Avery Johnson never saw it coming.
But just 24 days after he was named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for November, Johnson was fired by the Nets. Assistant P.J. Carlisemo was named interim head coach, and will retain the remainder of Johnson’s staff.
A search for a new head coach will start right away.
“I just got a sense, as I told Avery, that he just wasn’t reaching them anymore,” General Manager Billy King expounded at a press conference, adding that ownership had final say in the decision.
“The Nets’ ownership would like to express thanks to Avery for his efforts and to wish him every success in the future,” principal owner Mikhail Prokhorov said in an announcement.
The Brooklyn Nets (14-14) won 11 of their first 15 games en route to their best start in franchise history, but have gone just 3-10 in December, which pushed Brooklyn’s brass to try a change. They sit in 8th place in the East playoff standings.
“You never think when you’re a .500 team and then you’re going into 2 more home games at home that something similar to this would happen,” Johnson, who was in the final year of a 3-year, $12 million agreement, announced at the reports meeting. “But this is ownership’s call, and this is what we enroll in. This is part of our business. Fair or unfair, it doesn’t matter. But again, it’s time for a new voice, and with a little bit of luck they’ll get back on track.”
One NBA coaching source declared the Nets will start a broad search for Johnson’s replacement, including a call to gauge Phil Jackson’s interest. Jackson was bypassed by the Lakers in November after Mike Brown was fired 5 games into the season.
A list of the top available coaching names includes: Jackson, Jerry Sloan, Nate McMillan, Mike Dunleavy, Brown, and Jeff Van Gundy and Flip Saunders.
The prospect of a Sloan reunion with point guard Deron Williams seems highly unlikely however, after the coach’s sudden resignation in Utah in Feb 2010, 2 weeks before the Jazz decided to deal Williams to the Nets. But the coaching source didn’t rule out the chance that Brooklyn also will reach out to Southern Methodist University’s Larry Brown about a probable NBA return given Brown’s close association with King. Football betting lines
The Brooklyn Nets’ season took a turn for the worse when center Brook Lopez, who was playing the best basketball of his career, missed 7 games as a result of a sprained right foot. The Nets went 2-5 in his absence and have gone just 2-5 since his return. They’ve not beaten a team with a winning record since November 28.
During their 11-4 November, the Nets allowed just 90.4 points per game. But in December, they have regressed and are allowing 98.9 points per contest.
Ten days back, Williams, having the worst season of his career shooting a career-low 39.8% from the field and 29.5 percent from 3-point range — criticized Johnson’s isolation-heavy offensive system, saying he felt uncomfortable. But both King and Johnson declared blaming Williams for the coach’s dismissal was “unfair.” King added that the players were never consulted, and the General Manager supported ownership’s decision.