Prokhorov and King going shopping for a coach
MARCUS HENRY Special to the AmNews | 5/9/2013, 3:03 p.m.
Many words can be used to describe the Nets' first-round exit from the NBA playoffs. Perhaps the most widely used is "disappointment."
We're not talking about the hype surrounding the Nets' move to Brooklyn and all the money spent on the squad by owner Mikhail Prokhorov. We're talking about the disappointment of losing just one game--a home game against a team that was missing three starters.
The Nets had everything in their favor the hours leading up to Game 7 against the Bulls last Saturday: home court advantage; a healthy roster; and Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng unable to play. Should've have been a cake walk, right? Not so fast.
The Bulls played with a level of grit and determination not seen in the NBA in recent years as they grinded out a 99-93 win in Brooklyn. They proved that the win over the Nets wasn't a fluke two days later when they beat the Heat, 93-86, in Game 1 of a best-of-seven conference semifinal. The end result of the Nets' loss: Interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo was not offered the real job. While the coach gets credit for guiding a 14-14 team to the playoffs, the Nets losing at home to a beat-up Bulls team and getting pushed around in the process was all Prokhorov's General Manager Billy King could take.
The Bulls played with a great sense of urgency not matched by the Nets. That was validated by the many statements made by players after the game. Many, including Brook Lopez and Deron Williams, said the team needed a taskmaster-type coach. Prokhorov told reporters before the season that a trip to the Eastern Conference final would be considered a successful campaign. That statement, according to most insiders, was almost foreshadowing that Carlesimo wouldn't have gotten the job unless the team beat the Heat in the second round.
So now the franchise will move on, but who will guide the ship? Phil Jackson? Jerry Sloan? Both names came up in reports recently as possible candidates to fill the job. King said he would contact Jackson, while Sloan said during an interview he would listen if the Nets called. A Williams-Sloan reunion? Stranger things have happened.