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.
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.