NEW YORK -- Jason Kidd could not even get to his 20th game as an NBA coach without embarrassing himself, and more than once, too. He pulled a Mike Tomlin before Mike Tomlin could, and he fired a mentor he spent the summer recruiting with all the restraint of a teenage girl chasing after Justin Bieber's car.
Brooklyn Nets executives warned Kidd that running off his mentor/assistant/friend/former head coach Lawrence Frank a mere 17 games into a six-year commitment would make the franchise look more dysfunctional off the court than on it.
"All the consequences were laid out for him," a league source said. And Kidd went ahead and put down Frank anyway, quitting on a rocky relationship because it was the easy thing to do.
So is it any surprise that the Nets quit on Kidd again Thursday night, on national TV and on his home Brooklyn floor with the 3-13 New York Knicks in the house? Kidd isn't only coaching a lousy team. Right now, he's coaching a heartless one, too.
The Knicks won by a 113-83 count, outscoring Brooklyn by 18 points in the third quarter, the quarter that routinely serves as a bottomless pit for the Nets.
You know, the quarter that routinely follows the locker room sessions where coaches like Jason Kidd are supposed to make their halftime adjustments.
The Knicks entered the Barclays Center shooting 42 percent from the field, and they shot 57 percent against Kidd's Nets. The Knicks were shooting 32 percent from 3-point range in their first 16 games, and they shot 59 percent from 3 in their 17th.
"Tonight," Kidd said of the Knicks, "it looked like the team of last year, where they made a lot of 3s."
Jason Kidd was a big part of that team until his 40-year-old body broke down in the end, leaving him literally unable to make a shot. As a visionary at the point, one of the all-time greats, Kidd is finding that it's a lot easier to be a coach on the floor than a coach on the sideline.
While it's true that Frank did a dreadful job with Brooklyn's defense -- especially in light of the fact he was given an unprecedented contract for an NBA assistant -- it's also true that the same defense was shredded in consecutive home games against Denver and the Knicks with Frank locked out of the gym.
"Lawrence Frank is the guy Jason wanted to bring in; nobody inside pushed it on him at all," the league source said. "The relationship didn't work, and as a manager sometimes you have to work through troubles in relationships. It was building for months, and Jason didn't want to try to work through it anymore.
"So the move was made. And as terrible as it looked, at least this much is clear: It's all on Jason now, and nobody else."
Kidd is 5-14, and for the first time in his basketball life the game is moving too fast for him. That was the whole point in hiring Frank, a veteran who could slow it down for the novice until he had time to adjust and figure it all out. All along, Kidd sounded more excited about the acquisition of Frank than he did about the acquisitions of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.