In the midst of telling Ian O'Connor five times that "P.J. is our coach," Billy King said the Nets have not yet contacted anyone about replacing Avery Johnson on a permanent basis.
"We have not contacted anybody, not sat down with anybody. We made the move and we're going to let P.J. coach," King told O'Connor on ESPN Radio Sunday, echoing Mikhail Prokhorov's comments Friday night. He did say, repeatedly, that they will re-evaluate P.J. Carlesimo at some point but wouldn't put a timetable on it.
"He is going to be the head coach until we re-evaluate things," he said more than once. When asked when that re-evaluation would come, he was again non-committal. "I don't want to put a timetable on it."
When asked specifically about Phil Jackson, King simply said, "P.J. is our coach."
"More than anything, you just need to calm the waters and let guys breathe as a group and try to gel," King told O'Connor. "Because if we're in the middle of a search, the turmoil just continues. We need our guys to just focus on the now and San Antonio."
King did discuss what he likes about Carlesimo, citing his experience with different types of rosters in his coaching career at Portland, Golden State and Seattle/Oklahoma City and that he "knows the game." He also said he has spoke with his former college coach, Mike Krzyzewski of Duke, who he said is a close friend of Carlesimo and provided him with "more insights" about P.J.
In discussing the team, King said he isn't worried about Deron Williams who he admitted, for the first time, his point guard may be suffering from fatigue. He noted that D-Will returned from the Olympics at 2 a.m. and was on the court at 11 a.m. the next morning.
"He didn't take any time off," King said. "He has tired body right now. We are going to have to manage him, give him days off." Bottom line, though, KIng said he is "not worried" about Williams. He compared Williams situation now with Carmelo Anthony's last season with the Knicks, that a player who was once unpopular is now hearing MVP chants. "Systems change. It takes them a while," he added.
Nor he said was he concerned about Joe Johnson, who he said could score at the same level he did in Atlanta "if we asked him to." It's just that he's being asked to do other things in Brooklyn. And he raved about Brook Lopez's improvement, noting that the goal for the rest of the season is to "going to be get Brook involved."
Still, despite "some tumult," King remains optimistic about the Nets chances, thinking the No. 3 seed in the East is a possibility, adding, "once you're in the playoffs..."
- Nets stick with P.J. Carlesimo for now - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Brooklyn Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo hopes to finish out season - ESPN
- 3 offensive quick fixes to help PJ keep the job - Pete Tenney - Brooklyn Fans