The Nets Are Going to Have an Interesting 2010

Pitino isn't a big enough name for Mikhail Prokhorov

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    After his Louisville team provided good reason why no NBA team should want Rick Pitino in a blowout loss to St. John's, the coach himself gave an emphatic, long-winded denial of his interest in coaching the Nets.

    Nevermind that he continually finds himself linked to NBA jobs and that everyone outside of Pitino says he wants the job, Pitino brought up everything but 9/11 in an attempt to extricate himself from linkage.

    That's just as well, because Pitino is small potatoes compared to other names believed to be on Mikhail Prokhorov's list of targets once he gets approval to buy the team next month.

    Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that that the new owner has his eyes on perhaps the most respected coach in the entire basketball world: Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.

    It's a long shot, to be sure, but the other half of Prokhorov's plan might be what keeps it from being a totally laughable notion. Jerry Colangelo, former architect of the Suns and current overseer of the USA Basketball program, is thought to be the focus of Prokhorov's search for a man to displace Rod Thorn on top of the franchise's hierarchy.

    Coach K runs the national team for Colangelo, which means that there's good reason to believe they could work well together in Newark and Brooklyn.

    On top of that, there's also the assumption that Prokhorov didn't buy the Nets to run them lean and mean for a profit. That's not the way he's run the Russian teams he's owned, and if Coach K is going to leave one of the cushiest jobs in America, he's only going do it to go somewhere that will give him every possible advantage.

    Prokhorov would do that, Colangelo would do that, cap space would do that and (Kentucky point guard) John Wall would do that. Coack K, who has flirted with the NBA in the past, has to know he'll never get another shot with so many pieces lined up as this one.

    It's far too early to put this in the highly likely category, but the Nets are looking to make serious plays this offseason. Wojnarowski spoke to one NBA official about what Prokhorov will do.

    "I don’t think anyone really realizes what it’s going to mean to have him in this league."

    The guess is that it is going to mean a much more entertaining league. We'll find out soon enough.

    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.