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The next big hire will be a coach. Would Thibs work?

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the Nets have hired an assistant GM, the front office team that will select the head coach is firming up.  Who's the leading candidate?  No one is saying.  Sean Marks and Trajan Langdon keep things close to the vest.  Hell, neither of them have a verified Twitter account!!

The one candidate everyone puts near the top of the list is Tom Thibodeau, but as Marks has said, more than once, "Obviously Tom is a great coach out there and he's going to have plenty of options." (Whether that's Marks trying to lower expectations or just stating the facts is hard to tell.)

Andrew Sharp of Sports Illustrated tries his hand at just who might be interested in Thibs this off-season, ranking teams from ninth to first.  He doesn't think much of the Nets chances, putting them seventh and reciting all the reasons why the former Bulls mentor wouldn't be interested.  He rounds up all the rhetorical suspects, adds a cheap shot about fans and, well, you know the drill...

This section is tricky. First and foremost, I'm not sure how many Nets fans actually exist. The franchise mercifully cut ties with the people of New Jersey they'd been letting down for several decades, but now they're in Brooklyn, and it's pretty shocking how quickly they've turned into the same lost franchise we knew in the Meadowlands. It will likely be this way until at least 2020.

On the other hand ... If you can't draft anyone for three years, and nobody wants to sign with you, isn't a great coach the only thing left to dream about? Why not overpay for a coach who can overachieve and possibly make basketball fun for the first time in Barclays Center history? If the Knicks and Lakers go in a different direction, there's a good chance that the Nets can offer the best combination of money and lifestyle (Brooklyn! New York City! Use of Mikhail Prokhorov's European villas!) of anyone on this list.

Of course, there's an alternate scenario to imagine in which the Nets bring in Thibodeau, and his suffocating intensity on a daily basis is the only way the current situation becomes more miserable. Imagine a team enduring a year of back–breaking practices and extra film sessions just to grind out 35 wins with Donald Sloan. Maybe that's not the best way to build a culture for the future.

Whatever. (And for the record, Prokhorov doesn't have any "European villas" unless you count Russia or Turkey, not exactly prime vacation spots anymore. He does have some neat yachts, though.)

Who's number 1?  Shocking.  Sharp thinks it's your New York Knicks.  Of course, it comes with a caveat, to wit: "Will Phil Jackson hire a coach who doesn't run a triangle? Maybe not. Maybe he'll go with a hand-picked veteran who knows his system and will try to bring it to New York."

One thing is almost certainly true. Thibodeau is likely to look through his offers and not make a decision until close to the NBA Draft. That's too far away for speculation. The Nets, for example, are likely to be naming staff left and right. Probably best to pay more attention to that for now.