P.J. Carlesimo's contract extends through June 30, but don't expect the Nets to wait that long to address his fate. It's more likely that the team's ownership and management will look at other candidates ... and quickly. Teams who didn't make the playoffs are already interviewing prospective head coaches and the Nets won't want to be left behind.
Although Carlesimo has the backing of some of the Nets top players and a gawdy 35-19 interim record, others including starter Gerald Wallace have expressed confusion over their role. In fact, Wallace, Mirza Teletovic, MarShon Brooks and Tyshawn Taylor have all publicly stated to some degree that they didn't feel they got a chance under Carlesimo. It's no secret that ownership wants to see better player development out of the Nets.
Who's likely to replace Carlesimo? Here are some suggestions, broken down by current employment...
Here's some possibilities.
--Former NBA coaches: Phil Jackson of the Bulls and Lakers needs no introduction, but does he want to coach again? Not likely; Nate McMillan of the Trail Blazers (who's also been an assistant coach of Team USA); Jerry Sloan (he wants back in the game, but with Deron Williams again? D-Will has said nice things about his playbook lately), Mike Dunleavy Sr. (Brooklyn native and former Clipper coach and GM); Stan Van Gundy, late of Orlando, who has said he's not interested and may want to take another year off anyway.
--TV commentators: Jeff Van Gundy (happy he's away from all the pressure, but good on defense and with big men); Mike Fratello (knows the team and has spent last two summers coaching Team Ukraine ... 666 NBA wins)
--Assistant coaches: Brian Shaw, Phil Jackson acolyte with rings and toughness who's now in Indiana; Mike Budenholzer, Gregg Popovich's top assistant who now appears ready to strike out on his own and has already interviewed with the Pistons; Dave Joerger, the Memphis assistant who keeps missing out on big jobs after stellar career in D-League; Kelvin Sampson of the Rockets has gotten some play in rumors lately but who the Nets profess no real interest and wonder where the reports are coming from.
--CSKA connections: Ettore Messina, coached CSKA Moscow to two Euroleague championships when Prokhorov owned them, later an assistant with Lakers and now back with CSKA; Quin Snyder, Lakers assistant who followed Messina to Moscow and has had interviews for big jobs; David Blatt; an American citizen who has coached Team Russia and several European clubs.
--Long shots: D-Will's favorite coach is Team USA and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, who has the perfect gig in Durham and he knows it; John Calipari, friendly with most of the Nets hierarchy, most prominently Brett Yormark. He appears committed to Kentucky, if not as much as Coach K is committed to Duke. And there's ALWAYS Larry Brown, who's now coaching at SMU. Brown mentored KIng when the two worked for the Pacers.
- P.J. Carlesimo has backing of his top players - Rod Boone - Newsday
- P.J. Carlesimo likely coached his last game with Brooklyn Nets - Filip Bondy - New York Daily News
- Deron, Brook P.J. fans - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
P.J. Carlesimo's future with Brooklyn Nets uncertain - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York