Could Brooklyn Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov Actually Benefit From NBA Playoffs First-Round Exit?

By Mike B. Ruiz
Anthony Gruppuso-USA Today Sports

Two more losses and Brooklyn Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo might be headed down the block to the Atlantic Avenue train station with a one-way ticket out of town in hand.

Most owners would’ve came sprinting, frantically flailing at a contract and pen if their interim coach had the wild kind of success Carlesimo had after taking over for Avery Johnson on Dec. 27.

But you’ve seen Mikhail Prokhorov sitting in his Barclays Center suite plenty of times this season. That guy seems about as relaxed as a college kid after finals week.

It’s not that Prokhorov doesn’t believe Carlesimo can’t be the guy to lead this team moving forward. It’s just that he’s well aware there will be better options to turn to so long as they’re interested in coaching.

At this point, a very fascinating notion sets into the minds of devil’s advocates.

In order to not give the impression of the cold-hearted owner that refused to retain his proven and experienced interim coach, and thusly scaring off potential future head coaching candidates, it’s realistic to speculate that Prokhorov actually wants his Nets to drop two more games to the Chicago Bulls and begin their summer vacation early.

Seriously consider it for just a moment. Prokhorov wants to make the kind of splash that would make the Nets the sexiest team in New York City.

Phil Jackson and his 11 rings would be the exact dose of sexiness Prokhorov is looking for, but reports seem to indicate that Jackson would be more interested in a management role if he were to return to the NBA. So that marriage isn’t likely.

The next target? Jeff Van Gundy, who was beloved for taking the New York Knicks all the way to the Finals back in 1999?

Yet what would make Van Gundy, who has clearly been timid about returning to the sideline since being fired by the Houston Rockets in 2007, even more skeptical about interviewing with Prokhorov?

Letting Carlesimo walk when he should undoubtedly still be the one sitting in that coach’s chair.

Stan Van Gundy, Jeff’s brother, could also be on Prokhorov’s radar if there is a coaching vacancy. He experienced plenty of success with the Orlando Magic, including a trip to the 2009 Finals.

What it all boils down to, though, is Prokhorov’s understanding that the Nets’ chances of dethroning the Miami Heat this season are just as slim as those of anyone else in the Eastern Conference.

So if he has to secretly root against his current coach from this point out so that he may have a clearer conscience to pursue one with a much higher pedigree like Jackson or a Van Gundy, why wouldn’t he?

Michael Ruiz is a Brooklyn Nets writer for Follow him on Twitter @mikebruiz and “Like” him on Facebook.

You May Also Like