When the Brooklyn Nets brought in former San Antonio Spurs front office executive Sean Marks to be their new general manager earlier this year, it was a rare solid move for the fledgling franchise.
After all, attempting to use the same front office philosophy that has worked wonders for San Antonio makes a ton of sense.
It also brought to light the possibility that Brooklyn might look at some assistants under Gregg Popovich to be its new head coach following the season.
ESPN’s Marc Stein is suggesting as much as the Nets’ dreadful 2015-16 season comes to a conclusion:
NBA coaching sources say new Nets GM Sean Marks, meanwhile, has interest in former Spurs coaching colleagues Ettore Messina and Ime Udoka.
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) April 13, 2016
Ettore Messina is the really interesting name here. A four-time Euroleague champion as a head coach overseas, the Italy native is among the most respected basketball minds on the planet.
In fact, some praised the Spurs for bringing him on as an assistant. In reality, he seemed to be a bit over-qualified for that role.
In addition to his experience as an assistant under Pop over the past two years, Messina’s NBA experience includes a short stint as a consultant for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Ime Udoka, the lesser known of the two assistants, played seven seasons in the NBA after going un-drafted from Portland State back in 2003. His playing experience also includes stints in Spain and France, giving Nets’ brass the international flavor it’s apparently seeking.
Stein would later go on to report that the Nets will reach out to former New York Knicks and Houston Rockets head coach Jeff Van Gundy.
Though, with the team clearly acting the part of a doormat back east, Van Gundy is unlikely to seriously entertain any potential offer thrown his way from Brooklyn.
One thing we do know. It’s highly unlikely that interim head coach Tony Brown will return. He enters Wednesday’s season finale having posted an 11-33 record following the ousting of Lionel Hollins earlier in the year.
The primary issue with the Nets being able to hire anyone of substance is their lack of a first-round pick in June’s draft.
That was forfeited to the Boston Celtics in the ill-fated Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade years back.
Without any real building blocks on the roster and finding themselves under the proverbial eight-ball when it comes to the cap, the Nets have cellar-dwelling status written all over them for the foreseeable future.
If the team were looking to make a splash, it’s interesting that Spurs assistant Becky Hammon has not come up in reports.
She may only boast two years of assistant coaching experience in the NBA, but she’s been a hot name around Association circles for a bit now. Maybe interest in her will leak at some point soon as well.