When the Nets let coach Avery Johnson go in late December, Jeff Van Gundy was floated as a potential candidate to replace him. But though Van Gundy wasn't willing to discuss the job while interim coach P.J. Carlesimo was in place, the former Knicks coach had no problem going to bat for Carlesimo to have the job for the long-term. "[Carlesimo] has earned that opportunity to come back and be the coach for a long, long time," Van Gundy told USA Today. "I like the way the team is playing. They play hard. "It seems like [Deron] Williams and Joe Johnson are playing with a little more energy, Brook Lopez has been terrific. I think P.J. has done a wonderful job." Earlier this week, Nets general manager Billy King said in an interview on NBA TV that he and Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov — who was in town for Wednesday's 105-85 loss to the Heat and will also be in attendance for tonight's game against the Bulls — will meet and discuss Carlesimo and how he has done in leading the Nets to a 13-5 record since taking over for Johnson. King added no decision regarding Carlesimo's future would necessarily be reached. "[Carlesimo] is a coach's coach," Van Gundy said. "He's coached for 40 years, he's been to the pinnacle of the NCAA Finals, he's been a head coach for three different organizations, he won [three titles] with the Spurs [as an assistant]. I mean, he's seen it all. "So if you're going to have an interim coach, he can draw on all these vast experiences. And I think he's handled everything just as anyone who knows him would expect — with class and grace and dignity. He's a terrific, terrific basketball coach."