Posted May 05, 2013

P.J. Carlesimo out as Nets open coaching search

Avery Johnson, Ben Golliver, Bill King, Brooklyn Nets, P.J. Carlesimo
Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo will not return for the 2013-14 season. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images)

Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo will not return for the 2013-14 season. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images)

Less than 24 hours after their first season in Brooklyn ended with a first-round exit in the playoffs, the Nets announced Sunday that interim coach P.J. Carlesimo will not be offered the full-time position and that the organization would begin a search for a new head coach.

“The Brooklyn Nets organization would like to thank P.J. for his efforts with the team in his roles as both head coach and assistant, and for his contributions to the team’s success both on and off the court,” Nets GM Billy King said in a statement. “We wish P.J. and his family only the best in the years to come.”

Carlesimo, 63, was promoted from assistant to interim coach in December when Avery Johnson was fired after a 14-14 start. The Nets went 35-19 under Carlesimo to claim the Eastern Conference’s No. 4 seed but lost to the Bulls in the first round in seven games.

Yahoo! Sports reports that television commentator Jeff Van Gundy (former coach of the Knicks and Rockets) will be a “top target” in the Nets’ search while NBA.com added Stan Van Gundy (former coach of the Heat and Magic) and coaching lifer Larry Brown (most recently with the Bobcats) to the list. ESPN.com reports that the Nets will likely pursue former Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who was linked to the franchise in rumors when Johnson was fired.

Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is notorious for his ambitious goals for the franchise — including a championship by 2015 — and he told Bloomberg Television in April that he doesn’t think his franchise is far from reaching his goal.

“One more good player, and we need time to make a really strong team,” Prokhorov said.

Brooklyn’s first-round exit is surely seen as a disappointment within the franchise considering the circumstances. The Nets dropped Game 7 at the Barclays Center on Saturday, conceding 61 first-half points and getting booed by their home crowd as a Bulls team playing without Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich simply outfought them. The one-and-done stings worse given that the roster’s payroll runs deep into the luxury tax after trading for Joe Johnson and re-signing Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, and Gerald Wallace to big-dollar deals last summer.

Carlesimo’s dismissal comes just weeks after King received a contract extension in late-April. The veteran coach joins Jim Boylan (not retained by Bucks), Mike Dunlap (fired by Bobcats), Lawrence Frank (fired by Pistons), Byron Scott (fired by Cavaliers), and Doug Collins (stepped down from Sixers) as coaches to lose their jobs since the end of the 2012-13 season. Interim coach Lindsey Hunter’s future with the Suns also remains up in the air.

Carlesimo had been a head coach on three previous occasions: Portland (1994-1997), Golden State (1997-1999) and Seattle/Oklahoma City (2007-2009) and is perhaps best known for his run-in with former player Latrell Sprewell, who was suspended for choking him in 1997. His career record is 239-315 (.431). He has never guided a team to the second round of the playoffs during his nine-year coaching career.

11 comments
John4
John4

Definitely a mistake.  Carlesimo had the team in the right direction, and the Nets needed some continuity.  This whole "fire the coach if we don't do well in the playoffs" type of thinking ultimately HURTS a team.  The Clippers are about to do the same thing, and it will be a mistake there as well. 

Two franchises that are improving.  Fire the HC during the growth, and stagnate the growth.  That's not very intelligent.  

AutreyLisa
AutreyLisa

Nyet. They should bring Ruskie coach from Moscow.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

What are the odds that Phil accepts? Not high, I think. 

papacoolrice42
papacoolrice42

Yes Jerry that's what I've been saying all along about Phil Jackson.You can't say what you just said and apply it to PJ without applying it to Phil Jackson.

JerryBelle
JerryBelle

He deserved to be fired... he couldn't hit a free throw, he missed several three pointers, was awful at rebounding, and.....oh wait a minute those awful stats belong to the Brooklyn players - nevermind.

brookhavencommodore
brookhavencommodore

He was last seen in Brighton Beach, being fitted for a cement tuxedo!

Bearsclone
Bearsclone

@John4 Firing PJ is probably a mistake.

 Hiring VDN in the first place was a mistake.  He was a terrible coach in Chicago and doesn't appear to be much better in LA.

John4
John4

@Bearsclone

If a coach is a bad hire or bad fit for the team, then obviously he should be fired.  If a coach is fired as a snap judgement due to a team's losing in the playoffs, it is typically a bad move.  

Lacentral
Lacentral

@John4 @Bearsclone agree john! if he had been coaching the nets for awhile now i understand the move! idc who your coach is u just added new players to this team! do you expect them to go all the way to the finals? did the heat go there first year? eh w/e the nets are not my team & forget about phil coaching the nets won't happen!