The Brooklyn Nets are looking for a new head coach, in one of the most surprising turns of the offseason. Jason Kidd will take over as the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, leaving Brooklyn after just one year.
According to reports, Kidd’s time with Brooklyn came to an end after seeking more power within the organization. When his request was denied, the team allowed him to speak with the Bucks. Milwaukee has agreed to send Brooklyn second-round draft picks in 2015 and 2019 as compensation.
A day before the start of free agency, the Nets find themselves in the midst of a head coaching search. As Brooklyn scrambles to find a replacement, a few candidates stand out among the rest.
Jeff Van Gundy
The former New York Knicks and Houston Rockets head coach might not be among the most likely candidates. He hasn’t coached in seven years, and appears to be comfortable in his position as an analyst for ESPN and ABC. However, the Nets could look to persuade him to make a return to the NBA.
After Avery Johnson was fired in December 2012, ESPNNewYork.com reported that the organization was interested in hiring Van Gundy. He was highly successful in the Big Apple, leading the Knicks to the NBA Finals in 1999. At the time, it was reported that Van Gundy might prefer to wait until the offseason to start coaching, and Brooklyn hired Kidd last summer. With the job open again, the Nets could take another look at the 52-year-old.
According to ESPN, the Nets have talked about hiring Jackson to replace Kidd. Jackson, who was born in Brooklyn, was recently fired by the Golden State Warriors, with whom he had a lot of success. In three years as the head coach, he led the team to two playoff appearances, including a 51-win season in 2013-2014. Prior to Jackson, the Warriors reached the postseason one time in 18 years.
Jackson and Kidd are very similar, being point guards who became head coaches, shortly after their playing careers. Brooklyn, though, could have some reservations, considering the way Jackson left Golden State. He reportedly clashed with the Warriors’ management, and was eventually replaced by Steve Kerr.
USA Today reports that Hollins is the early favorite to become the Nets next head coach. Like Jackson, Hollins had a lot of success in his last season as a head coach. He led the Memphis Grizzlies to 56 wins and a trip to the Western Conference Finals in 2013, but was not offered a new contract when his deal expired.
If the Nets want to hire Hollins, they could have some serious competition. The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly have an eye on Hollins in their head coaching search. L.A. is well below the salary cap, and could lure Hollins by signing one or two major free agents.
Karl has reportedly been added to the early list of Brooklyn head coaching candidates. Last year, the Nets hired Kidd, who had no experience as a head coach. If the team wants a sure thing at the position, Karl might be the best man for the job.
While he’s had his share of struggles in the playoffs, Karl’s regular-season record is matched by few coaches in recent memory. From 1991-2013, Karl was a head coach for all but one season. During that span, his team missed the postseason just one time. In his last season, Karl was fired from the Denver Nuggets, despite leading them to a 57-25 record and winning the NBA Coach of the Year Award.