Thursday, December 27th, 2012 at 1:15 pm  |  109 responses

Head Coach Avery Johson Fired By the Brooklyn Nets

by Marcel Mutoni @ marcel_mutoni

The Brooklyn Nets, struggling at 14-14 following a strong 11-4 start to the season, have relieved head coach Avery Johnson of his duties.

Johnson’s system has been openly criticized by star point guard Deron Williams, and there’s angry locker room talk of selfish play.

The Nets announced the move today.

Per the press release:

The Brooklyn Nets have relieved Avery Johnson of his head coaching duties, it was announced today by General Manager Billy King. A search for a new head coach will begin immediately. “The Nets ownership would like to express thanks to Avery for his efforts and to wish him every success in the future,” said Brooklyn Nets principal owner Mikhail Prokhorov. Johnson was named head coach of the Nets on June 15, 2010. In two-plus seasons as head coach of the Nets, Johnson compiled a record of 60-116.

In a cruel twist of fate, Avery Johnson had been named the NBA’s Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for October and November. He’s now looking for another job.

Assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo will take over on an interim basis effective immediately.

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  • shockexchange

    Avery had to see this coming … (i) a bunch of new pieces that needed time to mesh together,(ii) hype, (iii) national television games, not because the team was deserving of them but simply due to its New York location, and (iv) the star play (DWill) throwing shade. In the Shock Exchange’s opinion, Avery’s biggest crime was in not managing unrealistic expectations.

  • Fat Lever

    I know this is completely knee jerk reaction, but IDAF: D-Will just got another coach fired. Maybe he can just coach the team, although if he gets himself fired I think that may be the seventh sign of the apocalypse

  • zogs19994


  • http://twitter.com/RyanDeahn RyanDeahn

    Sweet now HOV can coach.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Deron Williams, Coach Slayer


    dwill: what is it with you and strong willed coaches like Avery & Sloan? maybe you just can’t be coached. I can’t believe I used to argue in your favor against CP3.

  • Allenp

    Yeah, Deron is developing quite the reputation. And given that he doesn’t have Jason Kidd’s magic reputation for making everyone better, he’s not going to get a pass for his coach killing ways.

  • KC

    Wow sooner than expected but you knew it was coming. The nets just aren’t the contender they think they are. Derron Will looks like he is maybe a top 10 or 15 point guard but certainly not one of best. Joe Johnson has always been overrated. Lopez got paid on potential but he is injury prone and not hasn’t lived up to it yet. A new coach wont change any of that

  • Redd

    I was wondering about when they’d finally fire him. Since its Nets I’m sure they’ll blindly chase Jackson.

  • shockexchange

    DWill’s “complaints about the offense” in Utah was simply a smokescreen. He wanted out of Utah and unlike LeBron or D12, he found a politically correct way to accomplish it. Now after complaining about Avery’s offense, Avery gets fired. The Shock Exchange sees you DWill.

  • Jay Cutler

    what are you talking about? the player must adapt but the coach can’t adapt?

    have you worked with people in a team-setting before where success benefits everyone?

  • danpowers

    its not the first coach williams was complaining about but it is also not the first point guard complaining about johnsons coaching

  • RedRum

    This is the right move. AJ is a limited coach. He can be a good defensive coordinator. but a great coach needs to run a whole team and implement a system that leads to player development and offensive production in crunch time. AJ, Thibs and other “defensive specialist” coaches cannot go far in the NBA, if they do not implement an offensive system past iso and pick n roll. DWill probably was wrong with Sloan (and he seems to now acknowledge that) but he was right with AJ. Nets should go after Jax.

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    Blame it Deron Williams and his comb over. It’s the Jerry Sloan saga all over

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    No joking lol

  • Max

    Time to get Sloan!
    Make it happen Russian Billionaire!

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    What other point guard complained?

  • theDankerNuggets

    it had to be done sooner or later. After giving Derron that contract you can’t give up on him right now but you can certainly bring in a fresh system for him.

  • Pop D’Molly

    Damn, my dawg got fired on his day off…

  • Kid Viscious

    dang i thought he was doing a pretty good job…

  • Big Mark

    Looks like I’m gonna be watching the association more now

  • The Fury

    They won’t/can’t because Williams is not going to like the triangle.

