November 30, 2009
The Nets relieved coach Lawrence Frank of his coaching duties on Sunday. Here's what they're saying out in the ether about the ax job ...
RedsArmy.com: "Frank got a raw deal in New Jersey. The Nets have gone out of their way to be this bad. They have built a rag-tag team full of guys who either won't be on the roster next year, or who barely deserve to be there next year. They have five expiring deals worth about $28 million ... a number that grows to about $32 million if the Nets decline to pick up a couple of options [...] The highest paid guy on the roster is Bobby Simmons(notes) ($10.5 million) and he's only there because his deal is done after this year. They do have some decent talent on the team. Devin Harris(notes) is a nice offensive player. Brook Lopez(notes) is going to be really good. And Chris Douglas-Roberts(notes) is off to a great start. But these are all young guys trying to hang on to a rudderless ship. Who's the star on this team? Who's the go-to guy? But this is how the Nets wanted it. They're trying to get their rudder at the 2010 free agent buffet this summer. In the meantime, Lawrence Frank was just supposed to get them through a year that everyone in the organization was throwing away anyway. Now, he lost his job because of it."
Shoals, The Baseline: "Lawrence Frank had to go. It was a transparent, knee-jerk reaction, one that any team would've made. And yet the Nets aren't just any team. Do they have a big name lined up? Since the entire pitch to LeBron, or whoever, is Brooklyn + unlimited spending + Harris and Lopez, why exactly does success this year matter? I didn't realize the Nets had an angry fan base and clamoring media to appease. Frank was a decent enough coach, certainly still developing, and no one can offer reasons for his dismissal beyond 'the record looks like crap' and 'players tune them out.' For a team basically writing off this season, that attitude shows a remarkable level of urgency — and, you might even say, hypocrisy. Come free agent season, what's going to look more appealing? Another grizzled has-been who could be the players' father? Or a young guy who has known ups and downs, whose players seem to have his back, and who could break out alongside a loaded team? If I were re-branding a franchise, I'd go with option number two."
Steve Politi, The Star-Ledger: "Firing Lawrence Frank now is like throwing the captain of the Titanic overboard after it hit the iceberg. Why bother? To borrow the famous quote from Micheal Ray Richardson, the ship be sinking anyway. The Nets kept the coach around this long for one reason: They were too cheap to hire his replacement, just like they were too cheap to keep this team from becoming a national joke. The issue is not who replaces Frank short term — Red Auerbach and John Wooden combined couldn't save the Nets from oblivion now. It's who makes the decision on his long-term successor, since the same executive will be calling the shots on the other moves in this pivotal offseason. That will determine if this franchise digs out of this historic hole. And the man who has had all the answers for the Nets over the past decade is just as stumped as everyone else on this one. Rod Thorn will not name a permanent replacement for Frank in part because of the timing, but also because the pending change in ownership makes it impossible for him to do so. Thorn does not have a contract beyond this season. For the few remaining fans of this team, that's a scarier prospect than an 0-17 record with Jason Kidd(notes) coming to town this week."
NetsAreScorching: "In his second season as an assistant coach, [Doug Overton], the longtime NBA point guard is an interesting dark horse candidate to take over for Frank. I personally wonder how his relationship with Chris Douglas-Roberts would impact Rod Thorn's decision to promote Overton. Both CDR and Overton have downplayed it, but both have engaged in some public screaming matches with each other in front of the media, including most recently during a game in Milwaukee where Overton was barking orders at CDR and the guard snapped back 'we're losing!'"
Dime: "What did you think of the whole Lawrence Frank firing today? [Ryan Anderson(notes)]: 'You know it's tough. I think he's a great coach. I think he's done a lot of great things for New Jersey. It's just hard, they've had so much bad luck this season with injuries. Of course, they're a rebuilding program, so of course it's going to be tough for any coach. But in no way could you blame Lawrence Frank. I wish the best for him, I'm sure he's going to find a great job somewhere.'"
Deadspin: "So, Lawrence Frank, fired by New Jersey. Is sparing a coach the notoriety of completing a historic losing streak doing him a favor, or just rubbing salt in the wound? Let's not forget that Lawrence Frank holds the records for most wins to start a coaching tenure. And let's not forget that New Jersey shipped out the last remaining member of their Big Three at the start of this season. But someone has to take the fall for making East Rutherford the least attractive destination for LeBron, despite their piles of available cash. [...] A losing streak is so much more identifiable with than an undefeated streak. We were awed by Tom Brady, and are amazed by Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, because they're light years beyond us. First, to play at a professional level, and second, to never lose? That's unfathomable. But to go down day after day, week after week is a universal feeling."
Doug Smith, Toronto Star: "While it was hardly his fault that the Nets gave away his best player in a money dump and that is point guard got hurt and his centre got hurt and the rest of the team's not that good, I don't think there was anyone in the game who was surprised he got fired. Doesn't make it right, just makes it expected. Now, did he become a bad coach over the last month? No way. And I bet he coaches again but please, please, I beseech all of you, do not ask if they should make a move for him now in Toronto. I will tell you this from talking to people here and from my own opinion, nothing — NOTHING — is going on here. Nothing. Frank, if he's a bright guy, sits around for the rest of this season, spends some of the money he's getting and waits for jobs to open up this summer."