NBA News: Top Candidates for Brooklyn Nets' Vacant Coaching Job

Andrew Gould@AndrewGould4Featured ColumnistDecember 28, 2012

Will Phil Jackson return to the NBA to coach the Brooklyn Nets?
Will Phil Jackson return to the NBA to coach the Brooklyn Nets?Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Avery Johnson is no longer the Brooklyn Nets' head coach, so let the wild goose chase for his successor commence.

After jumping out to an inspiring 11-4 start, the Nets looked poised to challenge the New York Knicks for the throne of New York's (perhaps even the Eastern Conference's) premier basketball team.

They're now 14-14, scrambling to avoid dropping below .500 and out of the playoff picture. 

ESPN's Chris Broussard tweeted a group of possible replacements obtained from yet another unnamed source.

Source says after Phil Jackson, Nets list includes Mike Dunleavy, Nate McMillan, JVG and Jerry Sloan, tho Sloan called a "long shot."

— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) December 28, 2012

Which of these candidates is most likely to join the Nets?


Phil Jackson

Phil Jackson is clearly the man the Nets want.

According to CBS Sports' Ken Berger, Jackson would consider exiting retirement to chase his 12th championship ring in Brooklyn.

Every move the Nets have made is a cry for attention in order to slash its identity as the Knicks' little brother in New York, so what would attract more headlines than hiring the game's most accomplished head coach?

Jackson has plenty of experience managing stars, so he wouldn't allow Deron Williams to walk over him. 

Signing Jackson would certainly turn heads, but also amplify the Nets' pressure to win immediately. 


Mike Dunleavy

The Brooklyn native could earn some brownie points for his local roots, but hiring Mike Dunleavy would not yield the big splash Billy King and Mikhail Prokhorov would like to create.

Over 17 years, Dunleavy generated a .461 winning percentage tarnished by six losing seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers. 

In his first season as a head coach, Dunleavy lost to Michael Jordan in the NBA Finals. After that, Dunleavy never took a team that far.


Nate McMillan 

Nate McMillan is another solid, experienced coach who won't generate the buzz Brooklyn desperately craves.

While his 478-452 record as a head coach is pedestrian, the former defensive specialist could help reshape an inconsistent unit.


Jeff Van Gundy

Now this possibility is interesting. 

Jeff Van Gundy is revered in New York for his work with the Knicks, and he's a free speaker who can handle the big-market pressure and Williams' expanding ego.

But will he leave the announcing booth, where he and Mike Breen have formed the NBA's most entertaining duo? 


Jerry Sloan

Are people just throwing out this scenario as a joke? Why would Jerry Sloan join forces with Williams, whose insubordination angered Sloan so much that he ended his 24-year career with the Utah Jazz just to get away from the star point guard?