With the Brooklyn Nets’ first season at a close, they have already decided that head coach P.J. Carlesimo will not be returning to his position next season. Though nothing is set in stone just yet, it does seem as though almost everyone involved in the NBA in some capacity has been linked as a possibility to fill the vacancy. As of this moment, though, we believe the top three candidates have been identified.
And no, the list does not include Phil Jackson or Doc Rivers.
The “Not So Likely” duo…
Phil Jackson: What seemed like an easy choice for the Nets has instead become a dead end. Jackson, who won numerous championships with the Bulls and Lakers, was thought to be looking for a return to coaching. Instead, the New York Post reported that Jackson isn’t interested in a coaching position, but instead may be looking for a position in the front office. That will not happen in Brooklyn. Jackson is currently assisting the Detroit Pistons with their head coaching search, and Nate McMillan and Maurice Cheeks are reportedly the final two candidates under consideration out in Motown.
Doc Rivers: The current head coach of the Celtics, Rivers was reached out to by the Nets, but instead of giving them an answer himself, Danny Ainge, the president of basketball operations for the Celtics, was confirmed by ESPN Boston as not allowing the conversation to move forward. Rivers is still under contract
The probable three…
Jeff Van Gundy: Van Gundy may be the furthest the Nets have gotten to actually hiring a new head coach. While no interview has been scheduled, the Nets have been in contact with him.
Lionel Hollins: RantSports.com stated that Hollins, the coach for the Grizzlies, is a possibility for the position, even though his style of coaching may not be exactly what Nets’ General Manager Billy King is looking for. King has been outspoken in saying that he views the Nets moving forward as an offensively-minded team, while Hollins is best known for his defensive decisions. Still, Hollins’ excellent record with the Grizzlies this past season is hard to look over, making him a definite possibility for the position.
Brian Shaw: One of the newest coaching prospects for the Nets is Shaw, the current associate head coach for the Pacers. Besides the fact that Shaw is currently helping to coach a team already in the finals, he won multiple championships as a player. The Nets may have to fight for him, though, as the New York Post reported that other teams, such as the Clippers and Pistons, are also interested in hiring him. Any coach that has just won a championship will definitely be in high demand. Shaw’s season ended on Monday night when the Miami Heat defeated the Pacers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Donnie Walsh, the president of the Pacers, has let it be known that he believes Shaw is ready to be a head coach in the NBA and will allow him to interview with any team.
The dark horse…
Ettore Messina: As reported by RantSports.com, Messina, the current coach for the Russian basketball super league team CSKA Moscow, may be looking to make a return to the States. With ties to the Nets’ owner Mikhail Prokhorov through CSKA Moscow, Messina still has two more years on his contract with them, but might be interested in a return to the NBA after an incredibly successful run with multiple European teams.
At the moment, the leaders for the Nets seem to be Hollins, Shaw and Van Gundy, with the others being complete dead ends or still speculation, as is the case with Messina. Because the search is still beginning, anything could happen, and it’s possible that the future head coach of the Brooklyn Nets hasn’t even been noticed by the organization yet.