Analyst says Carlesimo deserves Nets job
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Van Gundy is finally willing to lobby for the Brooklyn Nets coaching job, though not on his own behalf.
The former coach and current analyst for ESPN/ABC who is known to be on the Nets’ short-list of potential candidates to replace Avery Johnson believes that interim coach P.J. Carlesimo should hold onto the job beyond this season.
“(Carlesimo) has earned that opportunity to come back and be the coach for a long, long time,” Van Gundy told USA TODAY Sports. “I like the way the team is playing. They play hard. It seems like (Deron) Williams and Joe Johnson are playing with a little more energy, Brook Lopez has been terrific. I think PJ has done a wonderful job.”
When Johnson was fired on Dec. 28 and Carlesimo was deemed the interim, Van Gundy may have been the only one who saw him as something more than a stand-in. Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has taught us to assume that he goes big or goes home, and thus the high-profile names that were being considered internally – chief among them Phil Jackson – were reported almost immediately.
Van Gundy’s stance was all the more respectable considering his candidacy, as the former New York and Houston coach declined all public comment on the opportunity at the time because, as he said in a text message then, “PJ deserves every chance to succeed.” Carlesimo has done just that, as the Nets are 13-5 since he took over after a 14-14 start.
Nets general manager Billy King told NBA.com that he was going to meet with Prokhorov to discuss Carlesimo and the job he has done on Wednesday and Friday, though no decision is expected to be made about his future. Even with Brooklyn’s 105-85 loss to Miami on Wednesday, it’s clear Carlesimo has been a boon.
“This guy is a coach’s coach,” Van Gundy said of Carlesimo, the longtime Seton Hall coach who took the Pirates to the championship game in 1989 and who posted a 204-297 record all-time in the NBA while with Portland, Golden State, and Seattle/Oklahoma City. “He’s coached for 40 years, … [For more on Analyst says Carlesmio deserves Nets job: NBA A-Z, click here.]