Lawrence Frank, whose New Jersey Nets are off to one of the worst starts in history, has lost his job
losing their first 16 games during one of the worst starts in NBA
Assistant Tom Barrise will coach the team Sunday night in Los Angeles
against the Lakers, when the Nets could tie the record for the worst
start if they lose.
The Nets said a permanent replacement for Frank has not been determined.
…"Lawrence always approached every day with a passion for his craft that
was infectious, and his dedication to the game as well as his work
ethic are to be both admired and appreciated," Nets president Rod Thorn
said in a statement. "I wish he and his family only the best of good
fortune in the future."
Actually… Frank got a raw deal in New Jersey.
The Nets have gone out of their way to be this bad. They have built a rag-tag team full of guys who either won't be on the roster next year, or who barely deserve to be there next year. They have 5 expiring deals worth about $28 million… a number that grows to about $32 million if the Nets decline to pick up a couple of options… and $35 million if they don't tender Josh Boone a qualifying offer. The highest paid guy on the roster is Bobby Simmons ($10.5 million) and he's only there because his deal is done after this year.
The DO have some decent talent on the team. Devin Harris is a nice offensive player. Brook Lopez is going to be really good. And Chris Douglas-Roberts is off to a great start. But these are all young guys trying to hang on to a rudderless ship. Who's the star on this team? Who's the go-to guy?
But this is how the Nets wanted it. They're trying to get their rudder at the 2010 free agent buffet this summer. In the meantime, Lawrence Frank was just supposed to get them through a year that everyone in the organization was throwing away anyway. Now, he lost his job because of it.
I'm not saying it wasn't time for Frank to go. I'm not in that locker room and I don't know if the players have tuned him out. All I'm saying is the skids were greased for his departure by everyone above him. He was set up to fail, and fail he did… in spectacular fashion. Maybe it was too spectacular… which meant the Nets had to make a token change just to call off the dogs. But the Nets should make this move with their heads hung low. They should be embarrassed by what they've done… and what they're about to do.
But there's one message that needs to be sent tot he Nets: Karma can be a real bitch. Your team is in complete disarray… and guys like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade can see that. Lawrence Frank has paid the price for your inept, embarrassing attempt to free up enough cap space to lure big names next summer. A year from now, when all those free agents pass on joining your pathetic franchise, you'll all suffer the same fate.