The Brooklyn Nets fired Avery Johnson on Thursday. P.J. Carlesimo is taking over on the interim.
Let’s examine the coaching possibilities the Nets may have. They could keep Carlesimo for the rest of the season but if they don’t, who are the candidates?
Phil Jackson: He’s always going to be a possibility.
Yes, he has ties to the New York area. After all, he played for the Knicks during his NBA playing career. But let’s face it; Brooklyn is not a contender now. Why would he go back to coach a middle-of-the-pack team? It’s a pipe dream for every team to get Jackson as a coach. For what it’s worth, he is willing to coach again but I’m not sure if the perfect situation will ever open up.
Kelvin Sampson: Adrian Wojnarowski talked about the possibility of the Rockets’ assistant coach getting hired. He took over for 13 games in Houston after Kevin McHale took a leave of absence to tend to his daughter (who sadly passed away). The Rockets apparently liked his ability to connect to star players.
Sampson was also an assistant coach in Milwaukee under Scott Skiles and was a finalist for the Detroit Pistons head coaching job before it went to current coach Lawrence Frank.
Stan Van Gundy: He already expressed no interest on the job but Van Gundy gets the best out of his players even with his incessant prodding and poking. He would be able to stand up to Deron Williams and would give the Nets a great defensive culture like he was able to give Orlando. Plus with the way Dwight Howard is struggling right now, the job he did with Orlando looks even more impressive.
Jerry Sloan: It won’t happen but it would be hilarious to see Sloan and Deron Williams reunite. Williams recently talked about how he liked Sloan’s flex offense better than Avery’s offensive structure (which basically spelled doom for Johnson). But considering how Williams was basically the scapegoat of Sloan leaving the Jazz, it would be interesting to see their interactions.
Mike Brown: So what of Mike Brown? He seems to let the stars walk all over him and Deron would love this hire. While Brown is known for his defensive chops, he seems to have failed in implementing that this season with the Lakers, which mostly led to his ousting after a 1-4 start.
Also, while he’d consider going back, I’m also sure he’s enjoying getting paid by the Lakers while he’s sitting at home.
Mike Dunleavy: Stop.