  • shockexchange

    Hilarious. When DWill first threw shade at Avery’s offensive system, you defended DWill and said Avery should take it as “constructive criticism.”

  • ScrewT

    Nets needed someone to blame and the coaches normally take the blame in situations like this. The Nets were a bad team last year and really the only change they made was picking up Joe Johnson. They were going to be an average team from the start, but ESPN and everyone hyped them up to huge levels just because they were moving to Brooklyn.

  • ThaWindy

    DWill hated that Avery was going to Joe Johnson late in games and he was making buckets…how can you have a problem when you’re winning?…this is the guy CJ Watson would rather go to war with?…he’s a cancer and their season is over…unless a miracle happens..

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Avery Johnson should have. But he didn’t fire himself. See the difference?

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    Who can coach Deron Williams? Jerry Sloan, Avery Johnson. This isn’t a good reflection on him. Who would have thought that the Clippers would be one of the best teams in the league coached by Vinny Del Negro and his old teammate, Avery Johnson, would be looking for a job this early in the season?

  • http://twitter.com/niQknacks niQ

    Another one bites the dust.

  • 1982

    14-14 for DWill, Iso-Joe, and last years 22-44 squad really isn’t that bad…

  • BurgerKing

    D-Will strikes again! *evil laugh*

  • shockexchange

    Yeah, but when the Shock Exchange previoulsy implied that DWill was a “coach killer,” you argued with him. Now you’re acting like you’ve had an epiphany.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jhemp15 Jamar Hemphill

    Johnson just started to catch fire, DWill was carrying them before then…Isn’t it ironic how they started losing when Johnson started playing well? And I like Joe, but it’s on the coach to make sure the pieces mesh well

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509819249 Gaurav P.

    Huh? As Woj hinted: “The firing of Avery Johnson comes less than two days after a critical tweet post-Celtics loss by impatient Nets CEO Brett Yormark.”

    Deron didn’t even say anything that bad.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    So SLAM…about that Deron Williams ranking for this season…

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    You are confused. I didn’t argue with the notion that he gets coaches fired, I even said, the franchise is Deron Williams’ not Avery Johnson’s, he should be able to express his feelings without Johnson taking it personally. That had nothing to do with the decisions ownership makes, ownership and the coach are different obviously

  • Sin City

    Avery was the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month early this season, think November. Yep, blame Avery.

  • ThaWindy

    Heard Avery was willing to add DWills fav plays..as well as joe Johnson…

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk


  • danpowers

    devin harris back then in dallas because avery johnson doesnt really give his players any freedom on court. he is a little dictator

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    Well his nickname was then little general

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    Do you know what the CEO said?

  • shockexchange

    On this thread – http://www.slamonline.com/online/nba/slamonline-top-50/2012/10/top-50-deron-williams-no-7/ – you implied that if DWill had more say so in Utah’s offense, he and Sloan never would have parted ways. It had nothing to do with Sloan’s offense, he wanted out of Utah. But let the Shock Exchange guess, Sloan should chalk up DWill’s public “____ fit” to constructive criticism?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Maybe you should keep reading in that thread -


    Show me ONE time he questioned Jerry Sloan to the media. Their issues were behind close doors. And it all happened in a matter of a month”

  • shockexchange

    The Shock Exchange read it. The point is that it’s not a mere happenstance that DWill criticized two coaches, and both coaches eventually exited stage left. When DWill criticized Avery’s offense he didn’t mean for Avery to take it in a constructive manner … there was malice behind it. Before he made those comments, he had already “circled the wagons” on Avery.

  • RunNGun

    Deron Williams 2, NBA Coaches 0. Coach killer… good luck, Brooklyn,

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    I clearly (uhm look at the first comment) what his comments about Avery did. But there were no comments about Sloan. What happened with Sloan happened in the locker room, it’s totally different. First of all, Sloan quit, so I don’t know why you think there is a parallel to this aside from the coach leaving. And again, I have not at any point argued the effects of Williams words to upper management. Or meant to make it seem that way. Only have I discussed how Williams words should be taken by his coach. In which my opinion hasn’t changed.

