Carter endorses Frank for Bulls
ATLANTA -- Lawrence Frank may not be the chic pick of many Chicago Bulls fans to replace the recently fired Vinny Del Negro, but Orlando Magic star Vince Carter fully endorses the candidacy of his former coach.
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Carter played for Frank for five seasons with the New Jersey Nets, and he believes his work ethic sets him apart from some of his peers.
"He was great," Carter told ESPNChicago.com after the Magic's shootaround Monday morning. "Very intense.
"It's just like being with [Orlando Magic head coach] Stan [Van Gundy]. Very passionate about the game. He wants to win. And he tries to bring out the best in his players. He's great. He pushes you. He listens. He's stubborn sometimes, but you kind of have an appreciation for that because he works hard and he wants to win."
Carter, whose Magic will look to sweep the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals Monday night, believes Frank would have no problem fitting right in with a Chicago team led by Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.
"He can put you in positions to succeed," he said. "He's done that for [New Jersey point guard] Devin [Harris], for myself, for [Jason] Kidd, [Richard Jefferson]. All the players that he's had ... he's had success.
"He's had some tough [years] due to trades, injuries, but all in all he can make it happen."
Frank was fired earlier this season after the Nets started 0-16, dropping his record to 225-241. Carter doesn't think the 39-year-old Frank should be defined by that infamous stretch, and he points to the Nets finishing 12-70 as an indictment of the team's talent.
"Look at what he had," Carter said. "Look how many [games the Nets] won after he left. Not many. He had 16 games to coach. Look at his résumé . Look at what he's accomplished. Look at how many wins he's had.
"Everybody remembers the last thing, OK fine, 0-16. But look at what he's accomplished in his years there. He's done great things. He's taken a team that was 10-12 games below .500 and made the playoffs my first year [in 2004-05 with the Nets]. But nobody talks about that. They just talk about his 0-16 start. Well, he didn't have a very good team to work with. Look at what he had that year I got there in December. We were losing, we were counted out, and we made the playoffs."
Whether or not the Bulls hire Frank, Carter believes the team is just a just a couple pieces away from being a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference.
"Absolutely," he said. "They got the core guys, and you get a superstar ... they already have a superstar now in Rose. I think they just need to get core guys, you don't even need a superstar. You just get the right core guys that can mesh with what you have and they're on the way."
Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com.