Nets insiders in Moscow and New Jersey won't comment on a report in the Russian media last week that the Nets and Ettore Messina had had "preliminary talks" and had "reached a mutual understanding on the most fundamental issues." The Nets reportedly want to hire Messina as an assistant coach next season.
Messina coached Mikhail Prokhorov's CSKA Moscow to two Euroleague championships in five years. He quit Real Madrid last week and indicated to Sports Illustrated's Ian Thomsen that he'd be interested in signing on as an NBA assistant. Messina, who will spend eight days with the Spurs (and his protege, Manu Ginobili) later this month, told Thomsen how much he enjoyed working with CSKA...and presumably Prokhorov.