Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Brooklyn Nets let head coach P.J. Carlesimo walk

The Brooklyn Nets NBA basketball team has decided to head in a new direction regarding the team’s head coach. The Nets announced on May 5 that interim coach P.J. Carlesimo will be leaving the club since they won’t be offering him the full-time job. Carlesimo was let go just a day after Brooklyn was eliminated from the playoffs and the franchise will now begin searching for a new head coach.

Billy King, the club’s general manager, said the organization would like to thank Carlesimo for everything he’s done for the team as both an assistant and head coach over the years and for the way he represented them on and off of the basketball court. He also wished the former coach and his family success for the future.

The 63-year-old Carlesimo became the club’s interim head coach last December after being promoted from his
position as an assistant coach. He took over from Avery Johnson, who was let go by King after the Nets struggled to a 14-14 record at the start of the season. Carlesimo helped turn the team’s fortunes around when taking over behind the bench and led Brooklyn to a 35-19 record for the rest of the season. The Nets finished in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, but were eliminated from the postseason in the first round by the Chicago Bulls in seven games.

It’s believed that former Houston Rockets and New York Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy could be the top candidate to fill the vacant position. Other possible replacements for Carlesimo include former Miami Heat and Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, former Charlotte Bobcats coach Larry Brown, and former Los Angeles Lakers bench boss Phil Jackson.

Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the Nets, said he hopes to have a new coach in place soon and feels his team is just one or two players away from becoming a top contender in the NBA. He said he was disappointed at getting knocked out of the playoffs in the first round, especially since they had home court advantage in game seven. The Nets allowed the Bulls to score 61 points during the first half of the game and were booed by their home fans.  The Bulls were also a weakened team as they were without Kirk Hinrich, Derrick Rose, and Luol Deng.

The Nets were hoping to go deeper into the postseason to earn some more revenue to help pay the large contracts of Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace, and Brook Lopez. Carlesimo is the sixth NBA head coach to lose his job or step down since the end of the regular season. The others are Jim Boylan of the Milwaukee Bucks, Mike Dunlap of the Charlotte Bobcats, Lawrence Frank of the Detroit Pistons, Byron Scott of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Philadelphia Seventy Sixers’  Doug Collins, who resigned from the team.
Carlesimo has previously been a head coach with Portland from 1994 to 1997 as well as Golden State from 1997 to 1999 and Seattle/Oklahoma City from 2007 to 2009. His career head coaching record stands at 239-315 for a winning percentage of .431. In addition, he’s never managed to coach a team into the second round of the postseason in his nine years as a head coach.

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