  • roscoe

    So for those of us keeping score on Dwill who has thrown J.Sloan & A.Johnson under the bus.

    A.Johson = 99’ NBA champion, 06’ Coach of the Year, 06’ NBA champion coach runner up, 98’ NBA Sportsman award, Retired #6 w/SAS.

    J.Sloan = HOF, Longest-Tenured Coach in American Sports History, 4x 1st team NBA defensive team, 2x NBA champion coach runner up, Retired #4 w/ CHI.

    Dwill = s… o… f… t…

    Here’s hoping to Brooklyn shipping Dwill out of town bc the fans deserve better.

  • Seth

    No chance Phil ever coaches a team that isn’t a contender.

  • roscoe

    good points… but at the beginning of the season when lopez and others were claiming a “title contending team” Avery did reel them back in, but the tides were definitely against him.

    we agree dwill is a cancer, no doubt.

  • roscoe

    *team cancer

  • The Mauve Avenger

    Phil Jackson on his way?

  • roscoe

    yep.. dharris should have been given freedom on the court… idk about that statement.

  • The Philosopher

    Enter, Nate McMillain…

  • Lloyd

    Going to make for a great episode still. Feel bad for the dude, but that’s some must watch tv

  • ThaWindy

    They start losing or the losing became a problem after DWills comments…that’s the way I seen it. He’s a vet and understands exactly what he shld and shld not say. And knowing what his comments could and have turned into shows the amount of selfishness in this guy..

  • shutup

    Another D-Will assist.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jhemp15 Jamar Hemphill

    Not to take up for DWill, but u have to expect that from him coming from a situation where at Illinois he wasn’t the man behind Dee Brown…then going to Utah where he wasn’t the man behind Sloan & ppl were saying he wasn’t better than the often injured CP3…then to going to the Nets where he’s been told since day one that he was the man, & now to have the coach say “since Joe is heating up, we’re gonna defer to him for now”. Dude has been getting played his whole career, so I don’t blame hm for speaking up. Selfish, yes, but wrong no, becuz DWill is a top 3 pg (a top 10 player overall) right now.

  • Slick Ric

    Deron williams is overrated…I said that bum was the best Pg while Rose recovers, boy was I wrong.

  • Slick Ric


  • Anthony Dixon

    its too easy to blame dwill’s comments for AJ’s firing.. His play it to blame if anything but the season isnt over. Him along with the other players have struggled.. Avery can’t coach effort.

  • Anthony Dixon

    Do ya think Brian Shaw and the Triangle offense can help the nets?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    can’t really blame them for that, most of us thought Williams would be up there. And who knows, he may flip a switch without Avery. Then again, he did just sit out with a “bruised wrist”

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Deron Williams would lose his sh*t with McMillan. A guy who plays even slower, i don’t think that’s what Williams wants.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509819249 Gaurav P.

    He is implying that the firing came as a result of the CEOs impatience with the team and the fact they’ve regressed since their 11-4 start in November. I don’t understand why Deron is being blamed for the firing when the team has been on a downward spiral all of December.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/avery-johnson-brooklyn-nets-coach-deron-williams-counts-183819259–nba.html;_ylt=AmUUys4baRRHvrZUvAP.7J8LE904;_ylu=X3oDMTFycHRwNmxkBG1pdANBUlRJQ0xFIEFydGljbGUgQm9keQRwb3MDMQRzZWMDTWVkaWFBcnRpY2xlQm9keUFzc2VtYmx5;_ylg=X3oDMTJtYmptZjFyBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDOWQ0MGM0NTktM2Q0ZC0zNTdmLWJiNTUtM2YxOGRhZWE4MzU4BHBzdGNhdANuYmEEcHQDc3RvcnlwYWdl;_ylv=3 – there, from Woj’s partner in crime. He was implying Brett Yomark, like other’s within the Nets organization were growing impatient with Johnson. — which, we can guarantee, wasn’t happening before Williams comments last week. As the team started 11-4, and showed the ability to be competitive under Johnson.


    D Wills phux it up for everybody

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509819249 Gaurav P.

