Jazz coach Quin Snyder stood outside the visitors’ locker room at Barclays Center, laughing when someone pointed out that with two years under his belt, he is a veritable veteran in the NBA. It speaks to the turnaround in this profession, he said, adding that that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Well, it might be. At least for the Nets.
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Reports surfaced Friday that the Cavaliers had fired David Blatt and Blatt himself confirmed it, issuing a statement through the Priority Sports Twitter account saying he was “grateful to have had the opportunity to serve as the Head Coach” of the team.
Blatt, with his 30-11 record and NBA Finals appearance last season, somehow finds himself in the same situation as Lionel Hollins — whom the Nets fired two weeks ago after he got off to a 10-27 start.
Blatt could be an attractive candidate for the Nets, who on Friday night fell to the Jazz, 108-86, for their fifth straight loss and their ninth in their last 10. The Nets (11-33) led by 11 in the first quarter before their latest unraveling.
Gordon Hayward (21 points) got Utah’s early rally going with a three-pointer about eight minutes in. The Jazz put together separate runs of 7-0 and 8-0 in the second quarter, and Utah went ahead for good on Rodney Hood’s driving layup with 7:29 left before halftime.
Reserves Bojan Bogdanovic and Willie Reed had 14 and 12 points, respectively, for the Nets. Wayne Ellington added 11. Brook Lopez had only eight points and three rebounds in 19 minutes.
Things got so bad in the third quarter that the usually docile Barclays Center crowd rained down boos after back-to-back turnovers under the basket.
“All I can do is keep encouraging them to do it the right way,” interim coach Tony Brown said of the turnovers. “Some soul- searching needs to be done. I’m going to keep fighting and I hope they do, too.”
Thaddeus Young, too, seemed frustrated. “It’s the same sorry story,” he said. “Right now, something has to change.”
In all, the Nets — sans general manager, sans permanent coach and sans any semblance of stability — could use any one of those three.
Blatt now is an option — Brown isn’t expected to take on the role for good — and his .675 career winning percentage is a nice recommendation. It’s not that easy, though. Published reports say the Nets have a strong interest in former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, and with the return of Steve Kerr to the Golden State bench on Friday night, there’s little likelihood that assistant Luke Walton, who posted a 39-4 record in Kerr’s absence, will want to stay put.
It leaves a cornucopia of options for the Nets in what has become a buyers’ market, but things are complicated without a GM. Billy King was reassigned when Hollins was fired, and owner Mikhail Prokhorov has yet to hire anyone in his stead.
Notes & quotes: The Nets hired David Nurse as their shooting coach, Brown confirmed in a news conference before their game against the Jazz.
“I’m not sure when he’s going to be arriving with us, but clearly there’s an area that we can use help at, especially with our young players,” Brown said. “It will be interesting to see if he can spend some time with our other players, but any time you have a young core of guys and you’re building for the future, a coach of that nature could be very helpful.”
Nurse has served as a consultant for various NBA players, including James McAdoo, Alex Kirk, Aron Baynes, Aaron Gordon and C.J. Watson — and heads Perfect Shots Basketball, a coaching and consulting company. Entering Friday night’s game, the Nets were second to last in three-point percentage at 31.8.