Nets Management Is Toast
But Dave D'Allesandro of the Newark Star-Ledger has his mind on the Nets basketball management structure. Rod Thorn, the team's basketball ops boss, is entering the final year of his contract. Same for coach Lawrence Frank. D'Alessandro notes that in his Tuesday LiveJournal entry detailing his interest in the Nets, Prokhorov cited the promotion of Russian coaches and managers as a driving force behind his potential entry to the NBA.
What that means for our comrades in East Rutherford ... well, it is not good. Like Dave D., I have a hunch Thorn, Frank, Kiki Vandeweghe and the rest of the staff will be saying "dasvidania" at season's end.
New owners habitually jettison management when taking over a team -- it's an accepted practice going back to the 1970s. And Prokhorov's a special case: he has money, he has nationalistic pride, he has a desire to further the careers of his countrymen and friends, he has an aching need to win (as seen with his CSKA Moscow club) and he has completely carte blanche. If Thorn's contract extended into 2010-11, perhaps you could see Prokhorov holding off on the upheaval. But the new owner has literally no incentive to stay with the status quo.
Maybe there's even an anti-incentive to staying with Thorn beyond April. I mean, the Nets have oodles of cap space this summer, and every superstar alive will be a free agent. July 1, 2010 is the opportunity for the Nets. Prokhorov is going to want his people in place for that.
Frank is good coach and will find a job quickly. Thorn, who has been around forever, might end up back at the league office (he's close with commissioner David Stern). But wherever they go, I am fairly convinced it won't be Brooklyn.