As the Nets look to move on from Lawrence Frank, they now need to name an interim coach to take them through the rest of the season. Common sense says the Nets, who are a financial mess, will promote someone in-house to take over head coaching duties. Here are some of the possibilities:
Kiki Vandeweghe – The Nets GM, Kiki was looking like the odds-on favorite if you believed last week’s media reports. But since the Frank firing, reports say the team may be backing away from Vandeweghe, and looking instead to one of the team’s current assistants. It’s not as if Kiki would have brought something definitively special to the table. He has no head coaching experience, though he’s earned some praise for his talent recognition while working in the front offices of Dallas and Denver. Regarding his work as GM in New Jersey – since he assembled this losing roster, is it only fitting that he should be the one to coach it?
Tom Barrise – Barrise got the call last night against the Lakers and the game resembled the first 16 games of the 2009-10 season. The Nets got blitzed early, were inept offensively for most of the first half, and fell into a hole they were never able to climb out of. There was even some Bobby Simmons playing PF for those longing for Lawrence Frank’s coaching decisions. Still Barrise is a guy who’s paid his dues for 14 years in the organization, first as an advanced scout and then as an assistant. He’s a Jersey guy through and through – born in Paterson, with coaching experience at Ramapo, William Patterson, Farleigh Dickinson and St. Peter’s – which could make him a hometown favorite.
John Loyer – Loyer’s in his first year as an assistant coach with the team, after spending four seasons in that capacity in Philadelphia. A word that comes up often when discussing Loyer is “respect.” Yes, he has no head coaching experience, dating back to his days as an assistant at the University of Cincinnati, but the current roster reportedly is already a fan of his.
Doug Overton – In his second season as an assistant coach, the longtime NBA point guard is an interesting dark horse candidate to take over for Frank. I personally wonder how his relationship with Chris Douglas-Roberts would impact Rod Thorn’s decision to promote Overton. Both CDR and Overton have downplayed it, but both have engaged in some public screaming matches with each other in front of the media, including most recently during a game in Milwaukee where Overton was barking orders at CDR and the guard snapped back “we’re losing!”
Roy Rogers – Another dark horse, Rogers has earned some praise in his two years as a Nets assistant because of his work with the Nets bigs – notably Brook Lopez. He does have some coaching experience in the NBA D-League as well, which could help his cause. A former NBA first round draft pick in 1996.
The Open Field – Again, it’s doubtful, but the Nets could reach outside the organization for help. The names that are out there? Well, Patrick Ewing is reportedly already lobbying for a chance. Other names with NBA head coaching experience include Avery Johnson, Sam Mitchell, Reggie Theus, PJ Carlesimo, Terry Porter and Eric Musselman.