Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov began considering firing head coach Lionel Hollins about a month and a half ago, he said in a press conference Monday.
On Sunday, the team announced that Hollins had been fired and that general manager Billy King was reassigned to a different role within the organization.
In the press conference, Prokorov said he decided to change the team’s leadership midway through the season so as not to waste any time in the search for replacements. He said he will compile an extensive list of coaching candidates, but did not confirm nor deny that Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari’s name would appear on that list.
“Coach Cal is a great coach, but we wont be discussing today any name because it is the first day of our new approach,” Prokhorov said. “We’re not in a hurry.”
Nets CEO Brett Yormark is reportedly interested in hiring Calipari, who coached the team for nearly three seasons beginning in 1996. Calipari is reportedly asking for a 10-year, $120 million contract to return to the team, though he denied the reports of his desire to leave Kentucky on Twitter Monday.
Prokhorov says he prefers to have a GM and a coach, not one person doing both jobs. Indirect way of answering a Calipari question.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixYS) January 11, 2016
Hollins was fired after two seasons as the Nets’ coach, during which time he led them to a 48–71 record. The team’s current 10–27 record ranks third-worst in the NBA.
King was removed from his position after five years as general manager. Assistant general manager Frank Zanin will act as interim GM, Prokhorov said, and assistant coach Tony Brown will serve as interim head coach.
Prokhorov said King will not be involved in the search for a new GM, but that he could offer his suggestions “as a friend.”
- Erin Flynn