Moke Hamilton, SNYNets.com
NEW YORK — Since the news of Avery Johnson’s firing broke early Thursday afternoon, there was immediate speculation as to who would ultimately take over as the head coach for the Brooklyn Nets. P.J. Carlesimo has taken over the reigns of the team on an interim basis and he’ll have no shortage of competition to beat out if he’s to retain the job.
But a league source tells SNY.tv that one candidate is extremely unlikely to make the cut.
High profile candidates such as Phil Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy are said to have interest in the Nets head coaching job. Others such as Nate McMillan and Mike Dunleavy have been mentioned. At this time, there are literally scores of candidates available.
One name that has come up is former New York Knick, Patrick Ewing. Ewing played for the Knicks for 15 seasons and retired after playing for the Orlando Magic during 2001-02 season.
Since retiring, Ewing has served as an assistant coach for the Washington Wizards, Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic. He last served under Stan Van Gundy in Orlando and was let go when Van Gundy was relieved of his coaching duties last May.
Ewing is believed to be in search of a head coaching job and, in September, turned down an offer to coach the Knicks D-League team. Ewing spoke with ESPN New York’s Ian O’Connor last March and told O’Connor that he’d be interested in interviewing for any job, especially one that was available in New York.
At that time, there was no vacancy in Brooklyn, but obviously, that’s changed now.
Hiring Ewing to coach the Nets would make sense in an attempt to win headlines in New York City, but the expectations on the Nets to win and make the playoffs would make this a very risky move. Ewing’s former teammates Mark Jackson is having success in Oakland as the coach of the Golden State Warriors, but the expectations placed on the Nets by their fan base and front office probably wouldn’t lend itself to a first time head coach landing the job.
As of right now, the Nets intend of giving interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo all the support he needs to help the 15-14 Brooklyn Nets turn their season around. According to Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and general manager Billy King, the search for a permanent replacement has not started yet and while it seems somewhat premature to rule Ewing out as a candidate, his landing the job is extremely improbable.