MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee Bucks "relieved Jason Kidd from his head coaching duties," according to a team release Monday. The news was first reported by ESPN.
GM Jon Horst said Monday night the decision was made to fire Kidd "relatively quickly."
"At the end of the day, we believe this gives our team the best opportunity to have the most success this season, the success that we expect and going forward long-term," Horst said. "You have short windows in the NBA to build towards contention and actually contend, and we don't want to waste time in putting our team in the best position to do that."
Assistant Coach Joe Prunty will serve as interim head coach, a role he has filled before in Kidd's absences during health and personal issues.
Kidd was in his fourth season at the helm in Milwaukee and compiled a 139-152 record, reaching the first round of the NBA Playoffs in the 2014-15 and 2016-17 seasons. Fans and critics thought the Bucks underachieved during Kidd's time coaching Milwaukee, which has a mediocre 23-22 record through the first 45 games of the 2017-18 season.
"This was not something that was pre-meditated or in the balance for most of the season," Horst said. "We just felt like we got to a point in the season where we felt that this team could do more. It could perform at a different level in a different way. And we're looking for a kind of a fresh approach and different voice and leadership for the team."
The Bucks entered this season with high expectations after a NBA playoff appearance last season and bringing most of their young team back. But Milwaukee has dropped four of its last five contests and was just barely above .500 going into Monday night's game with a season record od 23-22.
"When you make a evaluation and a major decision like this, you evaluate and consider all things," Horst said. "I'm not going to sit here and point at specific things that went into our evaluation, but team performance is obviously one of those things."
Horst said management met with the team to inform them of the news, but players like Eric Bledsoe were made aware by the media in the locker room before tip-off with the Suns Monday night.
"You know, it's unfortunate. You know, he helped me kind of establish myself in the league as a player and getting an opportunity to play, so we're gonna miss him, especially just his presence and his basketball mind." said Bucks center/forward John Henson. "I don't think anyone saw it coming, but you know, that's the league. That's how it is. It's up to us to kind of bond together, staff and the players to kind of do this for him and work at it hard and keep winning."
Reports also surfaced Monday that Kidd didn't even find out the news first-hand from Bucks management. Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo was reportedly devastated by the news and looked for a way to defend his coach's job.