Nets assistant coach Tony Brown was named the interim head coach for the rest of the season, and the general manager role remains open until management can find a proper replacement.
Hollins was all class in his departure:
Thank you Brooklyn. I'm extremely grateful to everyone involved for the opportunity. As Tom Coughlin says, no "goodbye" just "Next time"...— Lionel Hollins (@LionelHollins14) January 12, 2016
Shortly after the team released Hollins and reassigned King, the rumors began.
All over social media, names and thoughts on the vacancies began to pop up, beginning with a familiar name to the Nets organization:
Yahoo Column: How much it would cost owner Mikhail Prokhorov to lure Kentucky's John Calipari back to the Nets. https://t.co/kQ1fMwRXCU— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) January 11, 2016
Kentucky head coach John Calipari coached the then-New Jersey Nets from 1996 to 1999 and has been mentioned a lot during recent NBA head coaching searches.
Calipari has turned Kentucky into one of the most dominant college hoop programs in the country since he took the job in 2009, making four of the last Final Fours.
For Calipari to consider the Nets – and, yes, the Sacramento Kings, too – league sources tell Yahoo Sports that the teams have been informed of his asking price: 10 years, $120 million.
When Calipari spoke with minority ownership in Sacramento last spring, he told them that it would take an offer of $11 million-plus a year to get his attention, league sources said. Calipari turned down a 10-year, $80 million-plus offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014, because he wouldn't leave Kentucky with only an incremental raise on what is now an $8 million to $9 million annual package on campus.
That's a lot of cash.
It didn't take long for Calipari to shoot down the rumors:
You may have heard me say this before: I absolutely have the best coaching job in sports and I plan on being at Kentucky for a long time.— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) January 11, 2016
I am not negotiating with ANYBODY. My total focus is on this team and winning the next game.— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) January 11, 2016
With Calipari appearing to be staying put at Kentucky, the search moved to three familiar names in the NBA world.
Bryan Colangelo won the NBA Executive of the Year award twice with the Toronto Raptors in 2005 and with the Phoenix Suns in 2007. In addition to pointing out Colangelo's candidacy for the GM role, ESPN.com's Marc Stein and Mike Mazzeo highlighted a couple of former head coaches in Brooklyn's search:
Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov insisted at a news conference Monday that he plans to be methodical in his search and interview a number of candidates for his both his GM and coaching vacancies after reassigning King and firing coach Lionel Hollins.
But sources say Colangelo has quickly emerged as a serious candidate should the Nets go the route of hiring a proven NBA executive to succeed King and then pursue one of the top of available coaches, such as Tom Thibodeau or Mark Jackson.
Jackson was hired by the Golden State Warriors for the 2011-12 season and took the Warriors from 23 wins in his first year to 51 wins in the 2013-14 season before being fired in July 2014.
Thibodeau was fired this past summer after five seasons with the Chicago Bulls. He won 62 games in his first season, including being honored as the NBA Coach of the Year after the 2010-11 season.
The Nets are going to have options, but it's a difficult sell at this time.
Through Tuesday's games, the Nets are 10-28 this season and don't have the full rights to their first-round pick until 2019.
LeBron James Jr. will probably have every college in the country coming after him by the time the Nets have their own first-round pick again.
Joe Johnson is slated to be a free agent after this season, so the Nets will have cap space to go after pending free agents such as Kevin Durant, Mike Conley and DeMar DeRozan.
Is Brooklyn the most ideal landing spot in the world? Absolutely not.
But, by building things from the ground up, the Nets could embark on a solid rebuilding phase similar to that of their crosstown rivals, Phil Jackson's New York Knicks.