HoopsHype Avery Johnson rumors


December 29, 2012 Updates

Sources briefed on the situation told ESPN.com this week that Johnson besieged his bosses for a contract extension before the season, convinced that he wouldn't have the hammer to coach the Nets as needed in the face of sky-high expectations if he was calling the shots with an expiring contract. The Nets declined those overtures, opting to avoid locking themselves into a coach, but they also figured that they'd be no worse than a top-five team in the East without having to make a coaching change no matter what sort of bench uncertainty lingered. ESPN.com

Johnson began this season with a blindfold and a cigarette and it was only a matter of time. Did it matter that he was the conference coach of the month in November? Apparently not. That would have been the ideal time for the Nets to announce they had locked up their coach for the next few years. They were 11-4. “Three weeks ago, they were playing as well as anybody,’’ Celtics coach Doc Rivers said of the Nets after learning of Johnson’s firing. “The NBA is a league of ebbs and flows. That’s the way it is. You go on good streaks. You go on bad ones. I thought it was awful quick to make a change.” HoopsHype

Johnson was said to be quite surprised when the news came down on Thursday that he would no longer be the head coach. He shouldn’t have been. He didn’t just fall of the turnip truck. He’s been around long enough to know that it had to be coming the moment Prokhorov told him ‘nyet’ on a contract extension. That’s not an excuse. That’s just the way it is. Yes, there may have been locker room issues, but those things can be exacerbated when you have the situation that was going on in Brooklyn. “In this business, you got to have the power, in terms of the ability to coach – and the respect,” Johnson said. “It would help if you do have a contract that the players respect. That’s the nature of our business.” HoopsHype

December 28, 2012 Updates

Less than a month later, the award can be used to wrap fish. After ownership called and asked many within and outside the organization for input, Johnson was notified yesterday he was being canned. “It was ownership,” said general manager Billy King when asked who made the call. New York Post

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

Any rumor missing? E-mail us at   hoopshype@hoopshype.com.