In training camp, Dudley said, Kidd asked for a show of hands of who thought the Bucks would make the playoffs. When all the hands went up, Kidd assured them — they would definitely make the playoffs. “There was times where I got there at midnight to shoot,” Dudley recalled Sunday. “And I wouldn’t do it that often, maybe every three weeks. And they were there. Grg would sleep there. We would be playing cards, and they would come and say ‘Jared, what were you thinking on this rotation?,’ things like that. At the beginning of the season I was calling the defensive coverages, even though I wasn’t supposed to. One day Jason came to me and said ‘I don’t want you to talk any more. At all. In a game you can do that, but in practice, they need to learn.’ He forced Khris Middleton (to talk). He was clever in that way.”
When Kidd retired as a player, he hired a new agent to represent him for potential coaching jobs: Hal Biagas. He was a former attorney with the National Basketball Players Association who had changed careers in 2009 to represent players and coaches, first working for the powerful Wasserman Sports agency, whose basketball division was headed by the uber-powerful Arn Tellem, and then Schwartz’s Excel Sports in 2012. But Schwartz, who also represented players Paul Pierce and Deron Williams in Brooklyn, was still a powerful voice in representing Kidd’s interests. The relationship between Lasry, Kidd and Schwartz — the latter two close enough to the former to be invited to and attend Lasry’s daughter’s wedding in 2011 — led to the out-of-nowhere hire of Kidd as coach of the Nets in 2013. It was a stunning ascension for a former player — even a great one such as Kidd — who had retired as a player just nine days before getting the job, a position that most who seek it never reach despite a lifetime’s work.
Throughout the process, rumors surfaced — always from unnamed sources — that Harris didn’t want to return to the Magic because the Magic had recently hired Scott Skiles as their coach. Skiles was the Milwaukee Bucks’ coach when the Bucks drafted Harris in 2011, and Harris played sparingly during the period that Skiles’ and Harris’ tenures in Milwaukee overlapped. Harris refuted those rumors on Friday night. “First off, me and Scott have a great relationship,” Harris said. “What people don’t understand is that when he first coached me, I was 18 years old. And from 18 to being about to turn 23 now, I’m a completely different player. Even in Milwaukee, where I didn’t play as much, we still had a great dialogue. He just wanted me to work harder. He just said, ‘Your time is coming.’ So he was always encouraging for me.
“Today, we communicated. He wants me to be a leader. He wants me to lead. He’s a fantastic coach. I think he’s the perfect coach for our team. Actually, I know he’s the perfect coach for our team. And he’s a coach I want to play for. He’s a fiery guy. He gets after you. He has that passion to win, that fire to win. Me and him, we have no problems. That passion, that’s the passion that I play with, so that’s what I love in a coach.” The deal was reported first by Real GM.
Giannis Antetokounmpo: My mind should be focused on basketball but it’s not possible for it not to wander back to Greece. Even if you don’t want to think about it, the events won’t let you. I’m young and inexperienced to talk about these kinds of issues. I don’t possess the knowledge to judge and have an opinion. The only thing I’m entitled to share is my feelings. I feel sorrow for Greece and everything the people are going through. I know how hard it is. Honestly, for many years in my life, before I became 18 and got into the draft and the NBA, I felt first hand the stresses of survival. The insecurity, the feeling of not knowing what tomorrow will bring and how you will manage to survive.
Giannis Antetokounmpo: It’s a very difficult situation to manage. I want to wish the people strength, courage, a positive mentality and patience. Personally, I managed to come out stronger from the difficult situations I experienced in my childhood and teenage years, with only one thing as a weapon: my love for my family, the emotional bond that we had between us, the fact that we were all going through it together, by giving strength to one another. When you have people by your side that love you, people you care about, and everyone supports each other, then even the greatest problems, if they cannot be overcome, they can at least be endured. It has been proven many times in history that no matter what Greece went through, Greece never perished. Greece always found a way to get up again and move forward. The same will happen now.