NBA

Carlesimo says NBA title could've saved job

05/07 1:56 PM

Former Brooklyn Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo doesn't think winning Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals would've saved his job.

NEW YORK -- P.J. Carlesimo doesn't think winning Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals would've saved his job as coach of the Brooklyn Nets.

"I think short of winning a championship, it wouldn't have made any difference. I mean, Billy [King] was pretty candid," Carlesimo said during an interview on "The Dan Patrick Show" on Monday, a day after the Nets general manager notified the interim coach he would not be offered a new contract. "Had we won Saturday and advanced and were getting ready to play the Heat tonight, I think anything short of winning a championship wasn't going to change his mind or [ownership's] mind."

The Nets announced on Sunday they wouldn't be retaining Carlesimo, who went 35-19 during the regular season after replacing Avery Johnson on an interim basis, but couldn't get the team out of the first round of the playoffs.

"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," Carlesimo said on ESPN Radio's "The Herd with Colin Cowherd."

"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."

Carlesimo said he believes King will go after 11-time champion coach Phil Jackson. The GM told reporters on Sunday he would call Jackson to gauge his level of interest in the position.

"I think he's serious about starting with Phil Jackson, who is arguably the best coach in the history of our league, and anybody else out there that's a good fit," Carlesimo told Patrick.

But Carlesimo doesn't think Jackson will want to come back and coach.

"My gut tells me no," Carlesimo told Patrick. "Obviously he's always been linked to this job ... but it seems that's not on his wish list anymore. From what I'm reading and hearing all the time, he wants a Pat Riley-type situation, a team where he can do that [be in the front office], that obviously would not be the case in Brooklyn."

Carlesimo said on Sirius XM radio that he didn't have any conversations with management on his future after taking over for Johnson.

"When you don't know anything either way, that's usually not a good sign," Carlesimo said. When asked if he saw this coming, Carlesimo told Sirius XM, "Not really." He added that it was "disappointing."

Carlesimo told Sirius XM that King said he was part of the decision to move in another direction, "and I have no reason to doubt Billy."

Aside from Jackson, big names that the Nets could look at to replace Carlesimo include Larry Brown, who coached the Philadelphia 76ers when King was the GM there; Indiana Pacers assistant coach Brian Shaw; Jerry Sloan, who received an endorsement from point guard Deron Williams; and Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who is still under contract there. But it's possible that Rivers could be swayed to leave with the Celtics possibly entering a transition phase.

"I'm open, I would listen," Sloan told Comcast SportsNet Northwest. "I haven't done the research on their roster, but I would definitely listen if they called."

ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy didn't want to speculate on who the Nets might choose.

"If you read, I was candidate, and now I believe Billy King has told the local beat writers that I'm not really a candidate, so you can read into that what you want," he said. "But I just find for me, I like it better when I just lay low, do the job that I have, and if ever somebody wants to talk we do it quietly."

He was more open when discussing the future for his brother, Stan.

"Stan should be a candidate for any job, frankly," Jeff Van Gundy said. "If you're looking at the coaches available, I think his winning percentage is like 65 or 66 percent -- something astronomical, and if you've watched his teams, he's been able to get players to play consistently better and harder for longer than they did previously. So I have no idea if Stan wants to coach next year. But if I was any owner, I'd be pursuing him."

Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.


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