With the Milwaukee Bucks underperforming compared to preseason expectations, and the clock ticking on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s time in their small market, the team fired Coach Jason Kidd on Monday.
The somewhat unexpected move — which came on the 50th anniversary of the N.B.A. awarding a franchise to Milwaukee — leaves a team currently in line for the eighth playoff seed in the Eastern Conference looking for a new coach who can get more out of a talent-laden roster led by Antetokounmpo.
Joe Prunty, one of Kidd’s assistants, will coach the team in Monday night’s game against the Phoenix Suns.
Shortly after an ESPN report said the move was imminent, the Bucks made the news official with a news release.
“We appreciate everything that Jason has done for the Bucks organization, but we have decided to make a coaching change,” Bucks General Manager Jon Horst said in the statement. “We believe that a fresh approach and a change in leadership are needed to continue elevating our talented team toward the next level, bringing us closer to our goal of competing for championships.”
Beyond Antetokounmpo, the Bucks have several intriguing young players including Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton and last year’s Rookie of the Year, Malcolm Brogdon. Bledsoe, who was acquired in an in-season trade with Phoenix, has the unusual distinction of having played for two teams this season that fired their coaches before the All-Star break.