Ax falls on Frank after Nets’ 0-16 start

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The New Jersey Nets fired coach Lawrence Frank on Sunday after losing their first 16 games during one of the worst starts in NBA history.

Assistant Tom Barrise coached the team Sunday night against the Lakers in Los Angeles, where the Nets lost again and tied the record for the worst start in NBA history.

The Nets said a permanent replacement for Frank hasn’t been determined.

Frank was in his sixth full season, the longest-tenured coach in the Eastern Conference and the winningest coach in the Nets’ NBA history. But none of those victories came this season, and the team dismissed him with a 225-241 record.

“Lawrence always approached every day with a passion for his craft that was infectious, and his dedication to the game as well as his work ethic are to be both admired and appreciated,” Nets president Rod Thorn said in a statement. “I wish he and his family only the best of good fortune in the future.”

Frank, from nearby Teaneck, N.J., began his career with a 13-game winning streak, the best coaching start in league history. He couldn’t survive a losing streak that was even longer, one game shy of the 17-game skids set by the 1988-89 Miami Heat and the 1999 Los Angeles Clippers.

Plagued by injuries this season, the Nets faced some games where they were missing four starters and suited up the minimum eight players.

“That’s probably as little talent as I’ve seen anybody put on the floor in the long time with everybody hurt,” Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said. “Yet they were able to fight and stay competitive. The guy’s done a great job there.”