I doubt that the coach or the player involved here will come out and give us a definite answer to that question. However, Deron Williams has had a rocky history with coaches in the past.
Williams was playing for the Utah Jazz at the time, and midway through his 23rd season in the NBA, head coach Jerry Sloan resigned following a locker room altercation with his star PG. Emotions run high during games, and sometimes things like that happen. Williams and Sloan handled the situation appropriately in the public eye, with both of them expressing admiration for each other. However, the Jazz traded Williams quickly afterwards.
Now, Williams has led the Brooklyn Nets (14-14) to a meager .500% record, losing 10 of their last 13 games. Head coach Avery Johnson was relieved of his duties earlier today, and all signs point towards Williams having a hand in the move, despite his denial of any affiliation.
According to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, two seasons ago Johnson and Williams got into a dispute in the locker room over the effectiveness of the Nets offense. As Williams became upset, Johnson sarcastically asked, “What would you do differently?” Williams promptly showed up his coach in front of the entire team, diagramming plays and changing things around.
Could that have been the beginning of the end?
Even more damning evidence of Williams’ unhappiness with his coach can be found just a few games ago. Last week, Williams criticized the offense that Nets run, which involves a good amount of isolations, saying that Coach Sloan’s scheme, which involved more pick-and-rolls, was more effective for him when he was in Utah.
Regardless, the Nets are struggling. Since beating the New York Knicks on November 26, the Nets have gone 5-10, including two losses to New York.
Whoever is appointed the full time head coaching position in Brooklyn may want to get on the star PG’s good side; it’d be a good idea if he wants to keep his job.