With the New Jersey Nets likely to tie the NBA's record of for most consecutive losses (17) at the start of the season tonight when they play the Los Angeles Lakers, the team has fired coach Lawrence Frank. ESPN reports that the team was going to fire Frank after the game, "Yet it appears that Nets management determined that it had to make the move before facing the Lakers after reports became more widespread that Frank's dismissal was imminent."
Nets president Rod Thorn said, "I want to thank Lawrence for more than a decade of service to the Nets, first as an assistant coach and then as the head coach for the past six and a half seasons."—Frank was appointed the head coach back in 2004, at age 33— "Lawrence always approached every day with a passion for his craft that was infectious, and his dedication to the game as well as his work ethic are to be both admired and appreciated. I wish he and his family only the best of good fortune in the future."
The team, which dropped the "New Jersey" from its jerseys this season and is hoping to play in Brooklyn at some point, has been clearing salaries to have as much money available as they can to attract a marquee player, like LeBron James or Dwayne Wade, during the 2010 free agent period—which means that the current team is made of up of mostly young players and inexpensive veterans on the bench. For much of the season so far, many of the starters have been injured.
Nets assistant coach Tom Barisse will coach tonight's game, while ESPN says, "Nets assistant coach John Loyer and Nets general manager Kiki Vandeweghe are believed to be the internal co-favorites to succeed Frank for the rest of the season." Yahoo Sports says, "Vandeweghe has wanted to dismiss Frank as far back as last season, sources say, but team president Rod Thorn has resisted until now." And on Wednesday, the Nets face the 12-5 Dallas Mavericks, with former Net Jason Kidd.