Nets GM Billy King can say that P.J. Carlesimo is the team’s head coach all he wants.
We all know the expectations are a little out of control in Brooklyn, and with the firing of Avery Johnson taking place earlier this week, the team will be looking to get a big-name coach on the payroll sooner rather than later.
There isn’t a bigger name out there at this point than Phil Jackson, but plenty of questions surround him in terms of whether he truly wants to return to coaching, as well as whether or not he’d be able to achieve the desired level of success, especially given the talent available on the roster as currently constructed.
That won’t stop the team’s billionaire owner from trying, of course.
In an interview with Sarah Kustok of YES, Howard Beck of the New York Times reported (via NetsDaily) that he expects Mikhail Prokhorov to be in contact with Jackson in the next few days.
We have heard pretty definitively thatPhil Jackson is number 1 as he should be, as you’d expect he would be on the list. What we don’t really know is timing. Will they hire Phil Jackson sometime this season? Would that be the goal? Do they want PJ to finish out the season and then go through a coaching search? How quickly do they want to move?
I think they will try to talk to Phil Jackson as soon as they can sometime in the next few days when Mikhail Prokhorov comes back from his new years eve partying. I think they’ll look to have that conversation.
While the conversation may take place, it’s tough to envision Phil taking over this Nets squad mid-season.
That being said, if the ultimatum (i.e., specific demand of a potential offer) was such that it was the mandate, it may end up happening. But Jackson would likely be forthcoming that he, like the rest of us, doesn’t view this Nets team as a legitimate title contender at this point, so he’d attempt to set the expectations at an appropriate point for the rest of this season.
As for what that level is, exactly, only ownership can decide. But realistically, it shouldn’t be higher than a trip to the second round of the playoffs at best, and a simple berth to the postseason at worst.
Missing the playoffs entirely, especially in the watered-down Eastern Conference, would be a bit of a disaster. That’s why Avery Johnson was dismissed, and if a more long-term solution at head coach is to be hired to replace Carlesimo’s interim status mid-season, that person will need to be firmly on board with the reality that the playoff train in Brooklyn must reach its final destination, and show measurable progress along the way as the season progresses.