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It's No Joke: Nets Hire Kidd As 18th Head Coach In Franchise History

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- The Brooklyn Nets have hired Jason Kidd as their coach, bringing the former star back to the franchise.

Kidd just retired after his 19th NBA season and the Nets decided to hire him despite his lack of coaching experience.

"On behalf of the Nets organization, I am very pleased to welcome Jason Kidd as the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets," general manager Billy King said in a statement. "Jason is a proven winner and leader with an incredible wealth of basketball knowledge and experience. 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."

The move reunites Kidd with the franchise he led to consecutive NBA Finals in 2002-03, when they played in New Jersey.

"Jason Kidd has a long and legendary history with the Nets and with the city of New York," said Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov.  "He has the fire in the belly we need, and has achieved as a player everything the Brooklyn Nets are striving to achieve.  We believe he will lead us there. Welcome home, Jason."

Kidd played in 506 games over six and a half seasons for the then-New Jersey Nets, averaging 14.6 points, 9.1 assists and 7.2 rebounds per game.  Throughout his tenure with the franchise, Kidd led the team to six consecutive playoff appearances, including two Eastern Conference Championships and four Atlantic Division titles.

Terms of the deal that made Kidd the 18th coach in franchise history were not disclosed. The Nets will introduce Kidd on Thursday during a press conference at Barclays Center.

A likely future Hall of Famer, Kidd is taking over a team that won 49 games and earned the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but was bounced in seven games in the first round by the Chicago Bulls. That wasn't enough to save interim coach P.J. Carlesimo's job. He went 35-19 after replacing Avery Johnson, who was fired in December.

Kidd, 40, was considered one of the smartest players in the NBA, which he believes will help him make the transition into coaching.

"This is a tremendous opportunity to be named head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, and it's a role I have been studying for over the course of my playing days," said Kidd.  "Championship teams are built on being prepared, playing unselfishly and being held accountable, and that's how I expect to coach this basketball team. I am truly excited about this next phase of my basketball career."

The Nets interviewed him this week and chose him as their coach after talking with Indiana Pacers assistant Brian Shaw earlier Wednesday.

Kidd has a close friendship with Nets point guard Deron Williams and the respect of many in the organization for his achievements as a player. He averaged 12.6 points, 8.7 assists, 6.3 rebounds and 1.93 steals, while playing for the Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, the Nets and Knicks. He is ranked second in NBA history with 12,091 assist and 2,684 steals, and is third in minutes (50,111), 3-point field goals (1,988) and triple-doubles (107).

Kidd won an NBA title with Dallas and has two Olympic gold medals.

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