A majority of Hoops Rumors readers don't believePhil Jackson will consider coaching the Cavs, even though a source tells Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio that Jackson would "absolutely" listen if the team called. While the Zen Master is far and away the biggest name associated with the team's search, there are plenty of other candidates, and there's news on several of them this morning:
The team has had informal conversations with former coach Mike Brown about a reunion, writes Bob Finnan of The News-Herald, who passes along a report from WKYC-TV in Cleveland that Brown and owner Dan Gilbert will meet Sunday.
A source tells Finnan that Brown would be the top choice for the Hawks if they decide to make a coaching change. That's no surprise, given the ties between Brown and Atlanta GM Danny Ferry.
The Cavs aren't expected to discuss the opening with any college coaches, and the hiring process will move swiftly, according to Finnan.
Finnan adds Melvin Hunt of the Nuggets and Michael Curry of the Sixers to the list of assistant coaches who may receive interviews, which already includedMichael Malone (Warriors), Brian Shaw (Pacers) and David Fizdale (Heat).
It may be New Year's Eve, but that doesn't mean TNT's David Aldridge is taking a break from his weekly Morning Tip piece on NBA.com. In this week's column, Aldridge recaps the top 10 stories of 2012, including the Lakers' coaching carousel, the Dwightmare, and LeBron James' first NBA championship. He also dishes a few rumors on the Nets' coaching search and DeMarcus Cousins' availability, so let's check out the highlights:
According to Aldridge, the Nets thought that Avery Johnson carried his desire for a contract extension too far, considering plenty of other respected coaches around the league began coaching in the final year of their respective contracts without extensions.
While the Nets are saying P.J. Carlesimo will get a shot to prove he deserves to be the team's permanent head coach, Phil Jackson is still expected to get the first call if and when Brooklyn begins a coaching search in earnest. "It's Phil," a league coaching source tells Aldridge. "That's coming straight from Russia."
Kings GM Geoff Petrie insists that Cousins is not on the trade block in Sacramento: "He's not going anywhere.
You can lay that to rest. Some of that stuff lives in its own reality." However, Aldridge hears from sources that the Kings are ready to consider moving the volatile big man for "a package of less talented, perhaps, but more emotionally grounded players."
Some members of the Kings were surprised when Cousins was reinstated and showed up for practice so soon after being suspended, and weren't overly moved by his attempt to apologize. "When he apologized to the team, two players stood up and said 'we've
heard this bull(bleep) before,'" a source tells Aldridge. "'You're either going
to be with us, or you're not. We don't want to hear any more excuses.'"
Examining teams with rumored interest in Cousins, Aldridge makes note of some potential roadblocks: The Celtics would be reluctant to part with Avery Bradley in any trade, the Pistons wouldn't be eager to pair Cousins with Andre Drummond, who Aldridge says "has his own growing up to do," and the Wizards likely wouldn't want to take on someone of questionable character after clearing the roster of that sort of player within the last year.
While it's been less than 24 hours since the Nets dismissedAvery Johnson, plenty of rumors are already swirling about how the team will replace its head coach. For now, P.J. Carlesimo has the interim job, but the Nets are reportedly expected to launch a "broad" search that will begin in earnest in the new year. Yesterday, multiple reports suggested that Phil Jackson was the Nets' number one choice, though TNT's David Aldridge said the club didn't necessarily have a top target. In any case, it seems Jackson is very much on Brooklyn's radar. Here are Friday's updates on the NBA's second head coaching search of the season, with any new items added to the top throughout the day:
We've heard already tonight that Jeff Van Gundy is unwilling to coach the Nets this season, and now Ric Bucher of 95.7 Game, appearing on the NBC Sports Network, said Phil Jackson won't coach the team this year either, no matter how much money owner Mikhail Prokhorov is prepared to offer. Jackson instead prefers to wait until the end of the season, like Van Gundy. Bucher identified Van Gundy and Mike Dunleavy as the Brooklyn's next favorite choices, but notes that Brooklyn would much prefer Jackson.
Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, speaking at a press conference, said, "Now P.J. (Carlesimo) is the head coach and if it becomes necessary, you know who the usual suspects are," as Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com tweets. Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News rounds up Prokhorov's open remarks via Sulia.
Prokhorov said he backs Carlesimo. and refused to talk about Phil Jackson, Bondy tweets. The owner wouldn't answer questions about other candidates, either, reports Howard Beck of the New York Times (Twitter link). Prokhorov said he liked Johnson, but that the results weren't acceptable, according to Newsday's Rod Boone (Twitter link).
Prokhorov said he made the decision to fire Johnson last week, Andy Vasquez of the Bergen Record notes via Twitter.
Jeff Van Gundy has interest in coaching the Nets, but he doesn't want to interview as long as interim coach P.J. Carlesimo is on board, as we passed along earlier.
While the Nets are expected to take their time with their coaching search, "the Jackson aspect of the equation has the potential to move quickly in one direction or another," says Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.
Nets officials will begin meeting with owner Mikhail Prokhorov over the next couple days to identify candidates and set parameters for the search, according to Berger. No candidates will be contacted until Prokhorov is "formally looped in" to the process.
Industry sources believe that Jeff Van Gundy is getting closer to considering a return to coaching, and the Nets are more interested in the former Knicks coach than his brother Stan Van Gundy, according to Berger.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported today that Rockets assistant Kelvin Sampson
is a "significant" candidate for the Nets' opening. However, the Nets
have yet to contact the Rockets to ask permission to speak to Sampson, tweets
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. Still, if there's mutual interest between
Brooklyn and Sampson, the Rockets won't stand in his way, according to
Berger (Twitter link).
Appearing on Sirius XM Radio today, Mike Dunleavy, who is from Brooklyn, said that coaching the Nets would be a "dream come true" (Twitter link).
In addition to Jackson, the Nets' list of potential targets includes Mike Dunleavy, Jeff Van Gundy, Nate McMillan, and Jerry Sloan, according to ESPN.com's Chris Broussard. Sloan, who Broussard calls a long shot, declined to comment on the Nets or Deron Williams, but said he'd be opening to coaching in the NBA again (Twitterlinks).
A source tells Ken Berger of CBSSports.com that the Nets' job would definitely interest Jackson and that it's something he figures to explore. Jackson's rep, Todd Musburger, said yesterday that his client didn't have interest in the position "at this time," but Berger says that statement should be taken quite literally -- just because he wasn't interested immediately doesn't mean that Jackson wouldn't be intrigued after doing his due diligence on the franchise.
Jackson would prefer to run a franchise from a front-office position and mentor a younger head coach, rather than coach himself, according to Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game (Sulia link), though he doesn't rule out the Zen Master for the position. Bucher also adds Mike Dunleavy's name to the mix as a potential candidate.
When the Lakers fired Mike Brown five games into the 2012/13 season, many observers felt that the team should have given Brown more time to get everyone on an overhauled roster on the same page. Avery Johnson received a little more time from the Nets than Brown did from the Lakers, but it was still a surprising decision.
The Nets fired Johnson mere weeks after he was named Coach of the Month for November, and Avery Johnson Jr. isn't the only one that feels the move was premature. The Nets were just 14-14 when the change was made, a pace not far off from what many predicted for the team, as Grantland's Zach Lowe pointed out yesterday. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich lamented the Nets' impatience with Johnson at San Antonio's shootaround today, calling Johnson a "very good coach" who was victimized by circumstances (link via Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News).
On the other hand, the Nets were coming off a pair of embarrassing losses, and Deron Williams had publicly questioned Johnson's offensive system last week. Throw in Kris Humphries' demotion and the mixed results of Johnson's small-ball lineup, and there were enough factors in play to make a case that coaching decisions were becoming a real concern in Brooklyn.
