All Nets

Follow the Nets' return to New York with Newsday's Rod Boone.


P.J. Carlesimo: Avery Johnson did Nets' dirty work

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 02: Head coach P.J.

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 02: Head coach P.J. Carlesimo of the Brooklyn Nets watches as his team take on the Chicago Bulls in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2013 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on May 2, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. The Nets defeated the Bulls 95-92. (Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

P.J. Carlesimo hasn't been shy about offering his opinion since he was cut loose by the Nets.

That surely didn't change Thursday, when Brooklyn's former interim coach spoke about the expectations placed upon the coaching staff -- particularly Avery Johnson -- this season.

Carlesimo, now working for ESPN as an analyst through the playoffs, once again took umbrage with the the Nets parting ways with Johnson, thinking they didn't give him ample time.

"Well, I think it made it difficult to keep the job more so for Avery, because Avery was brought in, and he did the dirty work," Carlesimo said during a conference call. "You got the two years of getting your head knocked off while they were getting the roster together and getting the salary cap right and all that. Then when the team had a very representative team to put out there and you had all the great things that we all enjoyed this year in Brooklyn, he didn't get a chance to reap the benefits of those two years, which was unfortunate.
"For me, it's disappointing only because it's such a good job. I think you know how I feel about it. There are only 30 jobs in this league, but there are a handful that are better than others, and I think Brooklyn is one of those jobs because it's a team that's got a chance to win every night. I've had very good jobs, and I've been as a head coach and an assistant coach obviously when I was in San Antonio in particular, we had a chance to win the whole thing.
Carlesimo continued: "When you have a job in this league that you have a chance to win every night, that's very special, and Brooklyn is one of those jobs.  Having said that, the expectations to win a championship in two years, that's a heavy load for anybody, not just for Brooklyn. I don't know if that's realistic the way the roster is right now.  I would not say that team could not win a championship. We thought we could this year if things broke a little better for us.

"But if you have that on your plate, that you need to win a championship in two years, I think it makes it a little challenging. ... But I still would not call them one of the favorites.  I wouldn't put that on whoever is lucky enough to get the job.  I think it's a team that could win a lot of games. I think it's a 50-win team, a playoff team and a team that could do well, particularly in the Eastern Conference. But to win a championship is a bear. Those 16 wins are hard to come by at the end of the year, but the Spurs have ten of them right now, Miami's got nine.  It's hard to get to 16.
"I still do think it's a good job.  I think the expectations are maybe not totally realistic, but you'd rather have that from your owner and you know he's got the wherewithal to back it up."

Carleismo also suggested he didn't believe the players were truthful when, in speaking to the media the day after the season ended, they said they felt they needed more of an established coach that could command everyone's respect and keep them all in check.

"I think when you ask players what they want, it's like spin," Carlesimo said. "This time I think there was a little bit of I wasn't hard enough on the team. Every other time I've coached in the league, I was too hard on the guys. So I think people spin things the way they want to do it.
"Whoever comes in here, he'll get at least a short chance. By the time training camp is over, by the time November December is over, he's either going to have proven to the players how capable he is and then they'll go forward from that, or for whatever reason, it will go sideways or stutter a little bit in the beginning.
"I don't think there is a magic person in terms of a profile. I don't think it's got to be somebody that's coached in the league for ten years. I don't think it's somebody that has to have been a head coach. There are too many examples of guys with no coaching experience thriving right off the bat. I think you're not going to win in this league much less win a championship unless you have a veteran team.

"I think for the most part, it's a good group. I really do. I think you're never going to get 15 guys that you love their attitude; you love the way they work and the way they listen.  But in general, I think it's a good group, and whoever is lucky enough to get the job will like working with that group.
"But maybe I'm being unrealistic, but I would not say it can't be an assistant or can't be a young guy or can't be somebody that hasn't been a head coach in the league before. I think when you get in there and get a chance to be face to face with guys and get through training camp with them and coach some games, they'll know.

"They'll sense at that point this is the right guy or this guy knows what he's doing or he doesn't know what he's doing. I don't think it will be that."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

NBA videos

advertisement | advertise on newsday