Sources: Kidd, Frank had 'friction'

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NEW YORK -- Brooklyn Nets coach Jason Kidd has reassigned Lawrence Frank to a reduced role, and Frank no longer will sit on the bench as Kidd's lead assistant coach.

Multiple league sources told ESPN.com that there was "friction" and a difference of philosophies between Kidd and Frank since the start of the season. Sources say the relationship soured after assistant coach Joe Prunty was chosen as interim coach instead of Frank when Kidd served a two-game suspension to start the season. Two sources say Frank appeared to be hurt by the decision.

The relationship was further frayed by a blowup between the two at the team facility after Kidd returned from the suspension, sources confirmed. That incident was first reported by Yahoo! Sports.

Multiple team sources also say Nets players side with Kidd, respect the first-year head coach and prefer to hear one voice. Kidd initially allowed Frank and assistant coach John Welch to handle the defensive and offensive duties. But Frank had the most head-coaching experience on the staff, and often his voice was the loudest at practices. Two sources say Nets players felt Frank was over-coaching earlier in the season.

In recent weeks, though, Frank has been less demonstrative on the bench than he was earlier in the season. Multiple sources said the organization tried to smooth things over in recent weeks with the concern that the coaching staff could be divided. But a breaking point was reached with the demotion as the resolution.

"This is the decision that I had to make, and we made it and we move on," Kidd told reporters before the Nets were routed 111-87 at home by the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night. "This is my decision in the sense of what I had to do. It's about basketball. That's it."

Kidd said Frank has been reassigned "to doing daily reports" and that Frank will not be sitting on the bench or working practices moving forward. Kidd said he does not plan on adding another assistant.

"Just different philosophies," Kidd said of the move. "That's all. We'll figure out how to stop people [on defense]."

The Nets have decided not to try to pursue another veteran coach to take Frank's spot even though they came into the season believing Frank's presence was vital to helping Kidd with the rare immediate transition from player to head coach. One coaching source told ESPN.com that the Nets ultimately concluded that, as much as they want a coach at Kidd's side who has been around the block to "guide him," this pairing would not work if Frank insisted on telling him "what to do."

Many figured Frank would be the perfect sounding board and mentor for Kidd in his first go-around as a coach. Kidd and the Nets wanted Frank to help the first-year coach so much that they signed Frank to a six-year deal worth approximately $6 million, according to two league sources. The deal includes a position within the organization for the final two years of his contract, sources say. Frank's contract is worth $1 million in each of the first two seasons, and $1.65 million per year in the third and fourth years of the contract.

The move shows that the organization supports Kidd and the decision to demote Frank despite such a lucrative contract for an assistant coach.

It caught veteran point guard Shaun Livingston off guard.

"It's tough. Lawrence was obviously a voice, so that's the hardest part," Livingston said. "I don't think any of us saw this coming."

The Nets -- who were without the injured Deron Williams (ankle), Paul Pierce (hand), Jason Terry (knee) and Andrei Kirilenko (back) -- were then drubbed by the Nuggets, losing for the 11th time in 14 games.

"[We're] soul-searching here," Kevin Garnett said after the loss. "We were trying to figure out how to patch this thing up, how to get this thing together; there's a lot of moving parts to this. ... I don't think anyone around here is having fun, and losing is definitely not fun."

Garnett also has known Frank since he was an assistant with the Celtics in 2010-11.

"There's a lot of moving parts around here, and we are trying to adjust to it," Garnett said when asked about the Frank demotion. "That's how I am going to answer that."

"I think at this point, we are trying to figure out who we are and fix this," he later added. "We are at home getting beat by 30, 40 points, and that's not want we want. That's not even close to what we predicted where we wanted to be. We just want to understand, and like I said, there's a lot of things going on here, but no excuses."

Frank, who was head coach of the Detroit Pistons for the previous two seasons, has a relationship with Kidd dating to his time as an assistant under Byron Scott on the New Jersey Nets' coaching staff when Kidd arrived in a trade in 2001. The Nets went to back-to-back NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003.

Frank replaced Scott and was Kidd's coach from 2004 to 2008, ranking as the Nets' all-time leader in victories. Originally, Kidd had his coaching staff set up with Frank orchestrating the defense and Welch handling the offensive duties.

When the Nets went with Prunty as the interim coach in the first two games, Frank and Welch remained in their defensive and offensive coordinator-like roles, respectively, ostensibly for continuity.

But the Nets have had anything but continuity, as they have been ravaged by injuries and chemistry issues that also extended to the coaching staff. The Nets (5-13) had lost a total of 37 games due to injuries to six players going into the Denver game. Joe Johnson has been the only starter to start every game this season.

Defensively, the Nets were surrendering an average of 102.4 points per game, sixth-worst in the NBA, entering Tuesday night's game.

Frank's spot next to Kidd on the bench will instead be filled by Prunty, who has worked in the league as an assistant with four other teams (San Antonio, Dallas, Portland and Cleveland) and serves as a coach internationally with Great Britain.

"We'll be coaches, that is who we will be," Kidd said of who will handle the defense and offense moving forward. "There is no one doing offense, no one doing defense. We will take the responsibility of being coaches. That is how it will be set up."

Information from ESPNNewYork.com contributor Mike Mazzeo was used in this report.

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