Despite of high-profile names like Phil Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy being tossed around, Brooklyn Nets General Manager Billy King says that he has “not made contact with any person” about becoming the permanent replacement for latterly fired head coach Avery Johnson.
King claimed while in an interview the team “supports” interim coach P.J. Carlesimo and will “re-evaluate” things moving forward, while deflecting questions on Jackson by continually saying “P.J.’s our coach.”
“We’ve put our support behind (P.J.) and then we’ll take a look at things and evaluate it later,” King said. “I know people have been throwing lists together and things like that, but we’ve not contacted anyone. … We’ve made the move and now we’re going to let P.J. Coach.”
While King didn’t want to put an agenda on anything, he did suggest that Carlesimo could possibly finish out the season, calling it “a great opportunity” for Johnson’s former assistant, who has several years of NBA head coaching experience under his belt with 3 other franchises.
Sources said that the Nets have made Jackson, an 11-time NBA coaching champion, their top target to replace Johnson on a permanent basis. But when King was asked about when he was going to contact Jackson, he replied, “I don’t know exactly how many times I can say it or Mikhail can say it. P.J.’s our coach. We are gonna let him coach and then re- evaluate things. I know Mikhail said it about 10 times when he was asked, and I’ve been saying it, and I think people just keep dismissing what we say.”
Prokhorov spent $330 million to improve the Nets’ roster in the offseason and said a successful 1st season in Brooklyn would be defined by a visit to the Eastern Conference finals. Given those high expectations – the Nets are in the 3rd-year of Prokhorov’s 5-year championship plan – it seems reasonable the Nets would contact the most important names on the market.
Carlesimo, who is 2-0 since taking over for Johnson with wins over the Bobcats and Cavaliers, said he believes the possibility of retaining the job for the rest of the season is “available” to him. Carlesimo had a fancy lunch meeting in New York City with Prokhorov, but declined to discuss about specifics of what was said about his future.
“Sometimes you just need a different voice,” King said. “What I like about P.J. Is he’s had NBA head coaching experience. I think he understands the game, he has been around it.” Basketball betting lines
King believes this is a good time to give Carlesimo an opportunity to lead the team.
“More than anything, you simply need to calm the waters and let guys breathe as a group and try and gel,” King said, “because if we are in the middle of a search, the chaos just continues.
Van Gundy is held in high regard by the Nets, a league source expounded, but he needs to learn more about the organization before determining his level of interest in the job. He also would like taking over after the season, not during it, the source claimed.