    LOL. Kelly Dwyer is not Woj’s partner in crime. He is a blogger who analyzes based on the observations and reports of others. Woj’s partner in crime, if anybody, would be Marc Spears.

    Secondly, a CEOs impatience with a team would stem from the record of the team. If the Nets were meeting expectations, the CEO wouldn’t be so inclined to fire Avery, regardless of Deron’s opinion.

    I’m sure Deron had a say in Avery’s firing, but why label him a coach-killer when the team as a whole underperformed? By all accounts (fans, journalists), Avery was not the right man for the job.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    Deron Williams, System point guard…smh

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    I love the phrase “relieved of his duties.” LOL like he gets fired and is just like oh thank you so much for relieving me of my struggles thank you so much

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    hey who knows the season is still young

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    It’s going to take a couple of years minimum for people to start warming up to DWILL again

  • The Seed

    How about this Nets hire Phil Jackson and we trade Mike D. for him. Mike offense would work better with the Nets

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    you realize that CEO wasn’t even involved in the discussion to fire Johnson don’t you?



    According to the report, Prokhorov consulted with his No. 2 Dmitry Razumov in making the decision. Prokhorov then informed general manager Billy King of the decision and King was the one who directly told Johnson he had been fired.

    The reason ->i<- called Williams a coach slayer is because i'm funny. he definitely got the ball rolling on this firing. Never once did i imply he actually said, "fire coach Johnson" – but his displeasure was very noted. all of this, 2 years after Williams "reported" (reported, meaning there is no actual real story about what happened) dispute with Sloan resulted in Sloan walking away from a job he held for 2 decades.
    Williams has earned his reputation as a coach killer, by killing the job security of two his coaches, both of which were highly respected and not viewed as people who were about to leave their post. It's not that he is actually a coach slayer who walked into Billy King's office dressed as a knight threatening to slay them like a dragon if they aren't fired.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    yeah, that stupidity. dumbass deron williams really doesn’t realize he just has strengths lol, he thinks he only works in one system.


    it’s called, Avery Johnson is a simple minded offensive coach who doesn’t know how to cater to his player’s strengths. but he does know how to cater to a big man. which is why Brook Lopez has been their best player.

  • davidR

    something had to have happened. deron get shipped out of utah, then all of a sudden sloan quits with no warning. i personally think the issue was more with management, especially seeing how they let go of a huge part of their core (boozer, korver, brewer, etc)

  • roscoe

    you clearly have not been paying attention… research the UTH-Sloan-dwill bus driving events and it will become very clear.

  • Kadavour

    NY is a spotlight media market. It’s probably the most unforgiving. Avery’s one-on-one limited movement offense was weak when the Nets were 11-5 and it is now. No one was blaming Deron then? I hate to say it, but a lot of these failures fall on Avery. He gives Stackhouse WAY too much of Marshon Brooks’ minutes. That kid can flat out score on ANYBODY, and there are nights he doesn’t see the court. The rotations leave something to be desired, and you can’t blame Deron, the PG and distributor for wanting to play in style that would allow him to help the team better and allow him to take advantage of their many strengths. That offense was just too ISO Heavy.

  • Kadavour

    The funny thing is that there are possessions when the move the ball so well then next play down is an ISO. i don’t get it

  • The Philosopher

    I don’t know. You may be right.
    But, Williams is not the same guy. He has issues, and, he seems to be slowing down, anyway.

    And at this juncture, he would like to be seen as a player who does not get coaches fired, no? Especially at this point in time.
    Besides, McMillan is a better coach than Avery Johnson, in my judgement. He has a better ear. A better eye. (all just opinions)

    And he’s an Olympic coach. Has the credentials. He’s not generally known to grate on players, as Johnson has been known to do, at every stop he has been at.
    McMillan has been good at getting players to buy into his system(s).
    Plus, they would have more in common, I think. Big point guards.

  • The Philosopher

    But again, you may be right…
    You’ve been on point for the better part of two years.

    At least.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    I can’t argue that at all. But I’m sticking my belief that Stan Van Gundy should get the job

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    I appreciate that but Idk man, I’m wrong often.

