On Thursday the Brooklyn Nets announced that they have decided to relieve Avery Johnson of his head coaching duties following the team’s struggles.
Nets general manager Billy King made the announcement and shortly after that a source with knowledge of the move told several publications that assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo has been named Brooklyn’s interim head coach effective immediately. Carlesimo was last a head coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder where he too was fired early in the season following a disappointing start to a season during the 2008-09 campaign.
Johnson got off to a great start this season and was named the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for October/November after the Nets jumped out to an 11-4 start to the season while energizing the fans of Brooklyn in the first season in the County of Kings. Unfortunately things for the Nets and Johnson had taken a sever turn for the worse as of late with the team losing 10 of their previous 13 games and falling to 14-14 on the year.
The Nets principal owner Mikhail Prokhorov had the following to say regarding the decision to let go of Johnson, “The Nets ownership would like to express thanks to Avery for his efforts and to wish him every success in the future.”
Just as recently as Tuesday following the Nets Christmas Day 93-76 loss at the hands of the Boston Celtics, team CEO Brett Yormark tweeted via Twitter that “Nets fans deserved better” and although there is no direct connection as to whether Yormark was speaking of the decision to let Johnson go or not but speculations will definitely arise based on the decision made by the organization on Thursday.
Johnson was hired as the Nets head coach on June 15, 2010 and in his two plus seasons of tenure as the head coach he compiled a 60-116 record. Besides the fact that the Nets have struggled mightily as of late another reason for Johnson’s dismissal could be due to the fact that he and All-Star point guard Deron Williams haven’t really been seeing eye-to-eye this season with Williams telling members of the media last week that he felt uncomfortable in Johnson’s isolation-heavy offensive system.
Brooklyn is currently in eight place in the Eastern Conference which would entitle them to a playoff spot (had the season ended today) however Prokhorov stated prior to the beginning of the year that a successful season would be defined by a possible trip to the Eastern Conference Finals.