ernie Bickerstaff, longtime Bullets assistant coach, and Jim Valvano, coach of NCAA champion North Carolina State, have been mentioned by sources as possible candidates to fill the New Jersey Nets' head coaching vacancy.
The Nets are expected to wait until after the National Basketball Association playoffs before replacing Larry Brown. In the second year of a four-year, $200,000-a-year contract with the Nets, Brown resigned Thursday to become head coach at the University of Kansas.
Brown's top assistant, Bill Blair, was named interim head coach. A former coach at VMI and Colorado, Blair, 40, is popular with the players and is under consideration for the permanent job, team sources say. If the team does well in the playoffs, he certainly will have the inside track.
Valvano was reported to be at home recovering from influenza and was unavailable for comment. Bickerstaff, who was in Boston for the Bullets' game against the Celtics tonight, said he is interested in the job.
"I think it would be the right team for me," said Bickerstaff. "I like it very much with the Bullets and don't want to leave, but for the right head coaching job . . . "
Bickerstaff, 38, has served as a Bullets assistant under K.C. Jones, Dick Motta and Gene Shue. Earlier this season, Shue and Bickerstaff had their contracts extended through the 1984-85 season.
The Nets job is considered one of the best in the league. The franchise is solid financially and has plenty of good, young talent.
New Jersey has always wanted a big-name coach, and no name is bigger right now than Valvano's. Valvano, 37, signed a 10-year contract in January, but he has already won the national championship and most of his starters are graduating.