Ever since then Nets assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo took over the head coaching job of the 14-14 Nets in December, Nets brass has been clear that the coaching job is Carlesimo’s… for now.
Interim coach Carlesimo has shepherded the Nets to a 30-18 record, tying him with Kevin Loughery for the best start by a coach in franchise history. Under P.J. the Nets have also clinched their first winning road record in franchise history. But as resolute as Nets GM Billy King has been about Carlesimo’s job status this season, King has said the team would revisit P.J.’s interim status after the season.
Recently Carlesimo, a Scranton, PA native, talked to Scott Walsh of The Times Tribuneabout his return to head coaching, the interim title and Carlesimo’s future with the Nets. Carlesimo, who has been thrice hired and fired as an NBA head coach — with Portland, Golden State and Seattle/Oklahoma City – – had this to say about taking over for Avery Johnson: “It was a shock to all of us and we were disappointed for Avery. It was an unfortunate circumstance, but that’s the way it is in the NBA. I’ve been on the other side of it three times also.”
Carlesimo credits much of his success as coach to the groundwork Johnson laid as Nets bench boss. “A vast majority of the stuff that we put in is Avery’s stuff,” Carlesimo said. “Yeah, we tweaked a couple things here and there. But essentially it has been a smooth transition for the players because it’s the same stuff and the same coaches.”
While Carlesimo may be modest when talking about the job he has done, Gerald Wallace was more willing to offer praise:
“He’s done a great job,” Nets forward Gerald Wallace said. “He’s given guys an opportunity to come out and play and express themselves. With a team like this, with so many high expectations, to come on in the middle of the season, he’s held the team together and kept us going. It’s a credit to him.”
As for the interim tag, Carlesimo admits it would be nice to have it dropped, but doesn’t feel any added pressure from its attachment to his job title:
“Yeah, I’d love it if I had a 10-year contract. That would make you feel a little more relaxed,” he said. “But it really doesn’t make any difference. You’re still doing the same things. It’s not anything you can control. Whatever happens at the end of the year, happens.”
Read More: Scott Walsh, The Times Tribune — Net Gain: Brooklyn thrives under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo