NBA: Milwaukee Bucks sack head coach Jason Kidd

Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd (centre) speaking with centre John Henson (#31) during their NBA match against the Charlotte Hornets on Nov 1, 2017. The Bucks fired Kidd on Jan 22, 2018, after he spent three-and-a-half seasons at the helm.
Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd (centre) speaking with centre John Henson (#31) during their NBA match against the Charlotte Hornets on Nov 1, 2017. The Bucks fired Kidd on Jan 22, 2018, after he spent three-and-a-half seasons at the helm.PHOTO: AFP

MILWAUKEE (REUTERS) - The Milwaukee Bucks fired head coach Jason Kidd after three-plus seasons, the team announced on Monday (Jan 22).

Bucks assistant coach Joe Prunty will serve as head coach for Monday night's home game against the Phoenix Suns at the BMO Harris Bradley Centre.

"We appreciate everything that Jason has done for the Bucks organisation, but we have decided to make a coaching change," Bucks general manager Jon Horst said in a statement.

"We believe that a fresh approach and a change in leadership are needed to continue elevating our talented team towards the next level, bringing us closer to our goal of competing for championships.

"Jason led a historic turnaround during his first season and would guide our team to two play-off appearances. He also played a meaningful role in helping to keep the Bucks in Milwaukee. We thank him for all of his contributions and wish him the best."

The Bucks are 23-22 overall and currently sit in the eighth and final play-off spot in the Eastern Conference despite a roster that includes one of the top young stars in the National Basketball Association (NBA) in All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo and recent trade acquisition Eric Bledsoe.

According to ESPN, Kidd said Antetokounmpo called him about 15 minutes before the coach officially learned of his firing, telling Kidd "this isn't right"and asking what he could do to prevent it.

Kidd said he told him, "There's nothing you can do. All you can do is tell the truth. That's it."

ESPN also reported that Kidd said his firing was "handled wrong" but he was thankful for his time with the Bucks, adding he had "no regrets".

The Bucks had lost four of their last five games entering Monday's home game against the Suns.

In Kidd's three-and-a-half seasons as head coach, the Bucks had a regular-season record of 139-152 and reached the first round of the NBA play-offs in the 2014-15 and 2016-17 seasons.

Kidd, 44, spent his first season after retiring as a player as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, going 44-38 and getting to the second round of the play-offs in the 2013-14 season.

He left for the Bucks job in 2014 and has a 183-190 career NBA coaching record.

Kidd is a 2018 nominee for the Basketball Hall of Fame after a 19-season playing career in the NBA, during which he was a 10-time All-Star.