Jeff Van Gundy and Mike Dunleavy reportedly are two of the names on the Brooklyn Nets’ list of potential head coaches. The Nets fired Avery Johnson on Thursday, just 28 games into the season. Assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo was promoted to interim head coach, but the team is believed to have its eyes on some other candidates.
At the top of the team’s list is Phil Jackson, who is said to be open to hearing their offer. Jackson reportedly was prepared to accept the Lakers job until it was given to Mike D’Antoni. He famously is only interested in coaching teams he believe can win a championship. The 14-14 Nets likely will not fit that criteria, so we doubt he will seriously consider the position, though CBS Sports’ Ken Berger says Jackson is “intrigued” by the job.
Van Gundy is said to be high on the Nets’ list if they are unable to get Jackson. ESPN New York says the Nets hold Van Gundy “in high regard” and consider him a serious candidate for the job. Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski says Van Gundy is interested in the position, but he will not talk to the team until after the season out of respect for the current coach. The Nets were turned down by Van Gundy before hiring Johnson in 2010.
In addition to Van Gundy, Wojnarowski mentioned Kelvin Sampson as a potential candidate for the job. Sampson served as the Rockets’ head coach while Kevin McHale took a personal leave of absence last month. The New York Times’ Howard Beck says Sampson’s name has been discussed, but he is not viewed as a “significant candidate.”
Beck mentioned former Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy as a candidate (as did ESPN New York). Dunleavy lobbied for the job on his radio show.
“First off, I’m from Brooklyn, so if ever given the opportunity to coach a team from Brooklyn, it would be a dream come true,” Dunleavy said on his SiriusXM show, via the New York Times. “Right now, to the best of my understanding, is that P. J. has been given the job on an interim basis — I’m not sure with the opportunity to keep it or not — but he’s a friend of mine, he’s a good coach and I wish him all the best in what he’s doing right now.”
Both ESPN New York and the Times mention Larry Brown as a potential candidate, citing his relationship with Billy King. Brown is currently in his first season as coach at SMU. Nate McMillan and Flip Saunders have also been mentioned as candidates for the job.
The Nets beat the Bobcats at home 97-81 on Friday in their first game under Carlesimo.
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