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NBA: Jason Kidd is ousted by struggling Bucks

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Bucks coach Jason Kidd looks on during a game against the Washington Wizards on Jan. 15.
(Nick Wass / Associated Press)

The Milwaukee Bucks fired coach Jason Kidd on Monday amid a midseason slide that has left the playoff hopefuls in eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

It was a surprising end to Kidd’s 31/2-season tenure with the Bucks, who twice reached the playoffs under his leadership. Giannis Antetokounmpo turned into an All-Star under his watch, and the Bucks were considered an emerging force in the East at the start of the season.

But the Bucks had lost four of five to fall to 23-22 going into Monday night’s home game against the Phoenix Suns and had been prone to defensive lapses. Assistant Joe Prunty served as head coach.

General manager Jon Horst, who was promoted from director of basketball operations in June, said it was time for a change and that the move was made with “unanimous support of ownership.”

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Under Kidd, a former All-Star, the Bucks had a regular-season record of 139-152.

“We appreciate everything that Jason has done for the Bucks organization, but we have decided to make a coaching change,” Horst said. “We believe that a fresh approach and a change in leadership are needed to continue elevating our talented team toward the next level, bringing us closer to our goal of competing for championships.”

The Bucks are hoping to get Jabari Parker back from a left knee injury that has kept him out all season. But the Bucks have largely tread water in the wide-open East even after adding talented guard Eric Bledsoe in a trade with the Suns in November.

Milwaukee was 8-12 since climbing a season-high five games above .500 on Dec. 9.

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