Thorn ready to interview coaches

Updated: May 28, 2010, 11:06 AM ET
Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- President and general manager Rod Thorn is ready to start interviewing candidates for the vacant New Jersey Nets coaching job.

Thorn plans to talk to about six people with NBA experience about taking over a team that posted a franchise-low 12 wins and set a league record with 18 straight losses to open the season.

Thorn would not say whether he will interview anyone over the Memorial Day weekend, but there have been multiple reports that former Dallas coach Avery Johnson will get the first interview.

"I don't have any comment about that," Thorn said Thursday.

Thorn said his only concern is getting the right coach. He has no timetable for hiring someone, which is an indication that he might be willing to wait until after the first few weeks of free agency have passed in July.

The Nets have more than $23 million to spend on the free agent market that might include LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Amare Stoudemire.

"Hopefully, we'll recognize when the right guy comes through," Thorn said. "The process is getting going and we'll see what happens."

An analyst for ESPN, Johnson had a 194-70 record with the Mavericks, guiding them to the NBA finals in 2006. Dallas owner Mark Cuban still owes him another year on his contract, so it is uncertain whether Johnson wants to coach next season.

Tom Thibodeau, the associate head coach of the Celtics, and recently fired Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown also are on Thorn's short list.

The Nets had three coaches this past season. Lawrence Frank, who coached the team for five full seasons and parts of two others, was fired after New Jersey lost its first 16 games.

Assistant coach Tom Barrise took over for the next two games before then general manager Kiki Vandeweghe become the interim coach for the rest of the season.

New Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov announced last week that Vandeweghe's contract as GM was not being renewed.

Thorn has since assumed the duties of both president and general manager.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press