While 2,000 people are said to be working in the Brooklyn Nets’ Barclays Center, Avery Johnson will no longer be one of those people. After winning Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for the months of October and November , the team seemed to lose its steam and won only three of their last 13 games despite having a strong 11-4 start.
“We weren’t playing well,” Nets GM Billy King said of the decision to fire Johnson. “That’s the bottom line. We just weren’t playing good basketball and we seemed to be regressing. We’re in the business of accountability. Players do have to play, but when they’re not, others will be held accountable, too. That’s just the way it is, unfortunately.”
Although GM Billy King blames Johnson’s inability to push the team forward, many critics believe the team’s point guard, Deron Williams, was the primary cause of Johnson’s termination. Williams denies fault: “The last thing I would try to do is get any coach fired. I already went through that situation once when people thought I got Coach Sloan fired. Why would I want to put myself through all of that? There’s no way I’d do it, because there’s certain situations you can never detach your name from once it’s happened. But people already are going to believe what they believe. So what can I do now?” According to team sources, Johnson was annoyed by Williams’ recent remarks about the Nets’ offense and sarcastically asked the player “How would you do things differently?” Williams’ unprecedented response made his coach look completely incompetent in front of the entire team.
Believe it or not, Johnson has a great track record with the Dallas Mavericks prior to joining the Nets.