- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 18, 2003

When Washington Wizards coach Eddie Jordan was an assistant with the New Jersey Nets, winning was the norm. The front office gained league-wide recognition for turning one of the NBA’s worst franchises into two-time Eastern Conference champs, and the future seemed bright.

Not any more.

When Jordan leads his Wizards (8-16) against the Nets (12-12) tonight in Jordan’s first game in New Jersey since he was hired last summer, the happy faces that once dotted the Nets’ bench will be gone.

Not only are the Nets not playing anything like the team that lost only one game in the Eastern Conference playoffs before falling to San Antonio in the NBA Finals last season, dissension has appeared in the ranks.

The flash point might have come after a humiliating 110-63 loss to Memphis last weekend after which guard Jason Kidd loudly cursed embattled coach Byron Scott and his staff, accusing them of not being prepared.

Earlier in the season, power forward Kenyon Martin asked to be traded after management ruled out giving him a maximum contract extension for $85million to $90million.

And even though Dikembe Mutombo (buyout) and Alonzo Mourning (retired because of health problems) are no longer on the roster, the Nets are still paying most of the more than $18million the two are owed in salary.

Scott’s job likely is in danger. If the team were not looking for a buyer and facing the prospect of relocating to Brooklyn, Scott likely would be gone before the year is out.

Jordan, who is given much of the credit — perhaps more than Scott — for devising the Nets’ offense and doing most of the coaching, won’t go near the controversy swirling around his former team. However, his response to the soap opera spiraling out of control at the top of the New Jersey Turnpike indicates he’s watching with interest.

“We’re preparing to win a game,” Jordan said. “They have a better record than we have, so we have more problems winning than they do. That’s as far as winning, not as far as in the house and in the locker room.”

Sources close to the Nets say that if Jordan had remained and Scott were fired, Jordan would have gotten the interim job and possibly a long-term deal if the team’s ownership status weren’t so tenuous.

This theory became more credible last weekend. Following the Memphis loss, the Nets’ locker room stayed closed for about 35 minutes as the team conducted a meeting. During the session, Kidd’s voice could be heard by reporters and Grizzlies employees.

At first it was believed his teammates were the target of Kidd’s expletive-laced tirade. However, it was later confirmed that Scott and his coaching staff were the targets. At the core of Kidd’s outburst, according to the New York Daily News, were the coaching staff’s lack of preparedness and inability to make adjustments in a game in which the Grizzlies made 62 percent of their shots.

This is not the first time Kidd and Scott have failed to agree. Although it was never confirmed, reports circulated last summer that Kidd wanted Scott fired.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide