor during his playing days. Kidd believes that the Bucks are in good hands with the new ownership, and he compares Lasry and Edens to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who Kidd won a championship under in 2011.

“Mark is one of the best owners,” Kidd said of Cuban. “When I look at our new owners, Wes and Marc, they have that same drive. They’re very competitive.”

Kidd has spent these last two months getting settled in Milwaukee and prepping for the season. His first impression of the city and organization have been extremely positive. He and his wife, Porschla, rave about the community.

“The beauty of coming here, the people have been wonderful,” Kidd said.

“My neighbors baked us brownies,” Porschla said. “That’s the first time that’s ever happened to me. They brought them over and said, ‘Welcome to the neighborhood and welcome to Milwaukee.’ It was really nice. Who does that, right? It was really nice and made us feel at home.”

Porschla and the couple’s two young children are adjusting to their new home, even though it’s admittedly very different from Brooklyn.

“Everyone is, ‘Gosh, why are you so excited and happy about this move? You’re moving to Milwaukee from New York City.’ It’s like, you know what, I can make anyplace home,” Porschla said. “Why mope around and kick and say, ‘Why do I have to move again?’ This is home now and I’m happy with that. … I like to get involved with what’s local. I didn’t even get my feet wet here and I bought a cheesehead.”

It will be interesting to see how Kidd does at the helm of the Bucks, since this is his first time coaching a team that needs this much guidance. However, the fact that he has the respect of every player in the locker room and a close friend in the ownership group means that this is an excellent opportunity for Kidd to take the next step in his coaching career, even if his record takes a hit in the short-term while his young cornerstones develop.

Clippers Re-Sign Hedo Turkoglu

The Los Angeles Clippers announced today that they have re-signed free agent forward Hedo Turkoglu. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We are happy to welcome Hedo back to the Clippers,” Clippers president of basketball operations and head coach Doc Rivers said. “Hedo is a versatile, veteran presence who contributed to the championship culture we are building in Los Angeles.”

Turkoglu, 35, appeared in 38 games for the Clippers last season after being signed on January 10. He averaged 3.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in 10.3 minutes of play.

Turkoglu has appeared in 935 career games (569 starts) with Los Angeles, Orlando, Phoenix, Toronto, San Antonio and Sacramento. A 14-year NBA veteran, Turkoglu owns career averages of 11.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 27.8 minutes per game.  The 6-foot-10 inch forward is a career 38.2 percent shooter from three-point range.

The NBA’s first Turkish-born player, Turkoglu was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player in 2007-08 when he averaged a career-high 19.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists. The Istanbul native was named the NBA’s Eastern Conference Player of the Week twice (periods ending Jan. 27, 2008 and Feb. 3, 2008) and was a key member of the Orlando Magic team that appeared in the 2009 NBA Finals.

Turkoglu has appeared in 98 career postseason games (72 starts) with averages of 10.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists.

Originally selected with the 16th overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft by the Kings, Turkoglu played four seasons in the Turkish Professional League before coming to the NBA.

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