(Reuters) - The Milwaukee Bucks fired head coach Larry Drew on Monday, leaving the way clear for the widely anticipated move by Jason Kidd from the Brooklyn Nets as his replacement.
Drew, who went a dismal 15-67 in his first season in Milwaukee, had two years left on his contract with the struggling Bucks.
"Despite the challenging season, Larry always handled himself and represented the Bucks in a first-class manner," Bucks general manager John Hammond said in a statement.
"Larry did the best he could in a difficult situation, especially given all of our injuries. I want to thank Larry for all of his efforts, and we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors."
According to multiple media reports, the 41-year-old Kidd is expected to move to Milwaukee after going 44-38 in his first season in charge of the Nets, where he had sought increased power over the basketball operations but was rebuffed.
A 10-time All Star during a glittering 19-year career as a point guard, Kidd was hired by the Nets as their head coach 12 months ago, soon after his retirement as a player.
Kidd had a successful playing stint with the Nets from 2001-2008, which featured successive appearances in the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003, and was renowned for his intelligence, game management and leadership.
Milwaukee's new ownership team of Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens met Kidd in New York on Friday, just one day after the 2014 NBA draft.
Kidd, who is friendly with Lasry, had been poised to enter the second season of a four-year, $10.5 million deal with the Nets.
Under his guidance, the team won their opening playoff round against the Toronto Raptors before losing to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
Should Kidd move to Milwaukee, he will face a daunting challenge in his bid to turn things around for the Bucks, who ended last season rock bottom in the 15-team Eastern Conference standings.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)