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Nets fire Coach Don Casey

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The New Jersey Nets began what is expected to be a major housecleaning by firing coach Don Casey on Wednesday.

General manager John Nash and president Michael Rowe also are in danger of losing their jobs after the Nets (31-51) missed the playoffs for the second straight year, but principal owner Lewis Katz said no decision has been reached on their future.

Casey, who never got the Nets turned around after replacing John Calipari on March 15, 1999, went 44-68 in 1 1/2 years.

By making the move a week after the end of the regular season, the team will save $1.3 million, since the second year of the contract Casey signed on June 25 was not guaranteed.

``It was a very difficult decision to make,'' Katz said in a statement. ``He had been a friend of mine for three decades.''

The Nets tried unsuccessfully to hire Phil Jackson after Casey finished out Calipari's season in 1999 with a 13-17 record, but the former Chicago Bulls coach took a job with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Casey will stay with the Nets doing charitable and community-related work.

There was no immediate word on the status of assistant coaches Jim Lynam, Eddie Jordan and Mike O'Koren.

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