SAN ANTONIO —
Brooklyn owner Mikhail Prokhorov fired two coaches this season — Avery Johnson less than a month after he was the Eastern Conference coach of the month and P.J. Carlesimo after the Nets lost to the Bulls in the playoffs.
“It’s disappointing that Lionel Hollins takes his team to the Western Conference finals and they are going to go in another direction,” Hall of Famer and ESPN analyst Magic Johnson said last week.about the situation in Memphis. “You can’t get better than Lionel Hollins, and you can’t get better with what you have; just a tremendous season.
“Do I like what’s going on today? No.”
Warren LeGarie represents some of the biggest names in the coaching business, including Hollins. He said he doesn’t see a crisis brewing, but he does believe periods of upheaval like this “are going to become more common than not.”
“No matter what, you’ve got to keep your seat belts fastened because there’s a lot of turbulence out there,” LeGarie said. “I tell my guys to try to improve their relationship with the front office as much as possible and keep the lines of communication open. No one likes surprises.”
George Karl led the Nuggets to the playoffs in all eight of his seasons and earned coach of the year honors this year after helping a starless team set a franchise record with 57 victories. He told The Denver Post that he thought the decision to fire him was “very stupid,” and Gregg Popovich won’t argue with him.
In his 17th season as coach of the Spurs, Popovich is the longest tenured coach in the league. The manic approach that many NBA owners take to changing coaches, in his eyes, runs counter to the philosophies that made many of them successful in other pursuits.