Pat Sullivan doesn't know what to do with himself. He struggles to remember when he wasn't preparing for a basketball season at this time of year.
The NBA lockout has affected Sullivan, a Bogota native and one of the best players in Bergen Countyhistory.
His contract as a Detroit Pistons assistant coach expired June 30 and wasn't renewed. Sullivan, who has coached in high school, college and the NBA consecutively since graduating from North Carolina in 1995, hasn't been able to find work because few teams are hiring during the lockout.
"It's kind of crazy," Sullivan said. "Now my basketball is talking to coaches, watching stuff on TV, watching old games, going into the driveway and playing and going and helping fifth- and sixth-grade boys."
Sullivan, 39, said he's playing "Mr. Mom," while his wife, Sara, a teacher, is working.
He's taking care of his 10-year-old stepson, Collin, and plans to coach his AAU basketball team in Rochester, Mich., if he can't find a job.
Although Sullivan looks forward to giving back with Collin's team, he wants back in the NBA and remains upbeat. He hired agent Steve Kauffman and has coaches such as Larry Brown, Lawrence Frank, Mike Woodson, Dave Hanners and John Kuester putting out feelers and giving recommendations on Sullivan's behalf.
"The people who know Pat are trying to look out and help," Frank said. "Everyone in this business has been out of work. So I think we always have great empathy, let alone for somebody you care about and you think is very good."
Frank became the Pistons coach in August, but couldn't keep Sullivan, his assistant with the Nets from 2005-08. Detroit had locker room turmoil and a players' revolt under Kuester. New ownership wanted new voices.
Another former Nets assistant, Brian Hill, a longtime friend of Frank and the one who brought theTeaneck native into the NBA, is Detroit's only holdover. Frank met with Sullivan at the Iron Horse inWestwood in August to tell him that he could not be retained.
"I think Pat's a future head coach," Frank said. "He has a very, very sharp mind. I think he's outstanding. Unfortunately, he was just a victim of circumstance in that situation; just the different things that transpired during the time he was there. At the end of the day it was more of a trying to get a clean-sheet philosophy."
Sullivan understood and appreciates Frank trying to help him now.
"It's not personal," Sullivan said. "It's business. We talk probably once a month. He just checks in, wanting to see how things are going and if there's anything he can do. He's been good about trying to help me, but there's nothing he can help me with."
Sullivan entered the NBA as an assistant coach/video coordinator with the Pistons in 2003. The most he made in a season is about $300,000, but he has mortgages on two properties – in Hoboken and Michigan. He's close to selling the Hoboken place, but said he will have to go back to work eventually.
"If the lockout ended and I didn't have a job, I think I would look to find work in something out of basketball," Sullivan said. "Just to do anything to try and make a couple of bucks here and there, just for mental health and just to get out of the house."
He hasn't ruled out returning to coaching in college. But Sullivan wants to exhaust his NBA options first. In the meantime, he's enjoying his family time while he can.
"The hardest thing is at some point I'm going to have to leave my family here in Detroit when I get a job because it won't be with the Pistons," Sullivan said. "I've said it's like an extended vacation right now. Let's just enjoy this and when the time comes we'll figure it out."