Sources told ESPN.com that the two-time former NBA Executive of the Year is high on the Nets' list of potential targets to succeed Billy King, who was reassigned Sunday after a 5 1/2-year tenure marked by modest success and record-setting spending.
Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov insisted at a news conference Monday that he plans to be methodical in his search and interview a number of candidates for his both his GM and coaching vacancies after reassigning King and firing coach Lionel Hollins.
But sources say Colangelo has quickly emerged as a serious candidate should the Nets go the route of hiring a proven NBA executive to succeed King and then pursue one of the top of available coaches, such as Tom Thibodeau or Mark Jackson.
Dimitry Razumov, Prokhorov's right-hand man, will head the Nets' search committee, a source told ESPN's Chris Broussard.
Sergey Kushchenko, who has served as president of Prokhorov's team in Russia (CSKA Moscow) and more recently, at Prokhorov's behest, ran Russia's biathlon team leading into the Sochi Olympics, and Nets CEO Brett Yormark will also be involved in the search, the source said.
The Nets, sources say, have been drawn to Colangelo because of his strong track record in building contenders in both Phoenix and Toronto as well as his varied experiences over more than two decades in the league.
Yormark acknowledged in a radio interview this week on WFAN radio that he would have interest in bringing back Kentucky's John Calipari to the Nets in a dual coaching and executive role, but Yormark also acknowledged in the interview that it would take "a lot" to get him away from Kentucky.
Calipari, for his part, was adamant via multiple tweets Monday that he will not pursue a return to the Nets, while it remains unclear if anyone in the Brooklyn organization beyond Yormark has strong interest in courting him again.
Sources told ESPN's Brian Windhorst on Monday that members of owner Prokhorov's inner circle have been quietly reaching out to other potential GM candidates -- in addition to Colangelo -- to gauge their interest and seek insight on how Brooklyn can drag itself out of its current plight.
William Wesley, Calipari's coaching agent, has let it be known across the NBA that it would take an offer of no less than "$120 million guaranteed" to lure Calipari away from Kentucky, in addition to a president's title on top of coaching duties, sources told ESPN.
Prokhorov last month completed a purchase of outstanding shares of the Nets and Barclays Center to make him the sole owner of both entities. Restoring the Nets to contention in the Eastern Conference, however, figures to be his biggest challenge yet, despite the millions in salary cap space Brooklyn will be able to spend this summer.
During King's tenure with the Nets, the team traded 11 first-round picks (including 2010 No. 3 overall selection Derrick Favors and potential pick swaps), made four head-coaching changes (Avery Johnson, P.J. Carlesimo, Kidd, Lionel Hollins) and spent $123.43 million in luxury taxes (including a league-record $90.57 million in 2013-14) in an effort to win now.
But empowered by Russian ownership's five-year championship plan, King's blockbuster trades that yielded Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace, Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce mostly proved futile, and the Nets wound up winning just one playoff series over that span.
They don't have total control over their own first-round pick until 2019.
ESPN's Chris Broussard and Brian Windhorst contributed to this report.