In an audacious offseason of binge-spending and headline-grabbing, the boldest, riskiest move the Brooklyn Nets made was the one that started it all.
On June 12, the Nets hired Jason Kidd—just days removed from his retirement as a point guard—as their head coach, in the belief that his Hall of Fame basketball mind would be just as effective on the bench as it was on the court.
The trade that would bring Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn, boosting the Nets’ profile and luxury-tax bill, would not be hatched for another two weeks. Kidd would play a key role, helping convince his two former peers to accept the trade. The sales job was rather straightforward: Come lead us to a championship.
The deal turned the Nets into contenders and placed Kidd in a precarious position: as a rookie head coach charged with fusing six All-Stars, two of them in their late 30s, into a cohesive, title-contending team.
The extent of that challenge, and the strain, was clear late Monday night at B...