“Jason led a historic turnaround during his first season and would guide our team to two playoff appearances,” Horst said. “He also played a meaningful role in helping to keep the Bucks in Milwaukee. We thank him for all of his contributions and wish him the best.”
Kidd, who is a 2018 nominee for the Basketball Hall of Fame as a result of his highly successful 19-year career as a player — mostly with the Dallas Mavericks and the Nets — negotiated a strong personnel role with the Bucks when he left the Nets after a one-year coaching stint. He finished his tenure in Milwaukee with a record of 139-152 in three-plus seasons. His teams qualified for the playoffs twice but never made it out of the first round.
Beyond Antetokounmpo, the Bucks have several intriguing young players, including Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon, last season’s rookie of the year. Bledsoe, who was acquired in an in-season trade with the Suns, has the unusual distinction of having played for two teams this season that fired their coaches before the All-Star break.
Despite their collection of talent, the Bucks, who were expected to improve drastically this season, carried a 23-22 record into Monday’s game, slightly off their pace from last season, when they earned the sixth seed in the East. There are problems for the team to address on both ends of the court: Entering Monday, Milwaukee ranked 12th in offensive efficiency and 25th in defensive efficiency, and had lost four of its past five games.
In a news conference before Monday’s game, Prunty said the announcement had been “a shock for all of us” and praised Kidd’s efforts. He acknowledged some emotion from the players and coaching staff but said that the team had made a business decision.
“The bottom line is we have been consistently inconsistent,” he said.
On Saturday, the Bucks, playing without Antetokounmpo and Brogdon, lost to the Philadelphia 76ers. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia’s outspoken center, took to Twitter after the game to taunt the Bucks over comments that Wes Edens, a member of Milwaukee’s ownership group, made in June while announcing Horst’s promotion to general manager. Edens referred to Embiid’s favorite catchphrase, “Trust the process,” saying, “Guys in Philly want to talk about the process; I’d rather talk about the results.”
Embiid, whose team sat one spot ahead of Milwaukee entering Monday, let the Bucks know that he had not forgotten Edens’s words.
It is not clear how long the Bucks intend to have Prunty running the team, but whenever they do seek a permanent replacement for Kidd they can offer one of the most attractive coaching spots in the N.B.A. The Bucks will open a $524 million arena for the 2018-19 season, their ownership group has shown a commitment to putting a first-class product in one of the league’s smallest markets, and Antetokounmpo is signed through the 2020-21 season.
Continue reading the main story