LOS ANGELES -- Nets guard
Douglas-Roberts and his teammates knew Frank was no longer their head coach when he walked into the room wearing a brown sweater, slacks and brown shoes.
"That was the only time I've ever seen him without Nets gear on," said Douglas-Roberts. "I knew then he was gone. I knew right away."
In an emotional final speech that lasted less than two minutes, Frank told the players and assistant coaches in attendance that he enjoyed coaching the Nets, wished them the best and implored them to find a way to be the solution to get the team back on track. Before he left the room he told them that he was always going to be a Nets fan and that he would be cheering for them.
Serious rumors of Frank's imminent firing began late Saturday, and instead of delaying the inevitable until the Nets returned home from their four-game West Coast road trip, Frank was let go Sunday morning. The decision saved Frank and the team from answering questions about his job status while also saving Frank from watching his team tie the longest losing streak to start an NBA season, which the Nets did Sunday by losing to the Lakers 106-87 to fall to 0-17. They can break the record Wednesday night in New Jersey against the Mavericks.
Frank was replaced on Sunday by assistant coach
Barraise was nearly brought to tears less than ten seconds into speaking to reporters outside the Nets locker room on Sunday before his first game as an NBA head coach. "It's a tough day. It's a somber day," said Barraise. "Lawrence and I have been together for ten years. We're friends. I'm close with his family. It's the business we chose and it happens and you move on, but it's hard."
Nets players were still coping with the news when they entered the visiting locker room at Staples Center. Nothing was written on the dry erase boards as players were still talking about the awkward timing of finding out their coach had been fired just hours before a game.
"A lot of guys on the team have had coaching changes, but for me and
"I think in this instance, if they could fire players, some of us would be fired too," said Alston, who committed a hard foul on Lakers guard
Alston, who was playing in the NBA Finals just five months ago, lamented that the Nets' losing streak was just another chapter in a roller coaster career that also saw him win 22 straight games in 2008 with the Rockets, the second-longest streak in league history.
"I'm in the record books," he said. "I was on the team that had the second-longest winning streak in the history of the game and I'm now on the team with the longest losing streak in the history of the game. I guess my kids can call me a winner and a loser." As much as players and assistants insisted Frank didn't lose the team, others believed that a change was necessary and had been anticipated for weeks. "He kind of had a sense of it and so did the players," said
Across the hallway in the Lakers locker room
The biggest problem for whoever inherits the team for the rest of the season will not be the team's location but their roster, which has been in flux all season as injuries have sidelined eight different players. Frank used nine different starting lineups before his firing.
"It's tough," said Alston. "He wasn't dealt a Royal Flush. He was dealt a pair of twos and paid the price."