The Milwaukee Bucks have fired head coach Jason Kidd, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday. Kidd, a former NBA All-Star, had coached the team since 2014.
After stumbling to a 23-22 record, Bucks management apparently determined that the problem with their underperforming team was Kidd. Most observers expected the Bucks to be a top team in the NBA’s Eastern Conference this season, after star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo became an early frontrunner for the league’s Most Valuable Player award. But as the season wore on, the Bucks were frequently outplayed by inferior teams, and their opponents feasted on a diet of shots near the basket and from behind the three-point line — the two most profitable shots in basketball.
The Bucks’ coaching gig, NBA writer Matt Moore noted on Twitter, is an intoxicating position, thanks to the 23-year-old phenom Antetokounmpo. The rest of the roster, meanwhile, is comprised of long and versatile players who, in theory, complement Antetokounmpo perfectly — alongside early-season trade acquisition Eric Bledsoe, a proven scorer.
Speculation is already swirling about who the Bucks’ next head coach will be. The Ringer‘s Bill Simmons predicted that TV analyst and former head New York Knicks head coach Jeff Van Gundy would be interested, while USA Today‘s Sam Amick said that former New Orleans Pelicans coach Monty Williams could become an early favorite for the job. In the interim, Bucks assistant coach Joe Prunty will take the reigns, starting with Monday’s game against the Phoenix Suns.