Archive for April, 2008

The National Media Weighs In On Avery’s Firing

Chris Mannix of Si.com says:

For the second time in as many seasons, Cuban watched his $105.3 million investment exit the playoffs with barely a whimper. Last season it was the fast-breaking Golden State Warriors who sent Dallas packing, dismissing the top-seeded Mavs in six games. It only took five games this season for a young New Orleans Hornets team to bounce Dallas, leaving Cuban seething on the sidelines and in search of a fall guy.

Johnson was it.

Gregg Doyel of sportsline.com says Mark Cuban is insane:

But firing Avery Johnson was a stupid knee-jerk reaction to a problem that wasn’t of Johnson’s creation. Unless it turns out that Johnson was the primary force behind the season-killing trade of Devin Harris for Jason Kidd, he just took the fall for the Dallas front office, which thought older-and-slower was the best way to win the wicked West. New Orleans’ Chris Paul blew a hole in that theory, running circles around decrepit Kidd, and Avery Johnson is the one who pays with a pink slip?

Mark Cuban Speaks About Avery’s Firing

MAVERICKS RELIEVE AVERY JOHNSON OF COACHING DUTIES

DALLAS— The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have relieved Avery Johnson of his coaching duties. Johnson became the eighth coach in Mavericks history on March 19, 2005. He collected a record of 194-70 (.735) during his tenure with a postseason record of 23-24 (.489).

I would like to thank Avery for his valuable contributions to the Mavericks organization,” President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Donnie Nelson said.Over the past four years, he has been an integral part of our team’s success. We wish AJ nothing but the very best in his future endeavors.

In his first full season as head coach (2005-06), Johnson guided the Mavericks to 60 wins and their first appearance in the NBA Finals. He became the fastest coach to reach 50 wins (62 games), coached the Western Conference All-Star team and was named the NBA’s Coach of the Year.

In 2006-07, Johnson led Dallas to a franchise-record 67 wins (67-15 overall) and the NBA’s best record. The mark was also the sixth best in league history. Following a 10-0 month of February, Johnson garnered Western Conference Coach of the Month honors, an award he won three times in his career.

This past season, Johnson became the fastest coach in NBA history to reach 150 wins with a victory over Memphis on November 17, 2007. He accomplished that feat in just 191 games.

“It is never easy to relieve a coach of his duties, especially one of Avery’s caliber,” Owner Mark Cuban said. “He is a talented coach and I want to thank him for his efforts over the last four years and what he has done for this franchise. We wish him well in the future.”

 

Hear Avery Johnson’s 1st Interview

The first interview from former Mavs head coach Avery Johnson came on Galloway & Company today in the 3PM hour on my old station ESPN 103.3 FM.

AJ says, “No animosity. No bitterness. It’s time to go in a different direction.”

Click here for the podcast.

newy@newdawg.com

I Just Talked To Avery Johnson

The Mavs coach was on his way home to the Woodlands when we spoke by phone. 

Avery Jr. was taken off on a stretcher.  He was playing football at school and got hurt.   He wanted to check in on his kid.  That is more important than having a press conference with the DFW media.

He will meet with the media tommorrow at 11am.

Avery was not mad.  “It’s time,” he said without any anger in his voice.    The 2006 NBA Coach of the Year will walkaway with over 12 million in pay.  Mavs owner Mark Cuban has to pay a lot of money to make him go away.

Johnson told me he did not want to make it battle of words with Cuban.  He said he wasn’t angry.  He will be interested to see what the next coach does.

Avery didn’t say it, but I know him and his pride says this, “See how good the Mavs are without me.  Let’s see if the next coach will win 60, 67, and 51 wins and make the NBA Finals.”

Avery Johnson did not want to trade Devin Harris for Jason Kidd.   He didn’t say it, but he said “Devin was like a son to me.  He’s my second son.”  

Read the tea leaves…this was a move Dirk Nowitzki wanted.  It was a move Mark Cuban wanted and Avery played the good solider.

