CBS Sports' Ken Berger takes a look Thursday at the NBA's coaching opening and after predicting that Tony Brown will "move on," lays out who he thinks the Nets will look at. Most of the names are not new, but one -- Mike D'Antoni -- is a bit of a surprise.
"The Brooklyn job is a headscratcher, as GM Sean Marks -- cut from the secretive San Antonio cloth -- has been tight-lipped about his intentions. Player agents will be paying close attention to the Nets' interview process, and ultimately, the hire -- seeking a reason for their clients to consider Brooklyn as free agents in July. For that reason, Mike D'Antoni -- whose system is known for raising players' value -- could get a look, sources say. Tom Thibodeau, Jeff Van Gundy and Spurs assistant Ettore Messina are also believed to be on Marks' short list. Don't discount Hawks assistant Kenny Atkinson, who shares Marks' representation with CAA."
Of course, as Berger points out, D'Antoni is currently employed as associate head coach in Philly where the Colangelos, his biggest backers, now control the front office.
if D'Antoni, the Sixers' associate head coach, gets offers elsewhere -- besides Brooklyn, he could be a fit in Washington or Phoenix -- then Colangelo may be tempted to let Brown go and bump D'Antoni up to head coach in order to keep him, sources say. Ownership may have other ideas, remaining firmly supportive of Brown.
It won't be long before the picture clears, Brian Lewis reports. Marks, he reports, will bring candidates to the Nets search committee -- the four executives who chose Marks as GM -- and Prokhorov.