After spending $350 million to upgrade their roster last summer, the Nets will start this offseason by looking for a coach. The Brooklyn Nets announced that P.J. Carlesimo wouldn’t return, hours after they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
Carlesimo helped the Nets finish 49-33 after replacing the fired Avery Johnson in December, earning the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.
But they spotted the Bulls a 17-point halftime lead and lost 99-93 at home in Game 7.
”The Nets organization would like to thank P.J. for his efforts with the team in his roles as both head coach and assistant, and for his contributions to the team’s success both off and on the court. We wish P.J. And his family only the very best in the years to come,” director Billy King said in an announcement.
King received a contract extension, but the Nets quickly decided they wanted somebody new on the bench, even after Carlesimo went 35-19 on an interim basis.
The Brooklyn Nets were one of the NBA’s busiest teams last summer. They re-signed starters Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace and traded for Atlanta Hawks All-Star Joe Johnson in the hope of being a contender in their first season in Brooklyn after they were longtime losers in New Jersey. Football odds
They got back to the playoffs for the 1st time since 2007, but expectations were higher, with owner Mikhail Prokhorov saying in the preseason that he thought the Brooklyn Nets could make the conference finals.
”In one sense, I am going to say how far we’ve come from last year, infinitely. But we did not get so far as we would have liked to get,” Carlesimo said Saturday night.
”I think we made big progress from where we were last year and what these guys accomplished this year, but to me it’s a hill. You’re always trying to climb up the hill. You go up; you go back. But we thought we could get higher up the hill than we got.”
The Nets won 12 of their first 14 under Carlesimo and went 10-3 down the stretch to earn home-court advantage in the first round. They fell behind 3-1 against Chicago, and their comeback came up short Saturday as they tried to become the 9th NBA team to overcome that deficit and win a series.
Phil Jackson was the Nets’ priority after firing Johnson, and they may try to make a run at him now.
It was clear the Nets, despite boosting their talent roster, need to fill it with more passion. Given the money they have committed to the current group, it will be difficult to change the players, so they may need a coach who can bring that out of them.
They couldn’t match the effort of the Bulls, who played harder to make up for the absences of starters Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich during the series.
Carlesimo has a career record of 239-315, also serving as a head coach with Portland Trail Blazers, Golden State and Seattle / Oklahoma City Thunder.