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FRANKS FOR THE MEMORIESLOS ANGELES - The message wasn't getting through and the defeats were mounting, so Nets team president Rod Thorn felt "a different voice" was needed and he finally, formally fired Lawrence Frank yesterday.

"Things haven't gone great and sometimes players need a different voice," Thorn said via phone before the Nets' 106-87 loss to the Lakers last night with assistant Tom Barrise serving as head coach. "Nobody outworks Lawrence, nobody works harder than Lawrence."

But with the injury ravaged Nets reeling at 0-16 before last night's record-tying 17th straight season-opening loss, Thorn pulled the trigger. The Nets could set the record for worst start ever with a 18th loss on Wednesday at home against Dallas.

"Sometimes, the same thing being said by the same person losses its effect," Thorn said. "A different person can say the same thing and players hear it because it's a different voice."

Thorn said a replacement has not been chosen but, in a surprise, indicated he would consider candidates outside the organization. One name that surfaced from an opposing team source is Del Harris, who retired last June after serving as an assistant with the Bulls. Harris was a head coach with the Bucks, Rockets and Lakers. His career record is 556-457. General manager Kiki Vandeweghe has been a strongly rumored name, but one team source insisted he is not being considered.

"I'm going to interview several candidates," Thorn said, noting all of the assistants under Frank - Barrise, Doug Overton, John Loyer and Roy Rogers - would get consideration. "I'm not going to hire somebody long term now."

It has been widely accepted that the Nets would not spend any money on an interim coach. Plus, with a new owner coming in, chances are the job ends with the season. Thorn, who will start the review process today, said he had five calls from agents within one-half hour of Frank's firing.

Likely, with a new owner, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, preparing to take over, whoever is named simply will finish the season.

A spokesman for Prokhorov said: "He has no comment. Bruce Ratner is still the Nets owner."

Frank was named as an interim following the firing of Byron Scott in January 2004 and became the Nets' all-time NBA coaching leader for victories (225-241). He was the longest-tenured coach in the East at the time of his dismissal, trailing Jerry Sloan, Gregg Popovich and Mike Dunleavy among actives.

"I wish the team and my staff well and hope they move forward. And I thank Rod for the opportunity," said Frank before scrambling to leave L.A. and get back to New Jersey.

The players were somewhat surprised by the timing. And as usually happens, they blamed themselves.

"I always had Frank's back. I thought he was doing a terrific job especially with the cards he was dealt," Rafer Alston said. "In this instance if they could fire players, I think a lot of us would be fired, too."

Chris Douglas-Roberts, one of Frank's biggest supporters, was upset by the news.

"I was real attentive out of respect for the head coach but whatever it was, it wasn't working," Douglas-Roberts said. "In this business, the person you point the finger at is the coach, unfortunately. I feel it was more us than anything."

Center Brook Lopez stressed the firing was "tough, because he's probably the hardest worker on the team and he's real passionate about what he does. If anything, it wasn't for a lack of effort."


Several names have already popped up as potential interim coaches to replace Lawrence Frank (above) as Nets coach after his firing yesterday. Here is a list of possible candidates:

Del Harris Former Lakers, Bucks, Rockets coach

Tom Barisse Nets assistant coach

Doug Overton Nets assistant

Roy Rogers Nets assistant

John Loyer Nets assistant

Kiki Vandeweghe Nets general manager

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Added: December 1, 2009


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