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Report: Ettore Messina, David Blatt leading candidates for Nets coaching job

NBA Europe Live - CSKA Moscow vs Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv - October 10, 2006

Coach Ettore Messina of CSKA Moscow patrols the sidelines during the NBA Europe Live Tour presented by EA Sports on October 10, 2006 at the Koeln Arena in Cologne, Germany. (Photo by Mansoor Ahmed/Getty Images)

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It will be new GM Sean Marks first big move.

Tony Brown is the interim coach in Brooklyn, having taken over for the fired Lionel Hollins mid-season, but he is not long for the job. Marks is going to bring in his own guy to help rebuild the franchise.

Which guy? Think guys with Spurs ties like Marks, and with Europeans roots such as Ettore Messina and David Blatt, reports Brian Lewis at the New York Post.

No, pole position may go to Spurs assistant Ettore Messina, who is also from the Gregg Popovich coaching tree and has a long-standing relationship with Marks.

Marks told The Post he’ll have some relationship and at least an indirect connection with whomever he hires, a la Six Degrees of Separation. Messina worked with Marks for the past three years. He also coached Nets assistant GM Trajan Langdon to two Euroleague titles at CSKA Moscow. (Nets owner Mikhail) Prokhorov owned the Russian team, and board member Sergey Kushchenko was the GM....

Another likely contender is ex-Cavaliers coach David Blatt, who coached the Russian National Team from 2004-12 and whom Prokhorov knows, nearly hiring him at CSKA in 2008.


The question with Messina in Blatt isn’t their knowledge of the game, it’s their ability to adjust to the NBA power dynamic — the players have it, not the coaches — and their ability to win over players and communicate. Blatt (and his ego) learned those lessons the hard way in Cleveland, would he be ready to adjust? The man deserves another shot, he won 67.5 percent of his games as the Cavaliers coach, which usually means you get to keep your job.

Messina has filled in this season when Gregg Popovich was away from the team.

Don’t expect a big name that will demand a lot of power — Tom Thibodeau, Jeff Van Gundy — in Brooklyn. The rebuild is going to be a long, slow process there and Marks needs a guy he can work with.