- Brian Windhorst, ESPN.com
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NEW YORK -- Brooklyn Nets owner and Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov decided last week that he would fire coach Avery Johnson. But he got a few days' worth of heli-skiing in British Columbia before pulling the trigger on Thursday.
"We are ready to pay any expense to bring talent to the Nets and we have very talented players, but they are capable of much more," Prokhorov said. "To me, this is totally unacceptable."
Prokhorov did cut his vacation short to fly to New York on Friday and address his team's coaching situation in person. He stressed that he supports interim coach P.J. Carlesimo for the time being and is not focused on a more high-profile replacement.
Prokhorov sidestepped questions about the team's interest in Phil Jackson.
"P.J. is the head coach and we have an amount of trust with him," Prokhorov said. "Now P.J. is the head coach, and if it become necessary, you know who the usual suspects are."
Sources have told ESPN.com, however, that the Nets are indeed searching for a permanent replacement for Johnson and have made Jackson their top target. Prokhorov said repeatedly Friday that Carlesimo will get a chance to turn the team around but also said he'd be involved if the team decided to make another coaching change.
"I will be involved personally," Prokhorov said.
Carlesimo, for one, thinks he's the right man for the permanent job.
"If I had a choice of somebody else getting the job or me, I'd think about it, but I'd probably pick me," he said after leading the Nets to a 97-81 win against the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night. "It really isn't something I'm thinking about because I don't have a good sense of what's going on. They're still looking at it. We're day to day."
Before Friday's game, Nets star Deron Williams denied he had any involvement in Johnson's firing. The point guard recently complained about his role within Johnson's offense.
"If they asked me, I would have said he needs to be our coach," Williams said. "He was a big reason why I stayed here. That's how things go nowadays. As soon as something happens, someone has to take the ball and I guess that guy is me. I can't fight everything being said. I'm not going to try."
Prokhorov, meanwhile, repeated his mantra from before the season: He expects the Nets to challenge for a championship this season, and making the conference finals is still within sight.
"Of course, it is only the beginning of the (season)," Prokhorov said. "(Expectations) are not very high, just championship, not more. We are only human beings."
Information from ESPNNewYork.com contributor Mike Mazzeo was used in this report.
Brooklyn Nets owner and Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov decided last week that he would fire head coach Avery Johnson. But he got a few days' worth of heli-skiing in British Columbia before pulling the trigger Thursday.