Lawrence Frank who signed the most lucrative assistant coaching contract in NBA history has been "reassigned" within the Nets organization after he and Jason Kidd had "differences of opinion" on basketball-related issues. Frank will file "daily reports" on the team, but will not be on the bench or at practice.
Frank who is owed more than $6 million over six years --and had the promise of a front office job down the road, say sources-- was brought back by the Nets this year to provide help to rookie coach Kidd. But as Frank Isola of the Daily News first reported, the two long-time friends had experienced increasing friction as the Nets disappointing season worsened. Marc Stein reports it was about who was in charge.
Said one coaching source Tuesday night after LFrank's departure: "(Kidd) needed a veteran assistant to guide him, not tell him what to do"— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 3, 2013
An emotional Kidd announced the news this afternoon, citing "philosophical differences." Joe Prunty, the Nets assistant who filled in for Kidd during his DUI suspension --and beat the Heat in his second game-- will take Frank's seat on the bench, Stein adds. Stein said the Nets will not replace Frank with another assistant.
Kidd dismissed the need to replace Frank as "defensive coordinator." "It's just different philosophies," Kidd said of his decision. "That's all. ... We'll figure out how to stop people."
Adrian Wojnarowski in a series of tweets --and a story on Yahoo! Sports-- Tuesday evening laid out some details, including a blow-up between the two on November 4, after a blowout loss to the Magic.
Assistant coach Lawrence Frank, who Nets "reassigned," has a 6-year deal that averages over $1 million a year. Breakup had been building.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) December 3, 2013
Kidd lost cool w/ Frank inside a coaching staff meeting in early November, league sources say, and partnership was soon doomed to this end.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) December 3, 2013
Y! Sources: After a blistering early November staff meeting, Jason Kidd's partnership w/ Lawrence Frank was doomed. http://t.co/MChhKoVqqn— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) December 4, 2013
Around league, coaching sources insist Frank had been willing to help Kidd in any way Kidd wanted of him. "He was loyal," one source says.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) December 3, 2013
Kidd had made hiring Frank part of his deal and pushed for the long-term contract, said sources. "It was a package deal from day one," said one league source.
Kidd said the decision to "reassign" Frank was "my decision" and was about "basketball." Many players didn't know about the move until just before it was announced. Mike Mazzeo had the first comment from a player, Shaun Livingston...
Livingston on Frank: "It's tough. Lawrence was obviously a voice, so that's the hardest part." #Nets— Mike Mazzeo (@MazzESPN) December 3, 2013
In San Francisco, Mark Jackson had some strong words on the Kidd - Frank divorce, saying it's about the head coach's philosophy.
"I don’t know what happened. I do see the reports of a difference in philosophies. If that’s true, that’s trash, to me. Because there’s one philosophy, and that’s the head coach. . . . You win, it’s Jason Kidd. You lose, it’s Jason Kidd. When you talk about a difference in philosophy, that just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. That staff should have the same philosophy as Jason Kidd, win, lose or draw."
Frank coached Kidd with the Nets before getting fired in 2009 after an 0-16 and after a successful stint as an assistant with Doc Rivers in Boston was named head coach in Detroit two years ago. He was fired from that job last season. Frank received a seven-figure buyout when he left Detroit.
The question now is how much of this turmoil --and the losing-- is going to affect the team going forward. It can't help.
League source texts on #Nets: "It's even worse than it looks. Kidd, players ... all of it. Maybe KG can pull them together but I doubt it."— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) December 3, 2013