jason kidd (nets)*Just like that Jason Kidd goes from player to coach.

Kidd, who just retired after 19 years as a player in the NBA, was hired to coach the Brooklyn Nets the franchise he led to its greatest NBA success.

“Yes, I have a lot to learn about coaching,” Kidd said, but when he was playing as a point guard, “I felt like I was an extension of the coach.”

And here’s what Kidd says is his message to the team’s players:

“You’ve got to play hard, you’ve got to play defense and we’re going to grow together.”

Jason Kidd replaces P.J. Carlesimo who was let go after leading the Nets into the playoffs, where they lost to the Chicago Bulls in the first round. He went 35-19 after replacing Avery Johnson, who was fired in December.

The move reunites the 40-year-old Kidd with the franchise he led to consecutive NBA Finals in 2002-03, when they played in New Jersey. He spent 6 1/2 seasons with the Nets, averaging 14.6 points, 9.1 assists and 7.2 rebounds, and is their career leader in numerous statistical categories. He spent last season with the New York Knicks.

On another interesting note, Kidd also has a court date next week on Long Island stemming from a drunken-driving arrest last year. He has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor DWI and is due in Southampton Town Court on June 20, according to the Suffolk County prosecutors’ office.

Nets general manager Billy King said he’s not concerned about Jason Kidd’s lack of experience on the bench and that any hire is a risk. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.