Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Demotion of Lawrence Frank: What It Means

It has just been reported that Lawrence Frank, the assistant coach for the Brooklyn Nets, has been demoted. Frank, the highest paid assistant coach in the National Basketball Association, has been reassigned to a scouting role where he will do "daily reports". Frank will not be sitting on the bench during games, nor will he be at Nets practices. Frank is signed on to be the Nets assistant coach for the next 6 years, raking in over a million dollars a year. It is reported that the Nets are going to move assistant Joe Prunty, the head coach of Great Britain, to Frank's spot.

Frank was the coach of the New Jersey Nets, coaching Jason Kidd, and is historically known for winning his first thirteen games as a head coach. Frank was actually the coach that Jason Kidd favored, back to the days in Jersey. As it is widely known, Jason Kidd and then-coach Byron Scott developed differences and when Scott was fired, Frank was tabbed as the new head coach. The two made a playoff run together, though were not very successful.  Frank was also the "defensive coordinator" on the Celtics while Doc Rivers was the coach and he was more recently the coach of the Detroit Pistons. Frank was hired to be the defensive coordinator for this Nets team, whose primary concern going into this season, was a lack of toughness and defensive mindsets. With the Nets having one of the worst defenses in basketball along with a growing "friction" between Kidd and Frank's basketball ideologies, Frank has been demoted.

Now, what does all this mean? It had been reported for weeks that Frank and Kidd had ideological differences regarding how the team should play. Clearly the differences grew to be too strong that Kidd felt that Frank needed to be moved. Although still a part of the team, this is absolutely a demotion. The question remains, why now? The Nets are currently 5-12, coming off a win against the Grizzlies. The Nets had been without Brook Lopez for much of the season and are still missing Deron Williams, Jason Terry and Andrei Kirilenko. While the defense is performing terribly, the timing of this move does not make a lot of sense nor does Jason Kidd deserve the ability to make such a decision. Though Kidd is the head coach of this team, Frank is a vital asset. Beyond the fact that Lawrence Frank knows the X's and O's of basketball as well as anyone, he also has connections with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. It is undeniable that Garnett and Pierce have looked out of sorts this year and one could attribute to the fact that they are both still transitioning to the move to Brooklyn. For this reason, is why the Frank hiring seemed so logical. Frank helped Pierce and Garnett anchor those great defenses in Boston.

Beyond his connection with Frank, Kidd also persuaded King and persuaded Frank to become the assistant coach. Frank had an offer to be a top assistant for Doc Rivers with the Clippers, but the money and the persuasion by Kidd led Frank to choose the Nets. Now, after only 17 gamss, Kidd has moved Frank.

The question as to why Kidd has the ability to make such a move, must be questioned. Kidd has so far done a poor job as coach of the Nets. They are 5-12, hovering near the basement in the Eastern Conference and have played many games with an apparent lack of energy and heart. Furthermore, this is Kidd's first coaching job, while Frank has been coaching for over ten years. Beyond this, financially, Frank is now being paid over a million dollars to simply do "daily reports". Would all this be happening if the Nets hired an established coach like Lionel Hollins, George Karl, or Jeff Van Gundy? You tell me.

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