Nets Deny Interest in Phil Jackson, Announce Plan to Stick with PJ Carlesimo

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYCorrespondent INovember 7, 2016

Phil Jackson might return to an NBA bench at some point this season, but it's not going to be with the Brooklyn Nets

As reported by ESPN New York's Mike Mazzeo, Nets GM Billy King not only put his support behind interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo in an interview with Ian O'Connor on ESPN 98.7 FM in New York, but he also put to rest speculation that the team was hot on the trail of the Zen Master:

We've put our support behind (P.J.) and then we'll look at things and evaluate it later. I know people have been throwing lists together and things like that, but we have not contacted anybody...We've made the move and now we're going to let P.J. coach.

King's sentiments echo those of Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who, earlier in the week, put his support behind Carlesimo (h/t New York Post):

Now, P.J. is the head coach. And if [a search] becomes necessary, you know [who] the usual suspects are.

[Carlesimo’s] the coach. Let’s wait and just give him some support. It’s very important for the team.

This is sure to be disappointing news for fans of the team and, realistically, some of the players on the roster as well.

While Carlesimo is a fine coach who knows the game as well as anyone in the league, he doesn't have the track record—or name recognition—that Jackson does.

In parts of eight seasons with three different teams—Portland, Golden State and Seattle/Oklahoma City—Carlesimo has compiled a career record of 204-296. He made the playoffs in each of the three seasons he spent in Portland, but failed to advance past the first round in any season.

Yet, I can't help but wonder if this announcement by King is nothing more than the Nets saving face.

David Aldridge of Turner Sports reported earlier this week that Jackson had no interest in the job (via Twitter):

Jackson's longtime rep said Thursday that he has no interest in the Nets' job "at this time;" qualifier prompts continued speculation.

— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) December 28, 2012

If that's the case, King was wise to nip that speculation in the bud, saving Nets fans from further disappointment when Jackson isn't on the sidelines two months from now.

Whether it's a public relations move or what King believes to be the best thing for the Nets, it's clear that, at least for now, Carlesimo is going to be given every opportunity to succeed in Brooklyn.