NEW YORK (AP) — The Brooklyn Nets said Sunday that P.J. Carlesimo wouldn’t return as coach, hours after they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
Carlesimo helped the Nets finish 49-33 after replacing the fired Avery Johnson in December, earning the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.
But they spotted the Chicago Bulls a 17-point halftime lead and lost 99-93 on Saturday night.
“The Brooklyn Nets organization would like to thank P.J. for his efforts with the team in his roles as both head coach and assistant, and for his contributions to the team’s success both on and off the court. We wish P.J. and his family only the best in the years to come,” general manager Billy King said in a statement.
King received a contract extension recently but the Nets quickly decided they wanted someone new on the bench, even after Carlesimo went 35-19.
The Nets spent hundreds of millions on contracts last summer in hopes of being a contender in their first season in Brooklyn, but were just 14-14 after a December slump, prompting owner Mikhail Prokhorov to fire Johnson.
The Nets won 12 of their first 14 under Carlesimo and went 10-3 down the stretch to earn home-court advantage in the first round. They fell behind 3-1 against Chicago and their comeback came up short Saturday as they tried to become the ninth NBA team to overcome that deficit and win a series.