May 28, 2010, 10:49 AM EDT
Rod Thorn knows what he has — a team with a lot of potential. Good young players (and another coming this draft), an owner with deep pockets, a team on the move this year then really on the move in a couple years to a big market. In a couple of years, the Nets — or whatever they are called then — could be the IT team.
So Thorn starts the process with… a retread coach everyone is looking at.
The interview process starts this weekend with Avery Johnson, according to the Record. A former Mavericks coach, Johnson has a track record of success and actually could be a good, albeit conventional, fit. But he is just the first step in what promises to be a deliberate process that may include half a dozen people.
The list also includes Jeff Van Gundy and hot Boston assistant Tom Thibodeau. Both of them are long shots, although for different reasons — Van Gundy is not expected to leave his television job with ESPN/ABC, and Thibodeau because he is rumored to be close to taking the New Orleans Hornets job, if it is formally offered to him.
New Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov wants to make a splash as owner, so if Thorn finds a great candidate that is going to cost a little more, that will not be a problem. That is the kind of thing that can lure a long shot.
Whatever happens, don’t expect this to be a quick hire.