Top 5 Candidates for Brooklyn Nets Coaching Vacancy
Since Mikhail Prokhorov took majority ownership of the Brooklyn Nets, the organization has been willing to cause a stir. They did so two years ago when they pulled off the trade deadline deal for Deron Williams. They did so again this summer when they traded for shooting guard Joe Johnson as well as re-signing defensive stalwart and slasher Gerald Wallace and down low presence Brook Lopez. With a payroll of a little over $58 million this season, it appears that Mikhail, is more than willing to channel the likes of fellow NBA team owner, Mark Cuban and spend, spend, spend.
In spite of the fact that the team was a fourth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, Mikhail and the Brooklyn Nets were shown the door, at home no less, and bounced out of the postseason by an extremely short-handed Chicago Bulls roster. Now the season has come to an end with the Nets having blown through two coaches, relieving both Avery Johnson and his replacement on an interim basis, P.J. Carlesimo, of their duties. Most recently, they tried to catch lightning in a bottle again by making a run at Phil Jackson, but he declined their offer.
The big splash coaching hire is one way to fill the Nets vacancy; however, there are several different potential head coaches that the Brooklyn organization should consider, all of whom have varying degrees of NBA head coaching experience. Here are five possible candidates for the team to ponder on their search to fill their coaching vacancy.
Maurice “Mo” Cheeks, current Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach. A former head coach of both the Philadelphia 76ers and Portland Trail Blazers, Mo Cheeks is a well respected amongst players, coaches and front offices throughout the Association. Mo Cheeks comes from a coach lineage that includes working under the likes of John Lucas and Larry Brown. Although his last two stops as the head man haven't ended well, how many years and teams did it take Larry Brown before he was able to claim the Larry O'Brien trophy? With a roster that finished fourth in the Eastern Conference and one or two off-season moves, Mo Cheeks could get the most out of point guard, Williams and the Nets.
Stan Van Gundy
Stan Van Gundy, former Orlando Magic head coach. Although his stint in Orlando, much like his time with the Miami Heat, went up in a blazing glory and a press conference, Van Gundy is a quality coach. Regardless how he became available, Van Gundy has shown through his previous two NBA head coaching stops that not only can he coach up the superstar players, but through his tutelage he's help transform good players into great players. Although his coaching pedigree would hopefully make locker room converts, Van Gundy's relationship with the media would also bode well for him and his relationship with Mikhail. In terms of mouth, Van Gundy is as high profile as any multiple time championship coach.
Nate McMillan, former head coach of Portland Trail Blazers. Another former NBA player, McMillan is also well respected around the league. McMillan appears to have a knack for turning around under-performing teams. In the early 2000s, McMillan led the Seattle SuperSonics to the playoffs as well as a Northwest Division title in 2005. For an encore, McMillan left Seattle and took over the Trail Blazers who at the time were a team riddled with off-the-court issues and salary cap problems. The former player came into the organization and quickly became a steadying hand for the Trail Blazers, and a calming presence. His Xs and Os might be just what the Nets need.
Brian Shaw, current Indiana Pacers assistant coach. The former NBA point guard, has been close to obtaining several head coaching positions, the most high profile of the bunch being the Los Angeles Lakers job. Having been passed over a few times might end up being the best thing for Shaw and his coaching career. Whenever he's hired for a head job, Shaw's going coach like many players play: with a chip on his shoulder. Shaw being a former player could also resonate with the locker room, and his knowledge of the triangle offense would be beneficial in getting the combination of Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson and Williams to work hard for 48 minutes and to play efficiently.
Doc Rivers, current Boston Celtics head coach. This is a long shot at best. There needs to be a ton of things moving and working in the Nets favor in order for them to get Rivers. It would be a real coup if the team in Brooklyn is able to pry him away from Boston Strong. Rivers as the next head coach on the Nets is a possibility, but it's highly unlikely.