We've known that Jay Z would have to sell his part-ownership stake in the Brooklyn Nets since April, when Yahoo Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the rapper and mogul had decided to expand the Roc Nation Sports management concern he co-created with the powerful Creative Artists Agency into representing NBA players like three-time scoring champion Kevin Durant. But as Jay has spent the last few months both "Magna Carta Holy Grail"-ing around and securing deals with athletes like New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz and New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith, among others, questions persisted about who would take his spot (however large it might be) in the Nets' ownership group.
On Wednesday, The New York Post's Page Six column reported a result few likely expected: that the shares will pass from one Jay to another, first-year Nets head coach Jason Kidd.
We’re told Kidd will take over Jay’s .067 percent (1/15th of a percent) stake in the team for about $500,000. [...]
A source told us, “Other owners want to give Jason a part ownership of the team, and urged Jay to sell his shares to him.” [...] We’re told that, unlike Jay, the coach owning minority shares in the team would not be seen as a conflict of interest.
Just how much of Jay's stake Kidd will actually purchase — and, apparently, the size of the piece the artist/businessman/business, man actually holds — remain unclear, however, according to follow-up reporting from SB Nation Nets blog NetsDaily citing a source with "knowledge of the transaction" who says Kidd will buy "half the entertainer's shares" in the team:
According to the source, Jay Z controlled 0.1608 percent of the Nets, or roughly 1/6 of 1 percent through Nets Sports and Entertainment (not 1/15th of one percent, as reported by the Times last year and the Post Wednesday.) [...] Jay Z, whose name is Shawn Carter, suggested during his opening night concert at Barclays Center that the real number was higher than what the Times' David Halbfinger had reported. He has never revealed the specific number.
The source said that Jay Z had originally planned to sell half his shares to another suitor, but that Kidd asked he sell the stake to him. The transaction would close the circle for Jay Z and J-Kidd. It was Kidd who reportedly was the first to suggest that Jay Z buy into the Nets 10 years ago. That conversation took place at Kidd's 30th birthday party, held at Jay Z's 40/40 Club in Manhattan, according to reports. Not long after, Jay Z met with Bruce Ratner. There are conflicting accounts as to how much Jay Z paid initially with one report suggesting $100,000, another $400,000.
As for a potential conflict, the source said there is none, that coaches can own part of a team. Players cannot.
It's not unheard of for a coach to hold an ownership stake in a team. Pat Riley famously carved out a piece of the Miami Heat when he moved south from the New York Knicks in the mid-1990s before reportedly selling it in 2006. More recently, Eduardo Najera became an ownership partner when the D-League's Texas Legends made him their head coach, and a piece of the franchise was reportedly one of the sticking points in last fall's disintegrating negotiations between Phil Jackson and the Los Angeles Lakers. It is rare, though, and somewhat surprising when you consider that it puts Kidd — who, you'll recall, got the Nets coaching job literally days after retiring as an active player — in this sort of sentence alongside legendary names like Riley and Jackson before he's manned the sidelines for anything more than a Summer League affair.
That said, you could argue that it's very much of a piece with the Nets' approach to Kidd from the second he hung up his high-tops — you're arguably the greatest player in franchise history, a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer and the most visible/available tether to our organization's last period of sustained success, so let's get you in the door and on the bench. Let's get your face up on posters and in front of cameras, and your jersey up in the rafters (maybe), to make a splash and reconnect past fans with the present franchise ... and yeah, OK, sure, let's deepen our mutual investment by giving you a piece of the pie, because we want you all-in and on-board as we try to win a title right flippin' now, and we want everyone to know that we take care of our own.
A sale this small probably wouldn't wind up having any actual impact on the Nets organization if neither the seller nor buyer were famous, instantly recognizable people, but they are, so it moves the interest needle at least a bit, and it adds even more altitude to a meteoric post-playing rise that has seen Kidd skyrocket from nothing-left reserve to head coach of an extremely expensive burgeoning glamour franchise and now to a part (however small) of Mikhail Prokhorov's group.
Kidd's gone from labor to ownership in less than three months, with daily responsibility for and control over the actual on-court product, to boot. It'd be hard to remember the last owner to have that kind of sway with that small a piece of the pie ... if it wasn't for the guy Kidd's reportedly cashing out, of course.