Are Knicks fans ready to embrace the “Karen Sypher” chant several times next season? Shortly after his Louisville squad was humbled by St. John’s last night, Cardinals coach Rick Pitino vociferously denied he’d expressed interest in coaching the Newark Nets next season.  Trouble is, the New York Post’s Fred Kerber claims Pitino is being less than truthful.

Apparently, the best way to get to a billionaire is to go around his team president.

And that, multiple sources maintained yesterday, was how supporters of Rick Pitino tried to make known to the Nets’ incoming owner, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, that the Louisville coach was interested in coaching New Jersey next season.

The sources said Pitino supporters sought to reach Prokhorov through members of the billionaire’s inner circle.
“I have no idea about that and I have no comment,” Thorn said.

“If I had interest in the Nets, I would call Rod,” Pitino said. “If I had interest in any job, I would call Rod. If it was Program X out in the Midwest, I would call Rod. He would be the first person I would call for advice if I had any interest at all in going back [to the NBA].”

Pitino was equally emphatic after Louisville’s loss last night, explaining that the rumors are having an effect on his recruiting.

“I’ve worked my ass off in the last two weeks traveling to obscure places every single night after practice, 18 hours in recruiting,” Pitino said. “Now I gotta call every single recruit up and say its nonsense.”