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Nets Talked With Jeff Bower; Interested in Joe Dumars Too

Is Mikhail Prokhorov thinking big again?

The Nets spoke Saturday with Hornets GM Jeff Bower about their soon to be open GM job. Al Iannazzone reports both Bower and Dumars were interviewed, but in an email to the Detroit Free Press, Dumars denies it. Still, there seems little doubt the Nets are interested in the Hall of Famer.  Thunder GM Sam Presti is also a candidate to replace Rod Thorn.

Bower has been Hornets GM since 2005. He rebuilt the team through Hurricane Katrina and temporary move to Oklahoma City. Then, he had to make deep cuts as the team was put up for sale. The season before he took over, the Hornets won 18 games.  Three years later, led by Chris Paul, they won 56, then 49.

Although Bower gets kudos for keeping Paul and David West happy and making some smart trades, his draft record has been at best spotty, taking Hilton Armstrong, Cedric Simmons and Julian Wright with picks between #12 and #15. On the other hand, he grabbed Darren Collison at #22 last year. Like Kiki Vandeweghe, he was given the coaching reins in mid-season and won only 37 games with Paul out a good part of the year.

Dumars had success in Detroit, winning a championship in 2004 and being named Executive of the year the season before.  But he's been maligned for his use of cap space last summer, signing Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva to big deals. He also signed Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince to long term contracts that are now seen as burdens. His big promoter in Detroit, owner Bill Davidson, died last year and the team is now up for sale. The Free Press reports that although Dumars denied the Saturday meeting, he did not respond to emails asking if he has been contacted by the Nets or whether he planned to talk to them in the future. Later, Freep's Vince Ellis reported the Nets are indeed interested.

Adrian Wojnarowski says Thorn's No. 2, Bobby Marks, is also gaining "strong traction and internal support," while Fred Kerber reports that Marks and Presti "have been leading the field."  Meanwhile, Dave D'Alessandro reports that Avery Johnson may not be happy with Bower, who may have had a hand in sabotaging Johnson's chances for the Hornets job. Dave D also reports that Johnson may hire yet another former head coach as an assistant.  After interviewing Eric Musselman (Kings and Warriors) last month, the team will talk to Larry Krystowiak (Bucks) this week.