The next step in Jason Kidd's Nets comeback is the assembly of a staff ... and in particular the choice of a lead assistant. The Nets think that eventually Lawrence Frank will come aboard, but the former head coach of the Nets and Pistons has yet to say yes. He will be paid $1.5 million this season and next by the Pistons as part of his buyout and wanted to take this year off, to explore media possibilities and give some time to his family, who stayed behind in New Jersey. Whether a head coach or assistant (more likely associate head coach), the job means 150 days away from home.
Who else is out there? In an interview with Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts Friday, Billy King said,
"That's the process now. Jason and I are going through and talking to potential candidates for the assistant coaching job, guys that we've targeted. We're going to reach out to them, talk to them. Its interesting some of the names that are out there, some are true, some are false. but we're going to try to move as quickly as we can to get a staff in place for him, a staff that can assist him and help him and complement his positive attributes and then in areas where he's weak, give him even more assistance."
Don't be surprised if you start to see announcements this coming week. The Draft is looming, as is summer league and free agency, all of which can be helped by input from veteran assistants.
Here are some names that have been tossed around this week
Lawrence Frank, 42, head coach of the Nets from 2004-2009, the winningest coach in Nets history with 225 wins (to go with 241 losses). Began his Nets career with 14 straight wins after leading a mutiny against Byron Scott, ended it with 16 straight losses in the Nets record-setting losing streak at the beginning of 2009-10. Great with x's and o's and defense. When he took over the defensive assignment from Tom Thibodeau in Boston, the Celtics actually improved. A former assistant with the Grizzlies and Nets.
Tim Grgurich, 71, a head coach at UNLV and an assistant over the years to the Sonics, Trail Blazers, Suns, Bucks Nuggets and Mavericks. His most recent gig was in Dallas, where he was hired by fellow Pittsburgher Mark Cuban. Grgurich at one point was the league's highest paid assistant because of his training skills and defensive innovations. Worked with George Karl in Seattle, Milwaukee and Denver. Won NCAA championship with UNLV as an assistant under Jerry Tarkanian. (Pronounced GUR-gur-ich).
Ettore Messina, 53, Europe's most successful coach, having just won the Russian League title, his fifth, with CSKA Moscow, to go along with four Euroleague titles, four Italian league titles, and various cups. Two years ago, he spent a year as Mike Brown's assistant in Los Angeles. His specialty is offense. A favorite of Mikhail Prokhorov, who hired him at CSKA Moscow. He is also close with Prokhorov's chief sports adviser, Sergei Kushchenko. Kushchenko, now a member of the Nets board of directors, was CSKA's GM when Messina was coach. Has two more years on his CSKA contract but reports indicate that they won't stop him from leaving.
Dave Wohl, 63, Nets head coach in 1985-1987, he compiled a 65-114 record including a playoff trip in 1985. He also played for the Nets in 1976-78. Wohl has spent 30 years as an assistant coach or front office type in the NBA with various teams: Boston (2004-05 - 2006-07), Orlando (1999-00 - 2003-04), L.A. Clippers (1993-94), L.A. Lakers (1982-83- 1984-85, 1998-99), Miami (1989-90- 1990-91) and Sacramento (1992-93). As an assistant coach under Pat Riley, Wohl was a member of the Lakers' 1985 NBA Championship team. From 1995-97, Wohl was the Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Miami Heat. Now an analyst with ESPN. Last week, he endorsed the Nets hiring of Kidd.
Bob Thate, 65, Nets shooting coach, or more specifically Kidd's shooting coach, from 2005-2008. Thate started working with the Nets in 2004 at the request of Lawrence Frank, Thate worked last season as a shooting coach with the Clippers, gaining some notoriety for helping Kidd with his mechanics just before the Knicks-Clippers game on March 18. A California high school shooting legend, Thate is credited with helping Kidd develop a three point shot. By the time he retired, Kidd was third all-time in three-pointers, behind only Ray Allen and Reggie Miller. The three point shooting helped extend Kidd's career. With the Clippers, he worked with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan on their foul shooting. It worked with Griffin, but not Jordan.
Kerry Kittles, 39, one of the Nets all-time favorites. Beset by knee injuries throughout his career, he still helped the Nets get to the finals in 2002 and 2003. Rumors persist that he is interested in returning to the sport in a player development capacity. After retiring, Kittles obtained an MBA and works for Ledgemont Capital as a merchant banking associate.
The Nets will also have to make decisions on their own staff, starting with assistant coaches Popeye Jones, Mario Elie, Patrick Spurgin and Doug Overton. The latter two are more likely to stay on but that decision will rest with Kidd.
- Lawrence Frank offered chance to be on Brooklyn Nets' staff - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York