Thorn is frank about Frank

thorn250_042209.jpgEAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Rod Thorn came in the room with his voice hoarse and cracking. The immediate joke was it came from shouting down some people at the big management/ownership meeting last night when Lawrence Frank was discussed.

Perhaps it was fitting that Thorn barely had a voice when he openly wondered whether his coach still had one.

The overriding theme in Thorn’s end-of-season wrap with the media was are the players still listening to Frank. Sure, there are other reasons Thorn didn’t come out and say Frank would be his coach next season, but the voice seemed to be the biggest reason why he couldn’t say he would.

“I wouldn’t say it’s my primary concern, but it is one of them,” Thorn said. “You just look at the whole thing. Have we gone as far as we can go with the way we are going, or if we have a new voice can it give us an infusion to go higher basically is what I’m looking at.”

As the nearly 30-minute sit-down with Thorn ended there were more questions than answers. Among them:

What’s it going to take for you to decide?
“Just trying to look at our team, trying to look at where we’re trying to go, trying to look at all the aspects of it and trying to figure out what’s best for our team.”

What are you weighing?
“Is the voice still pertinent? Do I think the team will reach whatever its limitations are? Are we still headed in the right direction? Those types of things.”

When will you decide?
“In a timely fashion. There is no set date, but I think a timely fashion is always appropriate.”

You realize people will interpret that Frank is out?
“I realize I’m probably being nave, but I don’t think people should interpret it any way. It’s just an organization trying to do its due diligence, trying to think where it is, where it’s going, without any decision being made yet.”

How much does the delay have to do with a particular candidate?

Thorn handled it like the pro that he is. Nets’ fans should know one thing: Thorn always tries to make the right decision based on the circumstances.

You may not like some of his trades or signings but sometimes his hands were tied because of ownership constraints and other situations.

In this case, it’s totally his call. Money plays a factor because you’re dealing with about $4.5 million salary for Frank next season, which is a lot for any business. Especially one losing money, laying off employees, and deciding to have a joint summer-league team with the Sixers to save expenses.

But, if Frank stays it shouldn’t be because of money. It should be because he deserves to be the coach. If you look at this season alone, Frank deserves to be back and Thorn knows that much.

Thorn isn’t just looking at this season, though. He’s looking at the last few, how the Nets played down the stretch of the season when they surprisingly were still in the playoff race and playing it forward, trying to figure out whether Frank will get more of out this group next season.

During the interview, Thorn received a lozenge that made his voice a little better. The strength of the coach’s voice remains a question in Thorn’s mind.

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