The Brooklyn Nets will not be bringing back P.J. Carlesimo to coach the team next season, which means they’ll have to seek out their third head coach in the last year. Could Jerry Sloan be that coach? Deron Williams won’t rule it out (via Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News):
Williams, meanwhile, redirected a question about the impact of coaches to a compliment of Sloan, who left his post in Utah two years ago midseason because, among other things, a reported rift between him and Williams.
“When I played for Coach Sloan, I think he had that effect, just the way he coaches and the way he talked to us every day and the way he prepared us for games kind of rubbed off,” Williams said.
Reminded that Sloan is currently a coaching free agent, Williams said, “I would love to play for Coach Sloan again.”
As far as not-so-subtle endorsements go, this wasn’t one you could see coming. Sloan resigned as head coach of the Utah Jazz in 2011, presumably because of internal beef between he and Williams. Roughly two years later, here Williams is endorsing his former coach.
While slightly shocking, Williams’ pointed support makes plenty of sense. The Nets are (supposedly) built to win now. What better way to try and win now than to chase one of the most successful coaches in NBA history (without a title) in Sloan?
Per Bondy, the Nets are expected to make a play for Jeff Van Gundy and Phil Jackson, but neither are considered the most realistic of candidates. So why not Sloan? He’s great at coaching point guards and big men, and could really bring Brooklyn’s pick-and-roll attack to the next level. Or you know, actually make sure they run it consistently.
Admittedly, the alleged issues he had with Williams in Utah could be a deal breaker. If Williams himself, however, is prepared to move forward, perhaps Sloan would be to. I liken this situation to Mike D’Antoni and Amar’e Stoudemire, though the Williams-Sloan feud appeared much more severe. Stoudemire and D’Antoni weren’t the best of friends while with the Phoenix Suns, but Stoudemire still signed on with the New York Knicks to play for D’Antoni again.
Feuds like these can be buried if all parties involved are prepared to set their differences aside. Usually, this refers to the players, who are often construed as immature egomaniacs. A few more years of title-less basketball under his belt, Williams is likely to have developed a new-found appreciation for winning and contending. I doubt he would present a problem to Sloan this time around.
The list of available head coaches does run deep, and the Nets should definitely do their due diligence when it comes to Jackson or either of the Van Gundys. But they should do the same with Sloan. He has the reputation of a winner (for the most part) and the Nets need to win. Like really win. And Sloan can help them do that.
Given the other names he’s chasing, you have to imagine general manager Billy King will give Sloan a call as well. That is, unless Williams has already placed one of his own, because it sure seems like he was prepared to.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.