On Sunday, the Brooklyn Nets parted ways with head coach Lionel Hollins and general manager Billy King, the latter having presided over the Jason Kidd debacle, the diminished production of Joe Johnson, and well, a dizzying number of future draft picks committed to conference rivals. Of Hollins and King’s dismissals, The Brooklyn Game’s Devin Kharpertian finds himself quoting Derrick Coleman (“whoop de damn do”) while arguing, “the next day Mikhail Prokhorov (above, left) and his team — spearheaded by Dmitry Razumov, the primary conductor of the infamous Kevin Garnett-Paul Pierce trade — takes responsibility for this mess will be the first day.” (“Between their lack of draft picks, cap space and talent, they cannot start anew, no matter how many names run through their front office and coaching ranks.”)
Those changes were inevitable, and necessary. But a sweeping change in organizational philosophy cannot move forward without the necessary pieces to enact that vision. They could hire a forward-thinking coach, but he’d implement a system with players unlikely to be in Brooklyn long-term. They could hire an excellent general manager, but he’d have to sell a sinking franchise to top free agents that have more appealing options elsewhere. With the Nets in basketball purgatory, dropping them in the middle of January don’t change that one iota, and leaves them ill-equipped to make moves at the trade deadline.
So yes. Celebrate the most recent casualties of what’s arguably the most disappointing era in sports history. It was well-deserved. But once the champagne stops flowing, you might remember that with six weeks until the trade deadline, the Nets have no general manager, no first-round draft pick, a lame-duck interim head coach, a mostly absentee owner, and a 10-27 record. The Nets could hire Lords Auerbach & Naismith themselves and they wouldn’t be able to climb out of this mess.