Brooklyn Nets GM Billy King is looking for a head coach who can bring more toughness out of his roster.
“I want to find someone who I feel can take this group collectively and get the most out of them,” King said in an interview with the team’s official website.
“I think P.J. (Carlesimo) did this year -- and got us to where we are -- but I think we could have gone further. ... I think we need to create a culture that becomes the identity of the Brooklyn Nets; something where I think it’s got to be the vision of the Brooklyn borough, where it’s going to a tough-minded, where you know if you come to play us, it's going to be a dogfight every night. That’s what I’m looking for in a coach that will instill that within the team.”
In a perfect world, King, who is going to be patient during his search, would love to bring in someone like Mike Krzyzewski, who coached the Nets GM when he played at Duke.
“I always go back to Coach K because the mindset he always gave us is that people expect to play Duke, and so give them Duke, he always said,” King said. “So when you go out there, people expect that to be it to be a tough game, a defensive-minded game, they’re going to be physical. So that’s what I'm looking at.
“Offensively, you’ve got to be unselfish, the team has to be more important than the individual. If you look at the programs that win, San Antonio, Miami, Chicago, the Lakers over the years, that’s what they’re all about.”
Candidates like Brian Shaw (Pacers assistant) and Lionel Hollins (Grizzles coach) are still coaching in the playoffs, which means the Nets will have to wait until their team’s runs are over to speak with them. Hollins will be a free agent, and the Nets could pay him more than Memphis.
“I can’t be concerned about that. I have a job to do,” Hollins told ESPN.com last Friday.
King thought his team “exceeded expectations” with its 49-win regular season, but felt like it should’ve advanced past the first round.
“I didn’t know how quickly the group was going to gel,” King said. “When you put that many pieces together, that many guys that were so-called ‘their guy’ on their team, you don’t know how it's going to gel. I thought it did quickly ... then it faded. But I think the biggest thing was my vision was for us to have homecourt advantage, to finish in one of the top four spots, which we did. But I thought with that it would help us get to the second round. So that's where the disappointment really came about.”
King reiterated his goal to bring European sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic over for next season.
“He has an NBA buyout, so the object is for him to exercise it, give him the money, get him to come over and I think he wants to come over,” King said. “(But we) can’t do anything until July 1 (the start of free agency), so we’ll look at that when the time comes.”
King also said during the interview that he will look to improve his team’s roster by adding minimum salary players because of the team’s salary cap situation. The Nets have a core in place, but it’s unknown if key bench contributors Andray Blatche (unrestricted) and C.J. Watson (player option for the minimum) will return. King also figures the team will have more continuity next season, considering how many new players were on the roster last year.
“We have to be hungrier to improve, and remember that pain that we felt in Game 7,” King said.