HoopsHype Avery Johnson rumors

December 28, 2012 Updates

By the time Johnson was fired, he had lost several members of the locker room. Williams was the most obvious one, and his decision not to play Wednesday night in Milwaukee — citing a wrist injury that he had played through all season — only fueled speculation that he had, as one friend of Johnson’s said, “totally quit on Avery.” Suspicion also surrounded Kris Humphries, who went on the inactive list this week — right after Johnson yanked him from the starting lineup — because of a previously unmentioned abdominal injury. New York Times

Avery Johnson said he never saw his firing coming. “You don’t think as a .500 team that something like this would happen,” Johnson said yesterday in a press conference at the team’s practice facility after he was relieved of his duties as the Nets head coach. “But this is ownership’s decision. This is what we signed up for.” New York Post

Howard Beck: Would have been easy to just disappear, as most fired coaches do. Avery thanked everyone from owner to front office to players to video guys Twitter @HowardBeckNYT

December 27, 2012 Updates

Just like in Utah two years ago, where coach Jerry Sloan retired following a reported rift with his point guard, Williams was blamed for the departure of Avery Johnson, who was abruptly fired Thursday morning by Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov. "I was surprised," Williams said in a telephone interview with Daily News. "I never had any conversation with (GM) Billy King about not liking coach, nothing about coach Johnson. Avery was a big reason I came back, because him and Billy. So I was surprised. "We've never had an argument, we've never had a fight, any disagreements, anything. So, I think it was more kind of what happened in Utah, people still saying I got coach Sloan fired even though he resigned and that's going to stick with me for a while." New York Daily News

"I definitely don't think the losing is coach's fault. I have to play better," Williams said. "I have to figure out how to balance. When I said the comments that our offense was heavy on isolation plays, that's a lot of our guys games. That's a lot of Joe (Johnson's) game. That's how he's coachable. "So a lot of times I'm going to be sitting in a corner and watching him work, and that's fine. And Brook (Lopez) needs the ball on the block. I don't have the ball in my hands as much as I'm accustomed to. I'm still trying to figure out how to get going, get my offense going off of that. Is it coach Johnson's fault I'm missing wide open shots? No. That was never his fault. That's on me. I have to play better. So I never said or thought it's his fault we were losing." New York Daily News

Stotts said he’s rarely surprised when a coach is fired. Johnson is the second coach fired this season, which is not even two months old. In November, the Lakers fired Mike Brown after a 1-5 start. “It’s the unpleasant truth of our profession,” Stotts said. “It’s a zero-sum game. There’s a winner and loser. That’s the reality.” Oregonian

Johnson badly wanted a contract extension with the Nets, and the organization was unwilling to deliver it until he had taken this upgraded and expensive roster into the playoffs. In the end, there was a sense that Johnson had lost too much of this locker room – that the Nets had lost their way – and ownership and King came to a decision together to fire him on Thursday morning. Yahoo! Sports

Within the organization, the Nets' recent free-fall had made them resemble a lottery team again, and King – with the support of ownership – ultimately wanted a change now, sources said. An able tactician, Johnson had built up too little organizational goodwill once the Nets started to spiral to 10 losses in 13 games this month. There's a reason all those former Spurs teammates who became GMs never considered hiring Johnson as coach. From Cleveland to Phoenix, they all passed on Johnson. His demand for control, his penchant for passing blame – in ways large and small – played a part in his demise. Yahoo! Sports

Stefan Bondy: This firing wasn't on Deron Williams, I'm told. Just two weeks ago he talked to Avery about changing the offense and Avery obliged. Twitter @NYDNInterNets

The Nets fired Avery Johnson as their head coach Thursday, feeling that the team had not performed at the level expected. The decision was made by the team's Russian ownership and relayed to Johnson Thursday. Johnson went from Coach of the Month for November to being fired in December. The news comes after the team, 11-4 three weeks ago, dropped to 14-14 Wednesday night with a loss in Milwaukee. NetsDaily

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