|Thursday, July 10
Updated: July 11, 5:24 PM ET
Thorn said no demands were ever made
ESPN.com news services
Rod Thorn denied it. Jason Kidd denied it. Even Jason Kidd's wife is denying it.
Kidd and his wife, Journana, told ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher that the request was never made during a meeting with Kidd's agent, team owners and Thorn, the Nets president.
Thorn also denied the report in a statement released late Thursday afternoon.
"I want to categorically refute the story in several of today's papers that Jason Kidd demanded that Nets head coach Byron Scott be fired as a pre-condition to his returning with the New Jersey Nets basketball team," read Thorn's statement. "I want to state emphatically that at no time, in any conversation that I have had with Jason, has he demanded that coach Scott be fired.
"In my over four decades in the NBA, I have never encountered a player more cognizant than Jason of the delineation of roles between management, players and coaches. Jason fully understands that management, and not players, decide who will be employed by the team. I want to reiterate that this was an erroneous story without merit -- Jason Kidd has never asked nor demanded that coach Scott be fired, and to be portrayed otherwise is an injustice to Jason as well as coach Scott."
Scott, who was in Canada speaking to children at a basketball camp, told the London (Ontario) Free Press he was "very surprised" by the reports and that he and Kidd "always got along."
"That's all I'm going to say about that," Scott said.
According to a report in Thursday's New York Post, several league sources said Kidd would only return to the Nets if Scott was fired. The newspaper also says Kidd demanded that the team upgrade its talent.
Neither Kidd nor Thorn were quoted by the Post.
Agent Brian McInerney, who has represented Scott since his playing days as a Laker, told the Post that he spoke with Kidd's agent, Jeff Schwartz, after learning of the player's demands.
"I [talk] to Jeff Schwartz frequently and we both believe that whatever is decided should be decided in a professional manner and not in a public debate," McInerney told the newspaper Wednesday night. "I doubt the validity of this meeting without an official comment from Rod Thorn.
"These releases harm the franchise, harm the players, harm players' families. Everything should only be released through Rod Thorn."
According to one of the tabloid's sources, Kidd told ownership that his complaint stems from Scott's in-game coaching. After the Nets lost the NBA Finals in six games -- Scott was criticized for his fourth-quarter adjustments -- sources told the Post that Kidd told New Jersey's brass his son "T.J. could have coached a better quarter."
Scott wasn't buying it. Asked by the Post if he sensed any ill feelings or animosity from Kidd in their two seasons together, Scott quickly said, "No, not at all."
The two have appeared to be able to work together in the past and, according to the Post's account, have had an amicable relationship away from the court. But during the season there were rumblings of a rift, that Kidd disapproved of Scott's coaching decisions.