|Although he did a solid job in the regular season after taking over for Avery Johnson (going 35-19), Carlesimo knew that he wasn't likely to lose the interim tag, a fact which was entrenched with Brooklyn's embarrassing 1st-round playoff defeat|
The Nets-Bulls opening round series of the Eastern Conference Playoffs was filled with crazy runs, comebacks, shots, performances and finishes.
One thing it did not have, however, was a Brooklyn Nets series win, as the Bulls were able to take Game Seven at the Barclays Center, taking the entire series as well. Clearly, that result did not go over well in Brooklyn's front office, as interim coach P.J. Carlesimo -- who assumed the job in late December after the team fired Avery Johnson -- was canned just hours after the loss, leaving the Nets without a permanent head coach and the veteran Carlesimo without a job.
Ever since the firing was announced, and even earlier in the season when Carlesimo's departure seemed more imminent, tons of free-agent coaches and even some under contract were and have been through around in rumors regarding the desirable Nets job.
Former head-man of the Lakers, the stoic and incredibly-successful Phil Jackson was one of the bigger names to be thought of as a realistic candidate for the position. Brooklyn even reportedly contacted the 67-year-old gauging his interest in coming to New York, but later developments revealed that he's basically just looking for a front-office post at this time in his life, and turned down the offer.
Then other well-known coaches that Brooklyn may hold interest in quickly came out of the woodwork, with current Pacers assistant Brian Shaw looking like the No. 1 so far. Shaw, who played in the NBA for more than 10 years in his own right, was an assistant with the Lakers from 2004-11, and was groomed as Phil Jackson's eventual replacement before he was surprisingly passed over for the job when LA hired Mike Brown. Since then, Shaw has been in Indiana and tends to be viewed as one of the top assistants currently in the league, and seems to be thrown into the mix whenever a coaching vacancy opens up.
Also, current Celtics coach Doc Rivers and former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan -- who drafted Deron Williams, now on Brooklyn -- have each been cited as possible targets of the Nets front office. It is highly unlikely that Rivers would return to Boston if the current roster in stripped of veterans like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett this summer, as Doc has made it clear that he does not want to deal with another rebuilding project. If Boston follows that path, Brooklyn would be a logical and interesting spot for the 51-year-old Rivers if he should choose to continue his coaching career against a division rival of the team he recently won a championship with.
As for Sloan, the clear connection and chemistry -- pre-falling-out -- with Deron Williams would make him an easier choice for the position. The only concern there is that it is unknown publicly how well Sloan and Deron's relationship is with each other right now after it was reportedly Williams' urging that led Sloan to resign from Utah and led the Jazz to trade him to the Nets in the first place.
Brooklyn is still very early in the coaching-search process and there are tons of interviews, sit-downs, and phone-calls to go before anything is close to official regarding the team's new head coach. But it appears that there are a bunch of qualified candidates willing to take the job that will be a part of this process.
And that fact has got to make Billy King feel a little easier and less stressed right now.
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