P.J. Carlesimo hadn’t even coached his first game with the Brooklyn Nets and already names such as Phil Jackson were floating around.
Carlesimo was appointed interim coach Thursday when the Nets fired Avery Johnson, and General Manager Billy King said he hoped Carlesimo would have the job for a while.
But the Nets also put out a statement saying a search for a new head coach would begin immediately, making it unclear how long Carlesimo would be sticking around.
The man who could clear it up is owner Mikhail Prokhorov.
If the Russian billionaire wants to spend big on a new coach, he could make a sales pitch to Jackson, the retired 11-time champion whom the Los Angeles Lakers considered turning back to before hiring Mike D’Antoni.
King dodged a question Thursday about a report that the Nets planned to reach out to Jackson, whom ESPN.com reported was the Nets’ top candidate.
“I haven’t really thought about it,” point guard Deron Williams said about the Jackson reports following the Nets’ morning shootaround at their practice facility.
The backcourt duo of Williams and Joe Johnson was supposed to be the Nets’ strength after the Nets put $300 million into the roster this summer as they prepared to move from New Jersey to their new home in Brooklyn.
The Nets won 11 of their first 15 games and Avery Johnson was the Eastern Conference coach of the month for November. But a right foot injury to center Brook Lopez that was supposed to have him out for just a pair of games ended up becoming seven games. Brooklyn lost five in a row in that stretch and hasn’t recovered, going 3-10 in December.
Carlesimo, who last coached the Oklahoma City Thunder, wasn’t too enthused with how he landed his latest job.
“Obviously, it’s the worst way to become a head coach. It’s clearly not an ideal situation,” Carlesimo said. “But it’s the way of the NBA.”
Suspension rankles Heat
The Miami Heat said Friday the franchise didn’t agree with the one-game suspension given to Dwyane Wade for making contact with Charlotte’s Ramon Sessions earlier this week.
“While we accept the decision of the NBA regarding Dwyane Wade, we do not agree with it,” the team said. “In his 10 years in the league, Dwyane has never been suspended, and has been an exemplary player and positive influence to his teammates and fans and we have been honored to have him as part of the Miami Heat family.’’
Wade was suspended for Friday’s game at Detroit.