NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Brooklyn Nets general manager Billy King says P.J. Carlesimo will not return as coach. Their search for a new head coach will start immediately.
The Nets’ first season in Brooklyn ended Saturday night with a Game 7 home loss to the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs. They spotted the Chicago Bulls a 17-point halftime lead and lost 99-93 on Saturday night.
“The Brooklyn Nets organization would like to thank P.J. for his efforts with the team in his roles as both head coach and assistant, and for his contributions to the team’s success both on and off the court,” King said Sunday in a news release.
Under Carlesimo, the Nets righted themselves and finished 49-33 and in second place in the Atlantic Division. Brooklyn was the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
“In one sense, I will say how far we’ve come from last year, infinitely. But we didn’t get as far as we wanted to get,” Carlesimo said Saturday night.
“I think we made enormous progress from where we were last year and what these guys accomplished this year, but to me it’s a hill. You’re always trying to climb up the hill. You go up; you go back. But we thought we could get higher up the hill than we got.”
The Nets spent hundreds of millions on contracts last summer in hopes of being a contender in their first season in Brooklyn. They re-signed starters Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace and traded for Atlanta Hawks All-Star Joe Johnson in hopes of being a contender in their first season in Brooklyn after they were longtime losers in New Jersey. The Nets were just 14-14 after a December slump, prompting owner Mikhail Prokhorov to fire Johnson.
Brookln won 12 of their first 14 under Carlesimo and went 10-3 down the stretch to earn home-court advantage in the first round. They fell behind 3-1 against Chicago and their comeback came up short Saturday as they tried to become the ninth NBA team to overcome that deficit and win a series. Deron Williams likes the current collection of Nets.
“I think we have a great group of the guys in the locker room. I just think, like I said, we talked about the word inconsistency all year. I think we just need to find a way to be more consistent, especially mentally,” Williams said after the game. “I think that’s what got us this series, is just the toughness, the mental breakdowns.”
Carlesimo has a career record of 239-315, also serving as a head coach with Portland, Golden State and Seattle/Oklahoma City.
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