  • davidR

    care to point me in the right direction? i’m at work and can’t really dedicate too much time to researching this. i’ve only been finding interviews and quotes with sloan denying deron drove him out, and that its been suggested sloan didnt have the energy to clash with his players anymore, so he left

  • The Philosopher

    Stan Van Gundy is a good coach.

    He received a raw deal in Orlando.

  • Allenp

    I did wonder why they played so slow. yes, Lopez needs his touches, but why not run first, then set up the offense. Of course, Williams losing his jumper just as he stops going to the basket as much is the real problem.

  • The Philosopher


  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Yeah, Avery basically ran the 1999 Spurs offense instead of something around Williams and Johnson. Which is confusing in itself because it totally strips their backcourt of its biggest advantage (its size) by trapping them on the perimeter while they look to Brook Lopez for their half court offense rather then letting Williams control the flow. .
    D Williams complete lack of a consistent jumper may have had something to do with Avery trying to force the offense through Lopez, idk.

  • Mr. Wet

    I doubt it, I’m not sure he was that beloved before. And the people that do like him, still will.

  • https://twitter.com/jasontichenor Mr. Wet

    Stan and Jeff duo. I’m lobbying. I still can’t believe Jeff hasn’t had a coaching gig for this long.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    I’m not blaming them. I agreed with the ranking. He’s making us all look bad. Those of us who thought he would return to his old form were all wrong.

  • candlewood jay

    stop trying so hard to be funny

  • Abaci

    He was stealing boxes

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    lol now that would be hilarious

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    it is considering they are millions over the salary cap

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    I don’t want to hear his name in the conversation of best point guard in the league and I always have

  • RKJ92

    And I look good ;) I said Rondo was a better pg and got sh*t on so this feels nice

  • RKJ92


  • ThaWindy

    No way this guys a top 3..top 5….I think how well a guy is willing to be the coaches coach on the floor go’s a long way..look a cp3 with Vinny, he’s making it work and I sure Vinny is not CP3 top coaches choice….DWill doesn’t seem as hungry..he got his money.. He Can’t blame lack of help..he’s not willing to blame himself…if he doesn’t win a ring he won’t lose any sleep…

  • hillbilly

    If discontentment, indifference and petulance could be accurately measured, DWill would be leading the league in at least three statistical categories.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    Not just a better PG, but he’s a better player, period.

  • Mike From Spain

    wow, that Utah team was not bad at all… pity they blew it up

  • http://www.facebook.com/jhemp15 Jamar Hemphill

    Okay, so name 5 pgs better than him right now. CP3, Westbrook…Rose is injured, Nash is old & doesn’t play any D, Irving is coming, but not there quite yet. No one else is touching him right now. The guy can defend, can shoot/score, & pass with he best of them. The Clips are good becuz of CP3, not Vinny. Vinny has been on the hot seat for the last 3 seasons. DWill may not be hungry right now, but it’s not becuz he got paid. He was recruited there by Avery, they told him coming through the door that he was the man, so now Avery had him defering to Joe, when DWill can carry the team.

  • shockexchange

    That Utah team is better than this Brooklyn Nets team.

  • danpowers
  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    bro, i’m joking. i know Avery Johnson wasn’t the right coach for that team, and i know there was a lot more to Jerry Sloan quitting then just Deron Williams and him having an argument. But that doesn’t change what popular perception of him will be.

  • roscoe

    U understand PR machines bury stories? Right?

    To clarify, not to tell you, but sports agents are professional publicists w/ great skills and powerful legal teams.

    these agents have work which requires more legal work than you or i could ever know, but basically high priced lawyers write legal letters to media outlets that they better yank stories or face litigation if they don’t name sources and provide evidence. also, if you are a media business you don’t want to piss off the nba, its not good for your reporters.

    my point is easily argued as “hearsay”, but in truth if you have been paying attention the info was available before. I researched it and it is clearly gone now.

    hell, you might be dwill’s publicist spinning information for all we know. Are you?

  • davidR

    haha nah man, im no publicist, just someone that didn’t buy all the media reports that deron drove sloan away. not to say that we know the truth of what happened in utah, just that i personally feel like something happened with basically that whole team leaving utah

  • danpowers

    yup, was catchy lol