Report: Lawrence Frank to Be Fired Within Days
The report points to GM Kiki Vandeweghe as the coaching-in-waiting. Vandeweghe, a two-time All-Star in the 80s who made his post-playing name reviving Denver from the dead, has apparently joined the Nets on the four-game road trip in order to prepare himself. Vandeweghe has never coached at any level, while Frank (like him or not) has been considered one of the hard-working, brightest young coaches in the league during his entire term.
Let's hope history doesn't abuse Frank's reputation. This 0-16 start is about two things: a dilapidated talent base being prepared for 2010palooza, and a rash of unfortunately timed injuries. Even getting a rusty Devin Harris back hasn't brought this team close to full power: Courtney Lee remains limited and presumptive starting power forward Yi Jianlian is out. (If you're doubting whether Yi is a major loss, let me note that Josh Boone -- Josh Boone! -- has been starting in his place.) All the while, Frank has been able to take this team to the top 10 in the league in defense, a victory of immeasurable improbability.
The measurable victories have been the problem, of course, with New Jersey losing to Sacramento by a baker's dozen on Friday to arrive at the brink of immortality. Given the history of the Nets, it'd be a bit fitting if the "worst start" record was shared by New Jersey, the Clippers and an expansion team. The Lakers game is followed by a Wednesday hosting of the Mavericks (those Mavericks, with Jason Kidd), and that's the problem: there is an exceedingly strong chance the Nets will have this record all on their own. Losses to the Lakers and Mavericks would take N.J. to 0-18, with the Bobcats and Knicks on the docket after that. (And before you pencil in the Bockers as the first Nets victim, remember that New York beat New Jersey last week.)
For Frank, this stretch may not have hurt his career too much. Everyone around the league understands the situation, that Frank is playing with less than full deck -- heck, he's playing with a deck of Uno cards. Perhaps the sales job becomes a bit tougher for Frank's agent. The coach entered this season with a 225-225 record at the helm of the Nets, and, well, now he's 16 games below .500 on his career. But he'll a get a job, and soon. He's too good, too smart to languish in absentia for too long.
As for the Nets ... well, it might take the team a bit more time to get back on its feet.