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Amick: Jackson, Van Gundy, McMillan, Dunleavy on Nets' list, not Sampson

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Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

Phil Jackson remains the Nets' top choice as a replacement for Avery Johnson, writes Sam Amick, but former NBA head coaches Jeff Van Gundy, Nate McMillan and Mike Dunleavy Sr. are also on the Nets short list. Quoting a "person with knowledge of the Nets plans," Amick writes:

The list includes Jackson, Van Gundy, former Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan and longtime head coach Mike Dunleavy (Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, Portland, Los Angeles Clippers for 17 seasons in all). Despite reports to the contrary, the person said that Houston assistant Kelvin Sampson is not currently on the list.

Amick devoted much of his story to the possibility that the Nets might want to talk with Van Gundy, but the former Knicks and Rockets coach says he isn't interested because P.J. Carlesimo has the job, even if only on an interim basis. He also pointed to another reason why Van Gundy might want to wait till the summer to discuss the Nets job. His daughter is finishing up high school this year.

Several reporters have pointed to negative comments Van Gundy made about Deron Williams prior to the Knicks game on ESPN.

You could easily argue that Raymond Felton is having a better year than Deron. I’m trying to figure out how this guy, who was among the very best point guards, is shooting the ball so poorly — and it’s not just this year. I mean, does he work at it? For all we’ve heard lately from him by way of explanations, eventually shouldn’t you look in the mirror?"

As for Carlesimo, Amick reported that the same person told him the Nets are willing to wait until the offseason to find a new coach "if the right name is not there,"

Amick wasn't the only NBA reporter to opine on the Nets coaching search. Ric Bucher, late of ESPN and now with NBC Sports, spoke to a Boston radio station from the Celtics game in Oakland. Bucher is not optimistic that the Nets and Jackson can come to a deal.

I don't see it. from the people I've talked to who are close to Phil. They're saying he is not interested in a shotgun wedding.

And there's still a part of him who;d like to bring in Brian Shaw or Kurt Rambis and have them do the heavy lifting and have him be more in the mentorship role. but I'm not sure that's going to fly at this point.

The big question is does Phil want to come back to the grind and the only way that he does is if he comes back to a team that he knows he can notch a 12th championship and as much money as they've invested in that Nets team and as much as there's a couple of guys there that I like, I'm not convinced that that group is lock solid playing for a championship even if a Phil Jackson is coaching it.