One day after dismissing head coach P.J. Carlesimo, the Brooklyn Nets have already been linked to a strong pursuit of Phil Jackson as their next coach, according to a SI.com report.
The Nets were eliminated by the Chicago Bulls on Saturday, and responded by firing Carlesimo, who took over as interim coach Dec. 27 and led the team to the playoffs.
Owner Mikhail Prokhorov reportedly is seeking a big name, with the 67-year-old Jackson at the top of his wish list. Though Jackson has publicly stated that he doesn't want to coach and prefers a front-office job, Nets GM Billy King said Sunday that he'll reach out to the man who won 11 NBA Championships with the Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers.
"I think he's serious about starting with Phil Jackson, who is arguably the best coach in the history of our league, and anybody else out there that's a good fit," Carlesimo told "The Dan Patrick Show" on Monday, but added that he didn't think Jackson wanted to coach again.
"My gut tells me no," Carlesimo said. "Obviously he's always been linked to this job ... but it seems that's not on his wish list anymore. From what I'm reading and hearing all the time, he wants a Pat Riley-type situation, a team where he can do that (be in the front office), that obviously would not be the case in Brooklyn."
Other early candidates include former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, Indiana Pacers assistant Brian Shaw, and ex-Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, as well as Jeff Van Gundy, who once coached the New York Knicks.
Meanwhile, Carlesimo told "The Dan Patrick Show" on Monday that only a title would've saved his job.
"Billy was pretty candid," Carlesimo said on the program. "Had we won Saturday and advanced and were getting ready to play the Heat tonight, I think anything short of winning a championship wasn't going to change his mind or (ownership's) mind."
Carlesimo went 35-19 after replacing Avery Johnson, but couldn't advance past the first round of the playoffs.
"Philosophically, I think Billy and the organization wanted someone that they felt was more in line with their thoughts and the way they felt about the roster and the whole situation going forward," Carlesimo said on ESPN Radio's "The Herd with Colin Cowherd."
"They felt I wasn't the guy, so they gotta get the guy in here they want. It was a great opportunity, it was a nice job. This franchise is in great shape right now in terms of the move to Brooklyn and Barclays Center and everything is on the uptick right now."