How long will Nets fans have to wait on a new coach?
It all depends on what your definition of "wee while." That's the phrase Sean Marks used in interviews this week to describe how long the coaching search will take. According to the MacMillan Dictionary definition, a "wee while" means a "short time." Marks also suggested he'd like to find a coach "sooner rather than later." Again , that's nothing specific but hints at urgency.
As to how long his "short list" of candidates will be, his comments raise another question. He said he'd be taking "a select couple of names" to ownership after he talks to "a short list." Now, a couple can mean two, but MacMillan also suggests it can mean "a small number." As for "select few," we figure that's like a "good 20 minutes", that is, more.
But parsing Marks' answers in his recent interviews with Michael Kay and Dom LaGreca on ESPN and Evan Roberts on WFAN, you get a sense that the Nets new GM would like to move fast ... and not wait until near those critical dates at the end of June (the NBA Draft) and beginning of July (free agency).
Here's what what he told Kay and LaGreca on the process...
"I already have a short list of candidates and I envision sitting with them over the next wee while here and getting used to them and them getting used to me to see if this is the right fit. then I will take a select couple of names back to ownership and we'll go from there. That's how the process will go, but initially it's going to be my call who we bring in."
And what about Tom Thibodeau? Or Jeff Van Gundy? He's not going there, but in his answers to both Kay/LaGreca and Roberts, you get a sense --just a sense-- they're not on the list. "The two guys you mentioned are obviously fine candidates. they're going to be wanted by many different teams," he said in an answer about Thibs and JVG. He had a similar response to Roberts question about the former Bulls coach. "Obviously Tom is a great coach out there and he's going to have plenty of options."
Was he suggesting that the Nets job might not be one Thibs is interested in? Or maybe just lowering expectations in general because he's not on Marks' "short list." And yes, It's always fun to parse transcripts but rarely productive.
Marks has let it be known what he is looking for, in one word, a "communicator" and the model he wants his new coach to emulate, also in one word, "Pop," Gregg Popovich, who he served as an assistant coach.
He told Roberts his ideal candidate is "somebody who can communicate in many different ways, be relevant with his players his staff, the media, whatever, you name it." And he told Kay, "One of the key things for me and one of the things I mentioned before is fnding a communicator. I was around, if not the best communicator, the best I've ever seen in Coach Popovich and I'll be looking for some of the same attributes."
The field, he emphasized, will be broad. He told Sarah Kustok earlier in the week that geography would not matter, meaning an international search, and he told both Kay he's not eliminating any coaching backgrounds.
"In terms of looking for a coach, I think it's important not to go immediately in there and say, 'we're not going to go after these guys because of their age or because they haven't done this or they haven't done that' or they're college guys or they're pro guys or whatever it may be,' you're pretty much weeding yourself out of some good candidates," he said. "So the field is pretty broad."
So, we will have to wait a "wee while" to hear the names of the "select couple" of candidates, then who "our group" will agree on.
Other than Thibodeau and Van Gundy, other names we may hear are David Blatt and Ettore Messina. Messina, in fact, is very interesting. He's Pop's lead assistant now in San Antonio and led Prokhorov's CSKA Moscow team to two Euroleague championships a decade ago. And he is very well known in international circles which may make European recruiting easier. But who know? At this time in the GM search process, Marks was barely a blip on the radar.