Jason Kidd says Giannis Antetokounmpo offered to save his job minutes before firing
The stagnant Milwaukee Bucks shook things up by firing head coach Jason Kidd Monday.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was not happy with the news. So much he called up Kidd and offered to help save his job, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.
Jason Kidd tells ESPN that Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo called him about 15 minutes before Kidd was officially notified he'd been fired by the Bucks and offered to help save his job.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) January 23, 2018
Kidd, "He called me and said, 'Coach, this isn't right what they're about to do, but (they) are gonna let you go.' "— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) January 23, 2018
Kidd says he told Antetokounmpo that "I had a feeling that was gonna take place."
Kidd says Antetokounmpo replied, "'What can I do? I'll call the owners, I'll call my agent."— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) January 23, 2018
Kidd said he told him, "There's nothing you can do. All you can do is tell the truth. That's it."
Kidd said he thanked Antetokounmpo for his loyalty and that he was "thankful to be able to coach him."— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) January 23, 2018
Antetokounmpo is understandably close to Kidd — he’s been the coach who helped transform the Greek Freak into an NBA superstar. Kidd is on his way to the Hall of Fame as a player, and as a coach had the vision to put the ball in Antetokounmpo’s hands as a point guard. Antetokounmpo trusted Kidd.
However, the Bucks’ growth has been stagnant — this is a team where the players talked about being a 50-win, top-four team in the East with a strong defense, instead they are a team on the way to around .500, barely hanging onto a playoff spot, with the point differential of a team that wins 36 games. They are not taking a step forward, and the Bucks — with the approval of ownership, which was very close to Kidd at one time — approving the move.
There was nothing Antetokounmpo could have done. It’s life in the NBA. That doesn’t mean he has to like it.