It's Never Been Easier to Become Coach of the Nets

Rick Pitino's interested too

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    The Nets lost their final game before the All-Star break on Wednesday night in front of 1,016 people at the Meadowlands. Even if it wasn't for the blizzard, we have a hard time believing there are more people than that interested in watching the 4-48 Nets play at this point. That's what makes a new contest sponsored by Zappos so very interesting

    They're offering a lucky soul the chance to be Nets Coach for a Day, which should be a thrilling notion for current coach Kiki Vandeweghe who is pictured in the promotional materials for the contest. Presumably former assistant Del Harris isn't eligible to win the prize, but everyone else should be free and clear for a chance to tell Brook Lopez what to do for a night. Alas, the fine print to the contest rules make it clear that Coach for a Day may actually be a massive overstatement.

    The winner of the contest won't be on the bench. You just get to watch practice, have lunch with a Nets executive, a visit to the locker room, dinner and tickets to the game. That may actually be all that Vandeweghe does, so that's why there's a qualifier on the overstatement claim above, but the Nets should just go whole hog and let random people coach games the rest of the way. 

    They've got a new owner taking over soon, they're moving to a new arena and they're barely on the radar screen of the sports world. A full embrace of the assault on the worst record in NBA history, however, would get people interested, especially if it involved a different civilian coach every night. Imagine the cheers if Stu Cirulak, an accountant from Manalapan, leads the team to victory? Would he get a second night on the job? 

    You could pick each night's coach just before game time by drawing the ticket stub of someone in attendance. That would be sure to juice up ticket sales beyond their dismal norm. Some people might call you unprofessional and claim that you were making a mockery of the game, but you do that every night anyway so why not embrace the reality and have a little fun? Better to win eight games and make it into the record books than win 11 and just stink.

    That would be true in a vacuum and it is even more true when you hear that Rick Pitino is interested in coaching the Nets next season. Obviously the disgraceful play isn't keeping real coaches from remaining interested in taking over the reins, so why should turning the final 30 games into a Whoopi Goldberg movie change their minds? 

    The Daily News report on Pitino claims he's tired of hearing about his sex scandal and that he doesn't want to compete with John Calipari, but the real reason why he and other coaches will be down with coming to the Nets is Mikhail Prokhorov. The incoming Russian owner with deep pockets will likely treat the team like something other than an excuse for a real estate land grab, which is good news for coaches looking for work and bad news for marketing executives fond of cheesy ideas.  

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.