After the surprisingly sudden announcement by Billy King that P.J. Carlesimo would not return to coach the Nets next season—despite his 35-19 record—Carlesimo was a guest on ESPN Radio’s The Herd with Colin Cowherd.
Cowherd asked Carlesimo to share his thoughts on why he was let go by the Nets, if the Bulls can challenge the Miami Heat, and whether the Pacers are the most underrated team in the Eastern Conference.
Hit the jump for the synopsis of Carlesimo’s thoughts.
What were the reasons you were let go by the Nets?
Philosophically, I think Billy and the organization wanted someone that they felt was more in line with their thoughts and the way they felt about the roster and the whole situation going forward.
They felt I wasn’t the guy, so they gotta get the guy in here they want. It was a great opportunity, it was a nice job. This franchise is in great shape right now in terms of the move to Brooklyn and Barclays Center and everything is on the uptick right now.
The roster is a good roster, it’s a little tight, there’s not a lot of flexibility going forward but Billy and Mikhail Prokhorov are willing to do what they have to do to be successful so I think it will be a very good opportunity for somebody.
Are the Pacers Underrated?
Probably, I think they’re a tiny bit under the radar… They’re arguably the best defensive team in the league if you look at all the factors… They’re excellent.
Paul George is probably more underrated than the team is, I don’t know if people realize how good he really is. They’re hard to deal with. The New York-Indiana series is a contrast series, the teams are different. New York shoots a ton of threes, obviously. New York is good when they defend…
Indiana is hard to beat with offense. You’ve gotta defend them, also and you gotta pound with them down on the boards and I think that’s gonna be the challenge for the Knicks…
Frank has done a good job with them. They’re tough, they’re defensive minded and they’re long.
Can the Bulls challenge the Heat?
Absolutely… They beat them twice during the year… They need to be healthy to compete with Miami. The first game is gonna be interesting, [The Heat] haven’t played for a while. The first game is always interesting because you don’t know which way it’s gonna go… I think if they’re healthy, yes they can, but they’ve gotta take care of the ball…
When you turn the ball over, they score so quick… They’re tough to beat…
They’re the defending champs, they’re gonna be a tough out, especially if Chicago stays injured.
As a coach, how do you handle the Derrick Rose injury saga?
I don’t think you can do anything… As a coach, it’s the trainer, the doctor and the player’s decision. It’s not the coach’s decision… It’s also an easy decision when he’s your franchise… This is an easy one to step back and say ‘gosh, we gotta look at the big picture’
I don’t think it’s a hard decision. It might be uncomfortable right now… but if Derrick doesn’t feel he is [ready to play], then end of discussion…
When he’s ready to come back, hopefully he’ll come back and be the Derrick Rose we’ve gotten used to.