Milwaukee Bucks: Jon Horst, Joe Prunty hold press conference about Jason Kidd firing

MILWAUKEE, WI - JUNE 19: (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - JUNE 19: (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images) /

At a press conference on Monday evening, Milwaukee Bucks general manager Jon Horst and interim coach Joe Prunty discussed the Jason Kidd firing.

With news having emerged of the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to fire Jason Kidd as head coach on Monday afternoon, the proximity to the team’s game against the Phoenix Suns at the Bradley Center left little time for everyone to decompress.

As such, less than two hours after releasing an official statement and a letter to the fans explaining the decision, Jon Horst addressed the assembled media in Milwaukee on the day’s major announcement.

Explaining the process involved in reaching the final decision, Horst was at pains to emphasize that this was a decision that was arrived at suddenly rather than one that was stewed over for a long period of time.

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"“We made this decision relatively quickly. Why now? We believe this gives our team the best opportunity to have the most success this season. The success we expect, and going forward long-term. You have short windows in the NBA to build towards contention, and actually contend, and we don’t want to waste time in doing that.”"

With the indication from Horst being that the team’s performance wasn’t in line with expectations for the current season and longer term, the Bucks’ first year general manager revealed that he had recommended the change to the team’s ownership group before the final decision was reached.

"“I evaluated this, made a recommendation, ultimately made a decision and had unanimous support from ownership on this. That’s the way we come to all of our decisions and conclusions.”"

With Kidd having departed, the focus of most now shifts to what happens next for the Bucks. Reports differed on just how long-term Prunty’s role as interim coach would be, but Horst did move to clarify the team’s timeline somewhat.

According to the GM, the Bucks will have a concrete plan in place before Friday’s clash with the Brooklyn Nets, whether that involves Prunty continuing in his role or any other options being explored. Ultimately, Milwaukee is set on searching for a new, permanent head coach in the summer, though.

"“Joe Prunty is going to coach tonight’s game, and we have another game on Friday, in between that time we have a plan we’ll put in place to kind of lay out for the rest of the season. And we’ll go into the summer and have an extensive coaching search, and hopefully find a great coach for this organization, of which Joe Prunty has every opportunity to be a part of based on what happens going forward.”"

Pressed one last time on the timing of Kidd’s firing arriving in-season and within the regular flow of games, Horst responded:

"“I think a general manager in the NHL had a statement once of, ‘If something is inevitable, why wait?’ And so I think we’ve come to a conclusion that this was the best thing for the future of the franchise and that this was the time.”"

After Horst finished his address to the media, interim head coach Joe Prunty stepped in to give his thoughts on the day’s events and on the game ahead for his team.

Firstly, Prunty commented on the obvious impact the news has had on him, the coaching staff and the players, and how that has broken up their regular gameday routine.

"“I think it’s been a shock for all of us, but one of the things is we have to prepare for a game that’s going to happen here in about 70 minutes. So you do your normal prep, you get ready for the game and when something like this happens, things change a little bit. As John said, we’ll coach tonight in a fashion that we’ve done before, so that part of it is good as there is familiarity there. But there is a change and obviously that can be difficult too.”"

The former coach of the Great Britain national team continued, noting that his team has a job to do in spite of the natural and obvious emotion that his players will be feeling going into the game. Most importantly, Prunty remained convinced his players will be able to keep their minds on the task at hand.

"“That’s what professionalism is. You have your job to do, you show up and do it under any circumstances. It is emotional. There’s a personal element to this.”"

Finally, and perhaps most interestingly of all, when asked about the reasons for the team’s struggles of late, Prunty provided an answer that was much more grounded in tangible elements of the game than many of Kidd’s recent answers prior to his dismissal.

Prunty stressed recent turnover difficulties as partly responsible for the team’s dip in form, as well as continued struggles with producing a consistent effort.

"“I think the bottom line is — and we’ve talked about this as a staff — we’ve been consistently inconsistent. Recently one of the things that’s crept in has been the turnovers. We’ve been a very good turnover team — I think we’re sixth in the league — but that’s hurt us. On both sides of the ball, we have to be better. We have to be sharper. Defensively, we’ve got to get our assignments right consistently, it’s not just one possession.”"

Next: Win In 6 Podcast #178: Goodbye, Jason Kidd

The Bucks tip-off against the Suns at 7pm, as all eyes will be on how Prunty and his players react.