NBA PM: What’s Next for Brooklyn Nets?
The life of an NBA coach can be incredibly unpredictable. Just ask Avery Johnson, who was named the NBA’s Coach of the Month in November, but fired today after the Brooklyn Nets went 3-10 in December.
P.J. Carlesimo will become the Nets’ interim head coach, but where does Brooklyn go from here?
Fortunately for the Nets, there are plenty of notable coaches available including Nate McMillan, Flip Saunders, Jerry Sloan, Larry Brown and Mike Brown. All of these coaches have expressed some level of interest in a return to coaching this season and could be candidates for the job in Brooklyn.
Phil Jackson and Stan Van Gundy aren’t interested in the Nets’ job, according to reports by David Aldridge and Brian Schmitz, respectively.
The Nets will explore their options and likely narrow down their list of candidates relatively soon. Considering the Nets are still hoping to contend this year, they’ll likely try to make a hire as soon as possible.
All season long, the Nets have made it clear that they want to win now. The move to Brooklyn was supposed to be the beginning of a new era for the team. Not only did the Nets have a state-of-the-art arena this season, they had an upgraded roster. Recent acquisition Joe Johnson and a healthy Brook Lopez would be paired with re-signed free agents Deron Williams and Gerald Wallace. Expectations were extremely high, which is why some league sources questioned if Johnson was the right coach for the job over the summer.
Entering the season, the Nets wanted to emerge as the top team in New York, but that clearly hasn’t been the case thus far. The New York Knicks are currently 21-8 and hold the Eastern Conference’s second seed while the Nets are 14-14 and currently eighth in the conference. Brooklyn has lost five of their last six games and is one loss away from falling out of the East’s playoff picture.
Williams had recently questioned Johnson’s coaching, criticizing the isolation-heavy offense and stating publicly that he preferred the system that he ran under Sloan with the Utah Jazz. Williams asked Johnson if he could incorporate some of Sloan’s offensive sets and while the coach tried to appease his star and added some aspects of Sloan’s offense to the game plan, it was clearly too little too late.
This isn’t the first time that Williams and Johnson didn’t see eye to eye. Last year, Williams felt that Johnson wasn’t giving him enough freedom and described him as a micromanager. While the two men said all of the right things and seemed to get along off of the court, their player-coach relationship could’ve been better. This characterization of Johnson as a micromanaging perfectionist isn’t new, as Dirk Nowitzki once described Johnson’s tenure with the Dallas Mavericks as “a little dictatorship.”
Williams wasn’t the only one who chimed in and questioned Johnson. After the Nets’ most recent loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, Wallace also hinted that the coaching was the issue in Brooklyn, telling reporters that the team was too talented to be losing this many games.
Even though the players were frustrated with Johnson, they didn’t see the firing coming. Many were blindsided by the news. Andray Blatche summed up the players’ reaction, tweeting: “wow this is cray.”
After announcing that Johnson had been fired on Thursday afternoon, the Nets released the following statement from owner Mikhail Prokhorov: “The Nets ownership would like to express thanks to Avery for his efforts and to wish him every success in the future.”
Twenty-four days ago, Johnson was honored for the terrific job he had done in the first month of the season, leading the Nets to an 11-4 record. Now, he’s unemployed. Such is life as an NBA head coach.
Roy Hoping to Return Soon
Brandon Roy, like many injured NBA players this season, was hoping to return to action around Christmas. While he wasn’t able to play in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ game last night against the Houston Rockets, he is nearing a return.
Roy had been going through shootaround with the team prior to games and having individual workouts with coaches. Now, he’s taken another significant step in his rehabilitation process, completing his first practice since undergoing surgery on his right knee on November 19. He didn’t experience any pain in his knee after practice, which is an excellent sign and suggests that he’ll be back relatively soon.
The surgery on Roy’s knee wasn’t serious. He described the procedure as minor and said that a surgeon had to remove “a little flap” that was in his knee and causing pain and a pinching feeling. Both feelings are gone now that Roy has healed and went through rehab. Roy joked that after
When Roy initially went down with a right knee injury less than one month into his comeback from retirement, many people suspected that he would be forced to abruptly end his career once again. However, Roy was confident that the injury wouldn’t sideline him for too long and that he would be able to return to the Timberwolves after completing rehab.
Roy will likely return to Minnesota soon, and the Timberwolves could use all of the healthy bodies that they can get right now. Chase Budinger is still sidelined after undergoing surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee. Josh Howard was recently waived by the Timberwolves after tearing his ACL.
This season, Roy has averaged 5.8 points, 4.6 assists and 2.8 rebounds in five games with Minnesota.
Second All-Star Returns Announced
The second All-Star returns have been announced.
In the Eastern Conference, the current starting lineup is Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Garnett. In the Western Conference, the current starting lineup is Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin and Dwight Howard.
Here are the complete vote counts for both conferences.
East Frontcourt: LeBron James (MIA) 970,314; Carmelo Anthony (NYK) 891,759; Kevin Garnett (BOS) 328,716; Chris Bosh (MIA) 308,194; Tyson Chandler (NYK) 260,000; Paul Pierce (BOS) 171,601; Joakim Noah (CHI) 129,331; Josh Smith (ATL) 111,260; Anderson Varejao (CLE) 99,955; Amar’e Stoudemire (NYK) 90,996; Shane Battier (MIA) 88,800; Andrew Bynum (PHI) 84,939; Luol Deng (CHI) 76,400; Brook Lopez (BKN) 67,991; Jeff Green (BOS) 52,785.
East Backcourt: Dwyane Wade (MIA) 645,875; Rajon Rondo (BOS) 574,272; Deron Williams (BKN) 309,778; Kyrie Irving (CLE) 258,193; Ray Allen (MIA) 195,142; Monta Ellis (MIL) 71,287; Raymond Felton (NYK) 66,745; Jrue Holiday (PHI) 56,683; Jason Terry (BOS) 52,833; Brandon Jennings (MIL) 49,122.
West Frontcourt: Kevin Durant (OKC) 924,898; Dwight Howard (LAL) 616,150; Blake Griffin (LAC) 489,795; Tim Duncan (SA) 299,434; Pau Gasol (LAL) 197,377; Kevin Love (MIN) 189,949; Omer Asik (HOU) 131,002; Rudy Gay (MEM) 125,562; Serge Ibaka (OKC) 111,963; Marc Gasol (MEM) 99,271; Zach Randolph (MEM) 97,778; LaMarcus Aldridge (POR) 97,090; Dirk Nowitzki (DAL) 93,491; Metta World Peace (LAL) 85,279; Chandler Parsons (HOU) 78,235.
West Backcourt: Kobe Bryant (LAL) 977,444; Chris Paul (LAC) 542,564; Jeremy Lin (HOU) 496,133; James Harden (HOU) 283,691; Russell Westbrook (OKC) 232,074; Steve Nash (LAL) 166,262; Tony Parker (SA) 111,032; Ricky Rubio (MIN) 96,466; Stephen Curry (GS) 78,380; Manu Ginobili (SA) 70,813.
NBA Chats: There is one more NBA chat on the schedule for today. Lang Greene re-scheduled his chat from yesterday to 8 p.m. EST tonight, so drop in a question for Lang now. Here are the upcoming NBA chats. Here is the NBA chat archive.