The Nets waited four months to make a decision on whether to make interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo the permanent man in charge. But they didn’t wait long after the season ended to let him go.
General manager Billy King met with reporters at the team facility the day after their season ended to announce Carlesimo has been fired.
“It was a difficult decision and we talked about it, but looking at the long term and the future of this organization, I felt it was in the best interest to find the right fit,” said King, who signed a multi-year extension of his own just last month. “I thanked him; he did a hell of a job for us in a difficult situation.”
The Nets lost to the Bulls in Game 7 of the opening round of the playoffs Saturday night at the Barclays Center.
Brooklyn came into the season with high expectations after re-signing Deron Williams and Brook Lopez and trading for All Star Joe Johnson in the offseason. Head coach Avery Johnson got off to a strong start, being named November’s NBA Coach of the Month, before falling into a losing streak in December. The team didn’t wait long to fire Avery Johnson, axing him Dec. 28.
The coach went 14-14 in the first 28 games of the season and found himself out on the street.
Carlesimo, a former Golden State and Seattle head coach, took over and led the team to the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference. He finished at 38-23 as interim head coach.
Many of the players spoke in support of Carlesimo after the Game 7 loss, despite the expectations of beating Chicago.
“I think he did a great job of leading us,” Williams said Saturday night. “I’d love to see him back but as you know that’s not up to me.”
The coaching search will begin immediately and undoubtedly big-time names such as Phil Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy will be leading candidates in Brooklyn’s eyes.
“By doing it now, there’s a lot of jobs open, so it gives P.J. a chance and it gives us a chance, with a lot of candidates out there, to explore and that’s what we’ll do in the next couple of weeks,” King said of the coaching search.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.