NEW YORK — Inteirm head coach P.J. Carlesimo won his debut on Friday night when the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Charlotte Bobcats by a final score of 97-81. Before the Nets battled the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night, Carlesimo addressed the media and discussed his odds of retaining the head coaching job long-term.
Carlesimo was asked whether or not he thought that the opportunity was there for him to retain the Nets job.
“I think it’s available,” he said. “I think we need to win and there are also coaches that are available but that’s not something that I have control over.”
After beating the Bobcats in his debut, Carlesimo revealed that he was a bit nervous before the game, but thus far, he’s seemed very relaxed and rather candid.
“Whatever happens, we deal with what we have to deal with,” Carlesimo said. “Our guys played well last night and responded and we’ll just go at it one day at a time and let’s see what’s gonna happen.”
When Avery Johnson was dismissed, he cited his lack of a contract extension and his lame duck status as being a contributing factor in his inability to reach his players. Carlesimo believes that probably was an issue for Johnson.
“It’s infinitely better to have many years left on your contract,” he said. “That does make you a more effective coach, without question… You really don’t want to go into the last year of your contract, ever.”
Overall, coach Carlesimo seems to know that he will be judged by the results on the court and that he won’t get the benefit of the doubt from anyone just yet. “If Phil [Jackson] were coaching or [Jerry] Sloan when he was in Utah, Gregg Popovich, they had more credibility with the players than I do.”
The deck is certainly stacked against Carlesimo, but the same was true for Mike Woodson last year. Woodson took over for Mike D’Antoni after 42 games last season and led the Knicks to an 18-6 record and a playoff berth. He was awarded with a multi-year contract to serve as the team’s head coach.
Now, Carlesimo will attempt to replicate that unorthodox path to his fourth NBA head coaching job.