What do you think? Should the Nets have given Johnson more time to right the ship, or was it time to make a change?
While many have already been labeling Deron Williams as a "coach killer," the Nets' decision to fire Avery Johnson today wasn't on D-Will, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News (via Twitter). SI.com's Chris Mannix agrees, noting (via Twitter) that no Nets players, including Williams, were consulted before the decision was made. No matter who was behind the move, the Nets are in the market for a new coach, with P.J. Carlesimotaking over in the interim. We'll round up today's rumblings about the search right here, with the latest updates at the top....
Despite reports that the Nets have Phil Jackson atop their wishlist, an informed source tells David Aldridge of TNT (on Twitter) that the Nets don't have a top target.
Phil Jackson's representative, Todd Musburger,
tells TNT's David Aldridge in a text that Jackson currently has "no
interest" in the Nets' job (Twitter link).
Nate McMillan isn't on the Nets' radar right now, according to Mannix (via Twitter).
Johnson had "badly wanted" a contract extension from the Nets, and was surprised when the team engaged in talks with GM Billy King before talking about a new deal for the coach, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Brooklyn isn't expected to begin its coaching search in earnest until the new year, reports Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter link).
The Nets are launching a "broad" search that will include a call to Phil Jackson, among others, tweets ESPN.com's Marc Stein. However, TNT's David Aldridge points out (via Twitter) that nothing seems to have changed regarding Jackson's desire to gain organizational control in any job he accepts.
Talks with the Lakers got Jackson thinking about coaching again, so he'd at least listen if and when the Nets call, says Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com (via Twitter).
According to Aldridge (Twitter link), the Nets have yet to contact Nate McMillan or Brian Shaw, but that doesn't mean they won't do so eventually.
McMillan, David Blatt, and both Van Gundys (Stan and Jeff) are candidates Ken Berger of CBSSports.com thinks the Nets may consider in their search. However, "the answer to whether the Nets will consider [John] Calipari is an unequivocal no," according to Berger.
In an email to Mannix at SI.com (Twitter link), Stan Van Gundy reiterated something we heard earlier today, writing that he has "no interest at all" in the Nets' job.
"I never had any conversation with (GM) Billy King about not liking coach, nothing about coach Johnson," Williams said. "Avery was a big reason I came back, because him and Billy. So I was surprised. We've never had an argument, we've never had a fight, any disagreements, anything. So, I think it was more kind of what happened in Utah, people still saying I got coach [Jerry] Sloan fired even though he resigned and that's going to stick with me for a while."
Williams raised eyebrows around the league last week with his criticism of Johnson's offense and his apparent pining for Sloan's offensive system in Utah. The irony in that, of course, is that Williams was widely believed to have a hand in Sloan's resignation from the Jazz in 2011. Williams says that he met with Johnson the following day to explain that he meant nothing by the comments and the coach said that he wasn't bothered by them.
The Nets firedAvery Johnson earlier today, after the Nets had won just three of their last 13 games. With home games against the Bobcats and Cavaliers up next on the schedule, interim coach P.J. Carlesimo will have the opportunity to turn things around immediately. However, not everyone believes firing Johnson was the right call, and it remains to be soon who the next permanent coach will be in Brooklyn. Here are a few reactions and follow-up items in the wake of Johnson's dismissal:
In musing about whether the Nets could make a run at Phil Jackson, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports notes (via Twitter) that management doesn't believe the Triangle offense fits the current roster.
Johnson's firing caught some members of the Nets organization off guard, and was clearly a decision made by owner Mikhail Prokhorov, tweets Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. On the other hand, Wojnarowski tweets that it was GM Billy King who made the final decision.
According to one Nets player, there was no indication after last night's loss that this move was coming, tweets Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. The player tells Bondy he was "blindsided" by the news.
RealGM.com's Jarrod Rudolph (Twitter link) believes Stan Van Gundy would be a good fit in Brooklyn, but the ex-Magic coach has no interest in the job, according to Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link).
