- The Washington Times - Monday, January 26, 2004

Jason Kidd fired Byron Scott yesterday.

The ever-dull point guard, who takes it one monosyllabic word at a time, was prompted to make the move following the 22-20 desultory record of the Nets.

Another coach will have the wherewithal to eliminate the inertness of center Jason Collins, the inconsistency of shooting guard Kerry Kittles and the rotting wood of a bench.

Another coach, if he is wise, also will be motivated to take moonlit walks with Kidd, the player/president of the franchise looking to reinvent itself in Brooklyn.

Scott deserved better from Kidd after leading the inadequate Nets to the NBA Finals the last two seasons.

Scott deserved at least a last vote of confidence from Kidd, who is part of the problem.

As competent as he is, Kidd causes untold damage to the rims around the NBA and lacks a bedside manner in the locker room.

If the star player is not in touch with his inner contentment, his torment is liable to spread to the rest of the team.

Kidd planted his poison in the locker room following the team’s loss in Memphis last month. His rebuke of Scott’s brain power was loud enough for assembled scribes to hear from behind closed doors.

News of Kidd releasing Scott’s IQ results hit the tabloid fan in Manhattan, which resulted in the usual clearing of the throats, the shuffling of feet and a vow to embrace the philosophy of St. Rodney King, who always has made an effort to, you know, get along if he is not being arrested.

This was hardly the first time Kidd was left to talk out of both sides of his mouth, and hardly an epiphany to those who have been counting the days to Scott’s dismissal. Scott had third-degree burns on his fanny by the time the hot seat was pulled out from under him.

Last June, Kidd wondered if Scott understood the relevance of Tim Duncan, an MVP who often receives the attention of two defenders instead of the one employed by the Nets.

Kidd also wondered about the sparing minutes of Dikembe Mutombo, a Dead Man Collecting a Paycheck who has reprised that function with the Knicks.

Not to question Kidd’s IQ, but he never seemed to notice that the Spurs were a significantly stronger team than the Nets. He also failed to notice the sensitive subject of his .364 shooting percentage in the series.

If Kidd had been able to make a few more shots in a game or two, the series could have been more competitive.

Alas, being able to notice an incriminating shooting percentage is an awful lot to ask of a person who serves the Nets in so many capacities, as president, point guard, strategist and Howard Dean-like primal screamer.

The failure of Scott complemented the failure of Keith Van Horn the preceding June.

If you recall, Van Horn was banished to Philadelphia in an effort to massage the fragile self-esteem of both Kidd and Kenyon Martin, the team’s two leading players.

Think what you want regarding the travails of the Lakers last season, but it never dawned on either Shaquille O’Neal or Kobe Bryant to blame Devean George.

As the team’s two leading players, O’Neal and Bryant merely blamed each other. Their charges were even plausible: O’Neal the fatso and Bryant the ball hog.

Scott, it must be pointed out, was desperate enough to embrace the nothingness of the Nets and turn it into something in the junior varsity ranks of the Eastern Conference. His thanks is the money that is left on the last season of a four-year contract.

Scott won’t end up homeless while he is out of work, and he is certain to be resurrected in the near future.

The NBA leads the nation in recycling its waste matter, mostly because of the understanding that coaches are usually fired out of convenience instead of prudence.

You are not permitted to fire the players, as fitting as that would be with this team of lame ducks awaiting to be whisked from the burial grounds of Jimmy Hoffa.

Kidd, a stealth operator in a bland mask, had 103million reasons to feel emboldened.

He might have looked inward in his quest to empower the Nets, but that would be almost un-American in these self-indulgent, self-obsessed, highly disposable times.


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