Avery wants to leave things on a high note but he needed to leave.  He said it was time to go.  I know his message got stale in the Mavs locker room.   He’s not the first coach to have that happen.  Pat Riley lost his job with the Lakers in the same fashion.  

We’ve seen it go down in Dallas-Fort Worth before, remember Buck Showalter of the Texas Rangers?

“Control freaks” are what we call them.

Avery will get another job.  He will be fine. 

newy@newdawg.com

Avery Johnson and Mavericks Part Ways

After a second straight 1st round playoff exist.  Avery Johnson has been fired as the Mavs head coach.

Marc Stein of espn.com broke the story.

Mike Fisher of dallasbasketball.com has his take on how things got so bad in Mavsland.  And man he goes off. Read the rest right here.

 newy@newdawg.com

There Is A FireAvery.com Website

Didn’t know it existed until tonight.  www.fireavery.com.   

It got started Februrary 29th of this year.  So much for Avery being the only coach to take this franchise to the NBA Finals.   

The guy who runs it gave me his take on what he wants to see in the next coach if Avery is replaced:

As for who I think should be the next coach, it needs to be someone that is in no way, or has been, associated with Nellie/Avery/Cuban before.

Just new blood. Right now I think Rick Carlisle would be a good option.  That’s assuming he doesn’t take the job with the Bulls of course.

ESPN Rountable Breaks Down Mavs Future & Avery’s

Great stuff on espn.com about the Mavericks future.  Of course the future of the coach is debated:

2. Will Mark Cuban fire Avery Johnson? Should he?

Abbott: The Dallas media sure seem to think he will! I have no special insight. But I’ll say this: There seems to be a troubling lack of trust between that city and that team. It is one of the best teams in the NBA, yet there is a tremendous amount of second-guessing going on. Also, if Johnson is fired, won’t Cuban owe an apology to the guy who runs FireAvery.com?

Avery Johnson

Layne Murdoch/Getty Images

It was only just two years ago Avery Johnson was in the Finals.

Adande: Mark Cuban rarely follows popular opinion. But in this case his decision should match the public’s. As much as they’ve been at odds this season, they can’t have this issue hanging over their heads next year, when every three-game losing streak will bring questions about Johnson’s future.

Broussard: My guess, based on what sources say, is that he will get fired. Avery’s a great young coach and he’ll get another job quickly, but the Mavs need a fresh voice and a fresh start. And you know what they say: You can’t fire the players.

Bucher: Rumors abound that he will. Should he? No. As much as I believe Avery was crowned a master coach far too fast, he, too, deserves a full summer and training camp to demonstrate he can make the most of what he has.

Ford: No, I don’t think Cuban will fire him. I think it’s difficult for Mark to admit to mistakes, and he’s made several with Johnson. Should he fire him? Yes. Johnson never really let the reins loose on Kidd and he never got really comfortable with the team. Johnson was a good point guard in the NBA — but Kidd has been much better.

Hollinger: I’d bet on it, which is shocking given his record. I’m not sure the players are responding to him the way they used to, but the Kidd trade also makes him a victim of circumstance — the Mavs have played every other card, so the only option left is changing coaches and seeing if the new guy can do better.

Legler: Avery Johnson is one of the best coaches in the NBA. Period. Before Mark Cuban considers firing him he should ask himself who could improve their chances of winning a title. This team competes. They respond to Avery and they are well prepared. The problem lies in their personnel and their mental toughness. The guy is a top-tier coach. End of story.

Sheridan: It stands to reason that he will, because there’s usually a fall guy when a team has slid as far as the Mavs have in the past two years. But I also wonder whether Cuban has had enough of the NBA and will look to get out. Remember, he almost sold the team two summers ago.

Stein: Avery is definitely out. Can’t blame him exclusively for the New Orleans series but this has been building for months. Coach and the owner don’t have the same relationship they once had and the authoritarian intensity that was such a successful contrast to Don Nelson’s style early in the Avery Era is too easily tuned out now. Throw in the scars that linger from the playoff losses to Miami and Golden State and it’s clearly time for a change.