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Is Mike Dunleavy a candidate for the Nets open coaching gig? Not at all, says team insider

(Eric Richardson/Creative Commons

After earlier reporting that the Nets are in talks with Mike Dunleavy Sr., Stefan Bondy and Frank Isola changed the focus of their story early Tuesday, instead suggesting Phil Jackson was the primary subject of the Nets coaching search. The shift came after a Nets insider had called the story a "total fabrication" in an email to NetsDaily. "He is not a candidate," the insider wrote.

Initially, Bondy and Isola wrote:

A source familiar with the situation told the Daily News that Dunleavy has emerged as a real darkhorse in a race with higher-profile names, which isn’t a surprise considering his relationship with King.

"He may be the leading candidate in Billy King’s mind," said the source.

Three hours later, after the Nets insider's denial to NetsDaily was published, the story changed, with a new focus on the Nets' pursuit of Phil Jackson ... and a new headline. In the later edition, Isola and Bondy reported:

Sources had conflicting stories as to whether Dunleavy had discussions with King during the season about the job, and where he stands on the GM’s priority list. One source said Dunleavy had emerged as a real darkhorse in a race with higher-profile names.

Specifically, the insider's email to NetsDaily read, "Don't believe the Daily News story on Dunleavy. Billy never talked to him and has never played golf with him. Story is total fabrication ... he is not a candidate."

Dunleavy, Jackson, Doc Rivers, Brian Shaw, Larry Brown, Jerry Sloan and maybe dozen other names have been floated in the Nets coaching search. The insider said only Jackson had been contacted and the Nets are still doing background checks only on the other candidates, but reiterated Dunleavy was never considered.

Dunleavy carries a .461 winning percentage (613-716) and was the 1998-99 NBA Coach of the Year. He has not won an NBA title as a coach and only once has made an appearance in the NBA Finals, losing with the Lakers in 1991. He last coached in the NBA three years ago with the Clippers.

The search continues!