NEW YORK (WFAN) — Following the Nets’ devastating loss to the Bulls in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Saturday night, general manager Billy King decided to part ways with interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo on Sunday.
The Nets, down 3-1 in the series, won two consecutive games before dropping Game 7 to a shorthanded Chicago team at Barclays Center.
Naturally, Carlesimo was upset that the organization decided to move on.
“Not well, you never do,” Carlesimo told WFAN host Mike Francesa when asked how he took the news. “But that’s the nature of our business. It was explained to me back in December when they made the change that ‘you’re the interim guy. Get us to the end of the year. When the year’s over we’ll sit down and we’ll talk with you.’ And that’s exactly what they did. There was never any discussion during the year, there was never any ‘looks good, looks bad.’ Billy was very candid.”
Carlesimo was named interim head coach on December 27, 2012, after Avery Johnson was fired after 28 games. After inheriting a 14-14 club, Carlesimo was very successful over the final 54 games, posting a 35-19 record. The team’s 49-33 mark was good enough for the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference heading into the playoffs.
But it simply wasn’t enough.
Carlesimo admitted to Francesa that even if the Nets had defeated the Bulls and advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the mighty Heat, he still would have been let go if he didn’t pull off an upset.
“They want to move in a different direction,” Carlesimo said. “They want somebody who, Billy said, philosophically is more in line with the way he viewed the roster and the way they wanted it run. That’s their prerogative. It’s disappointing, because I thought we did a good job. But when you own a team or you’re the GM, you’ve got to get the guy that you believe is the right guy.”
After Brooklyn’s ouster, Nets players — including star point guard Deron Williams and star center Brook Lopez — told reporters that they wanted to see Carlesimo return. Their sentiments clearly didn’t have much of an impact on King’s thought process.
“It’s the way it is,” Carlesimo told Francesa. “I’m disappointed. I’m not a little disappointed, I’m tremendously disappointed, just because I feel strongly about what a great situation this was, and how different it can be given a training camp, given a staff, given the opportunities that the next guy is gonna get.”
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