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Tim Bontemps: Ettore Messina "heavy favorite" as Nets coach?

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Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

It's part of Tim Bontemps look at the Nets future (or lack of same).  In writing about the Sean Marks big next question -- who will be the Nets head coach, Bontmps suggests that Ettore Messina is the likely choice.

[H]iring the former Spurs executive has only added to the speculation that the heavy favorite to become the team’s next coach is Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina.

The 56-year-old Italian is one of the best European coaches of all time, winning a dozen league titles between his time in Italy and Russia and claiming four European titles. Messina is familiar with Nets ownership from his time coaching CSKA Moscow, and would fall in line with ownership’s infatuation with the Spurs’ program.

"Heavy favorite?" Marks has said he has a "short list" of candidates and as Bontemps suggest, there is that Spurs connection. Not to mention the Mikhail Prokhorov connection via CSKA Moscow.

Messina won't curtail the speculation.  Two weeks ago, Messina was asked about the possibility.  He didn't say no.

The Spurs assistant has been mentioned by pundits, as has David Blatt, the ousted Cavaliers coach with the Russian connections, Jeff VanGundy, Tom Thibodeau and Hawks assistant Kenny Atkinson.

Beyond the coaching speculation, Bontemps wonders if anyone will accept the Nets free agency money; will Brook Lopez and/or Thaddeus Young be traded, will Rondae Hollis-Jefferson develop  a jump shot and will Prokhorov et al let Marks do his job?