Rod Thorn was packing his bags Thursday morning in an attempt to make it to Dallas for All-Star weekend. First, he had a situation to deal with -- shooting down the notion that Louisville coach Rick Pitino had contacted the Nets to express interest in being their next coach.
"I'm good friends with Rick and have been for long time," Thorn said. "He's never reached out to me and I've never reached out to him about this. He's never indicated to me that he’s unhappy where he is or has intentions of coming back to the NBA. I've certainly never heard about it and never had any conversation with him about it. If he had approached one of our owners or somebody on his behalf had approached one of our owners, I'm sure they say something to me about it."
This is the second time in a few months that Pitino's name has surfaced regarding an NBA job, which most people around the league see for what it is -- a desperate attempt on Pitino's part to keep an escape route open from Louisville, where he's been dogged by scandal and overshadowed by rival Kentucky and coach John Calipari. Pitino's operatives floated his name for the Sacramento job last summer, but there was never any interest from the Kings, who hired Paul Westphal.
Pitino himself denied the New York Daily News' report Thursday of his interest in the Nets' job. But the goal was accomplished; the more Pitino's name is associated with an NBA comeback, the more likely it is that some desperate, clueless owner will hire him.
The Nets, who are 4-48 and on pace to equal the worst record in NBA history, have bigger fish to fry. The purchase of the team by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov is expected to come up for a vote at the next Board of Governor's meeting, and the team is trying to make progress on its move to Brooklyn.