- (Photograph: Reuters/ Adam Hunger)
Avery Johnson, former Brooklyn Nets head coach, is reacting to the news of being fired along with the rest of the league, but some sources are claiming that the organization is already moving on in the direction of championship-winning coach Phil Jackson.
Although Johnson has been a part of the Nets organization since 2010, the team's move from New Jersey to Brooklyn produced a 14-14 record thus far this season. Despite being named the best NBA coach in the eastern conference, the Nets announced that they would do away with the coach with a record of 60-116 Thursday.
Johnson expressed his disappointment with being let go from the Nets organization at a news conference on Thursday.
"This is a really disappointing day for me and my family," Johnson said. "...This is a difficult time. It's something that I didn't necessarily see coming, especially after a pretty good November. Then, obviously we lost a few games in December, and you never think that when you are a .500 team...that something like this would happen."
Johnson wasn't the only individual surprised by the Nets' coach being let go. Deron Williams, the team's starting point guard, told the New York Daily News that the move from the organization was unexpected and made sure to let it be known that he had nothing to do with the decision.
"I was surprised," Williams told the 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 of him and Billy. So I was surprised."
Lebron James, Miami Heat forward and the NBA MVP from the 2011-2012 season seemed equally shocked that Williams was being let go.
"Avery got fired? He was just coach of the month wasn't he," James tweeted after hearing the news. "That's like a player get Player of the Month then gets traded the next month."
Jason Terry, Celtics guard who once played for Johnson who coached the Dallas Mavericks in 2006, did not seem happy about the news either.
"When I heard the news, it's tough," Terry said in a Boston Globe report. "It's the holiday season and I know he put his heart and soul into trying to make Brooklyn a winner."
Terry's coach, Doc Rivers, said he didn't think the move to fire one of his best friends was fair.
"I'm very surprised by that, but listen, I don't work there, I don't do business there. My friend is Avery Johnson," Rivers said in the Boston Globe report. "You know when you get into coaching, that's part of it. Whether it's fair -- and in this case, I don't think it is -- either way, that's the way it is. Every day as a coach, you've just got to do your job and do the best job you can do, and all the other stuff is out of your hands."
Although some reports have claimed that the Nets are targeting former Lakers head coach Phil Jackson, who holds 11 championship titles, his agent Todd Musburger recently told NBA.com's David Aldridge that there is no interest.
"Phil has no interest in the Nets job at this time," Musburger reportedly said.
While there have been no definitive reports concerning the next coach to sign with the Nets, general manager Billy King explained why he had to let go of Johnson.
"Watching us, we just didn't have the same fire that we had when we were 11-4. I've been trying to talk to Avery," King said in a Newsday report. "We've been trying to figure it out, but just wasn't able to pinpoint what was missing. You lose by 17 to the Celtics, you lose to the Knicks like you did, you lose to Milwaukee. I mean, these are teams that you are talking about competing against, and it was a pattern."
Still, Johnson told the press that he does not agree with the decision.
"If I was owning the team, I wouldn't have gotten fired today, all right? I wouldn't have fired myself because I know what I'm dealing with and I know kind of what the future could hold," Johnson said Thursday. "A lot of times, it's about the blame game because for the most part in this business, the coach always gets blamed."