Brooklyn Nets Coaching Job Should Scare off Big-Name Candidates

Dan Favale@@danfavaleFeatured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 28: Interim Coach P.J. Carlesimo of the Brooklyn Nets and Deron Williams #8 wait for play to begin in their game against the Charlotte Bobcats at the Barclays Center on December 28, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. The Nets defeated the Bobcats 97-81. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Brooklyn sure is cold this time of year.

And that, right there, is one of the bajillion reasons why Phil Jackson, among other big-name coaches, should steer clear of the Brooklyn Nets' coaching vacancy.

Of course, one might say that the climate alone is not enough to dissuade a sideline-meandering genius from accepting such a post, and I'm inclined to agree. Yet atmospheric conditions aside, the Nets are not a contender on the rise, and thus, they're not an entity that should attract the masses.


Well, let's not be coy here: Brooklyn owner Mikhail Prokhorov isn't the most supportive of bosses. Just ask Avery Johnson, who was given but 28 games to turn an unfamiliar roster into a contender.

While that's more than five times as long as the Los Angeles Lakers gave Mike Brown, pretending that expectations aren't astronomically high is less than futile.

Perhaps Prokhorov would place more faith, provide more job security to a more established name such as Jackson or Jeff Van Gundy. Or maybe he wouldn't.

Coaching the Lakers has been like hitting a brick wall for Mike D'Antoni. He was hired knowing the extent and enormity of expectations, but could he have fathomed that a squad this seemingly talented would be playing sub-.500 basketball?

Much of the same can be said about Brooklyn. The stars are not as plentiful nor as prolific as in Hollywood, but its roster was constructed in similar fashion. As such, patience, let alone failure, is not an option. And at this point, sustainable success might not be either.

Though the Nets aren't what you would consider untalented, they're nowhere near contention.

In Deron Williams you have a franchise star who has ushered out two coaches and is currently playing beneath his $100 million contract. In fact (via Tim Bontemps of the New York Post), he's a self-proclaimed project.

Probably [the most in] my whole life, not just the league,” Williams said when asked if he’s ever been this frustrated since entering the NBA in 2005. “I’m definitely frustrated with how I’m playing. I’m disappointed in how I’m playing. I’ve had stretches where one or two games I had off games, but never like this, never consistently playing this bad.”

Worse than that, and certainly worse than Williams' declining numbers is his readied admittance (via Howard Beck of the New York Times) that he hasn't been the same player he was since having surgery on his wrist:

David Locke, the Jazz’s radio commentator, has pointed to the right wrist injury that Williams sustained in February 2011, noting that all of Williams’s statistics have declined since then. Williams had surgery on the wrist that April. He has fallen on it several times this season and ices it after every game.

“I felt like I shot a lot better before my wrist surgery,” Williams conceded. “I played the last year and a half in Utah with a bad wrist. It’s one of those things where I shot a certain way for two and a half years, because of the wrist. I don’t know if it’s changed my shot or what, but my shot hasn’t felt the same since.”

I admire Williams' honesty, but assuming control of a roster whose leader is admittedly worn down is a difficult (bordering on senseless) undertaking.

It's even more onerous when you consider the other nine-figure man, Joe Johnson, is in the middle of a tumultuous season himself.

The once high-scoring shooting guard is averaging just 17.1 points—his lowest total since the 2004-05 campaign—on 42.8 percent shooting (second-lowest conversion rate of his career).

How is that soothing?

Worry turns to sickness, though, when you realize that there's little, if anything, the Nets can do to improve.

Courtesy of Williams and Johnson's arduous contracts—as well as Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez's deal—Brooklyn isn't projected to be under the cap until 2016.

Sure, the Nets could trade Williams, but even at his worst, he provides the team with someone to believe in. And you really can't put a price on that. 

A taker would undoubtedly emerge for the potentially overpaid Lopez, yet dealing your leading scorer and your most consistent scorer is about as logical as Robin Lopez's hair.

Dealing Johnson would do some financial good, but there isn't a single team in the NBA that is bound to take on his bloated salary accompanied by his tepid production. Even Wallace's $40 million deal would prove difficult to move for the next few years.

So much for having any flexibility.

Is this really the type of team you'd want to take over if you were Jackson? Van Gundy? Hell, I wouldn't even encourage a desperate first-timer like Patrick Ewing to push for the job.

Brooklyn simply has too much baggage and not enough capable man-power to carry it. Its problems extend well beyond the basketball court, up to the front office where an unrelenting owner awaits.

That's what the Nets will have to sell any and all potential coaching candidates on as they begin their search for a new head honcho, whenever that may be.

Doing so won't be an easy task, though. Not when the the Nets' brass has already demonstrated their penchant for impatience. Not after watching what D'Antoni is going through in Los Angeles with an arguably more talented roster.

And most certainly not when the appeal of winning a championship is on life support.

If it's even alive at all.


*All stats in this article are accurate as of January 3, 2013.


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