Billy King has spoken about how initially he was "resistant" to the idea of Jason Kidd, fresh off the Knicks bench, as head coach. The team's ownership, he's said, asked him to talk to the Nets great. But as part of the process, he also wanted to talk to someone he trusts, someone who knows Kidd quite well: his college coach and Kidd's Olympic coach, Mike Krzyzewski.
"I said, [Jason]'s been a coach on the court since he was probably about 15," Krzyzewski told Mike Mazzeo. "He's been as cerebral a player as there has been in college basketball and then obviously in professional and international basketball, and he has a remarkable way with people.
"I thought it would be a great thing. I just said that it's going to be a transition [for Kidd] going from player to coach on the bench, so make sure he has a great staff [of assistants around him]. But his instincts and his knowledge of the game and people and who he is, you're getting the very best."
Krzyzewski was Kidd's coach during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and he remembers clearly their first discussion.
"In our first practice, [Kidd] came up to me and asked, 'What do you want me to do?' And I said, 'You be yourself. I'll adapt to you. You've played in more games than I've coached. Let me adapt to you. What you see, you do, and then as we add our system, I want you to always know what you think. And I want to tap into that,' so that was right from the start."
Kidd's biggest asset, Coach K adds, may be that players respect him, all the way up to the NBA's elite: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James. One of those players Krzyzewski thinks will be helped by Kidd is his Olympic teammate, Deron Williams.
"First of all, they're two really good guys," Krzyzewski told Mazzeo. "They've been teammates on the Olympic team. They're different guards. Deron is this dynamic scorer who can get other people shots, and sees the game really well. You don't want him to be who Jason was. I think Jason will allow Deron to be himself, but be better."
- Coach K, Mike Krzyzewski, OKs Billy King's hiring Jason Kidd for Nets - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York