While Grantland's Zach Lowe says he isn't a big fan of Johnson, he adds that the Nets have unrealistic expectations for this team, which wasn't far off the pace that most pundits predicted (Twitterlinks).
A veteran executive tells TNT's David Aldridge that he thinks the Nets will hire a big-name replacement for Johnson, rather than a young, up-and-coming coach (Twitter link).
12:09pm: Assistant P.J. Carlesimo has been named the Nets' interim head coach, reports Wojnarowski (via Twitter).
11:58am: A poor showing in December has cost a head coach his job. After a 3-10 record this month brought the team's record back to .500, the Nets have fired coach Avery Johnson, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com reported earlier today that Johnson could be let go before tomorrow night's game.
Nets ownership would like to express thanks to Avery for his efforts and
to wish him every success in the future," said Nets
Prokhorov in a statement confirming Johnson's dismissal.
Johnson, who was in his third season as coach of the Nets, was named Coach of the Month for November just a few weeks ago. Since then, however, not much has gone right in Brooklyn. Kris Humphries has fallen out of the rotation, Deron Williams has publicly questioned the team's offensive system, and most recently, Gerald Wallace expressed displeasure in the club's performance.
At 14-14, Johnson was well on his way to leading the Nets to their best season since he took over, after the team averaged just 23 wins in his two previous seasons. However, after the organization committed well over $200MM+ to free agents and took on Joe Johnson's $89MM contract this summer, expectations in Brooklyn had increased significantly.
Avery Johnson said last weekend that he wasn't worried about his job security, but after a 17-point home loss to the Celtics, and a 15-point loss in Milwaukee, one NBA executive tells Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com that "the watch is on." An unnamed Nets player called the situation "flammable," likening it to Jerry Sloan's final days in Utah.
The description of Johnson's situation as "Jerry Sloan all over again" stems from the fact that the same star player, point guard Deron Williams, is involved. Williams, who has underachieved so far this season, reportedly isn't seeing eye to eye with Johnson in Brooklyn (Twitter link via Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times).
After an 11-4 November, the Nets have struggled immensely in December, with the team now just sitting at .500 (14-14) overall. While Sheridan suggests that a coaching change could come as soon as this week, I'd be surprised if the Nets didn't give Johnson a little more time to right the ship. Still, expectations are high in Brooklyn after the club spent hundreds of millions of dollars to add players this summer, so Johnson's job security is worth keeping a close eye on.
The Knicks expect to have Amare Stoudemire back in action early next week and coach Mike Woodson says that they intend to plant him in the post, writes Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com. It was reported this week that the Knicks were practically looking to give Stoudemire away this summer, but after flying the Erie BayHawks to New York for the express purpose of practicing with the forward, it would appear that they are committed to him. Here's more out of the Atlantic Division, including the cross-town rival Nets.
MarShon Brooks has been buried on the Nets bench after a breakout rookie campaign, but the youngster says he isn't unhappy with the franchise over it, writes Joel Brigham of HoopsWorld. Brooks scored 12.6 PPG in almost 30 minutes per game last season but is now averaging 5.3 PPG in eleven minutes per contest as he plays behind Joe Johnson.
The Celtics' Leandro Barbosa is another guard who would like to see some more burn, Brigham writes. Barbosa isn't sure why the Suns and Pacers didn't look to bring him back this year, but he says that he was happy to join the Celtics, even if it meant seeing less time on the floor. “They called me,” Barbosa said. “They gave me the opportunity and I was very appreciative that they wanted me to be a part of this team… I knew that my game would fit with this team. I wasn’t really worried about the amount of minutes I would play.”
Nets coach Avery Johnsonsays that he isn't concerned about job security, but he is willing to point the finger at himself somewhat, writes Roderick Boone of Newsday. The coach confessed that he is the man to blame for the club's inability to close out quarters.