With No Time to Adjust, Nets Move Forward With Carlesimo

Josh Newman, SNYNets.com

Avery CarlesimoEAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – P.J. Carlesimo has been around the NBA long enough to understand the business of it all, whether fair or unfair.

Avery Johnson was fired as Nets head coach on Thursday, Carlesimo, his top assistant, is in as interim head coach and the team must move forward with a string of six games in nine days beginning Friday evening with the Charlotte Bobcats at Barclays Center.

Like any head coach, Carlesimo would like to put his own stamp on this team, but with six games in nine days coming up, there simply isn’t any time. Until the Nets have some time to take a deep breath, there will be no major changes to the lineup or the philosophies that Johnson left behind.

“We’re not gonna make wholesale changes, for sure,” Carlesimo said at shootaround on Friday morning. “We (the assistant coaches) were a big part of Avery’s decision-making, so I like the vast majority of everything we were doing. If anything, maybe we’re gonna simplify a little bit, maybe we’re gonna tweak a thing here or there. There won’t be wholesale changes, but there will be virtually none short-term.”

Carlesimo indicated that the only true practice day in this nine-day stretch would likely be New Year’s Day, the day after a game at the San Antonio Spurs and the day before they play at the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Even with that one practice lined up, any noticeable changes may not come until after the Nets play the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 5 to cap the six-game stretch. After the Kings, the Nets have two days to work until playing at the Philadelphia 76ers on Jan. 8.

“Our focus will be doing the things we currently do, doing them better, executing them better and play hard,” Carlesimo said. “I think if there was a message today, it was we need to play harder, get back to playing.”

Carlesimo has held three NBA head coaching positions since the 1994-95 season with the Portland Trail Blazers, Golden State Warriors and Seattle SuperSonics/Oklahoma City Thunder. All three of those stints ended in him being fired, with the Warriors and Thunder relieving him in the middle of the season.

With those experiences on his resume, he understands what Johnson is going through, but there is little time to dwell on that. Additionally, there is little time to dwell on who will be the Nets’ permanent replacement for Johnson.

Most believe owner Mikhail Prokhorov will look to make a big splash with a big name, meaning Carlesimo is probably just keeping the big chair warm for the next guy.

That simply goes back to Carlesimo’s understanding that the NBA is a business.

“(Nets General Manager) Billy (King) is gonna tell me at 4:30 today whether I’m coaching tonight, so I’m on three hours at a time,” Carlesimo joked. “He tells me every three hours if I can coach the next three. You have no choice but to deal with it that way.”

Carlesimo is 204-296 as an NBA head coach in the regular season and 3-9 in the playoffs with zero series win.

Injury update

Kris Humphries (mild abdominal strain) and Tornike Shengelia (flu) are out versus the Bobcats, while Deron Williams (bruised right wrist) is a game time decision and Gerald Wallace (hyperextended left knee) is probable.

Humphries has missed the last two games, Christmas Day against the Celtics and Wednesday evening at the Milwaukee Bucks after losing his starting power forward spot and registering a DNP-CD on Sunday against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Officially a game time decision, Williams said at shootaround he plans on playing Friday. He sat on Wednesday at the Bucks, his first missed game of the season.

Josh Newman is SNYNets.com’s Field Reporter. Follow him on Twitter for up to the minute news and banter on all things related to the Brooklyn Nets and the NBA