My man, Mike Fisher, of dallasbasketball.com sure cuts up the Mavericks former head coach in this story.
I wonder how personal this one may be getting between Avery and owner Mark Cuban, who has big time say on what appears on dallasbasketball.com
Is Suns GM Steve Kerr’s slap-of-omission of Avery Johnson an accident, a slip of the tongue, a brain-cramping oversight?
Or is Kerr’s view fueled by his first-hand knowledge of one of the NBA’s worst-kept secrets — a tale lowlighted by bantam-rooster ego, harsh locker-room words, and finally, Naked Greco-Roman Wrestling — that could be a small part urban legend and a large part of The Lil’ General’s unfortunate legacy?
Quote from Kerr on Phoenix’ ongoing coaching search: “I’m in charge of hiring the right person. … What’s interesting is that there are no obvious candidates now. It’s not like there are really prominent former head coaches out there.’’
No “right persons”? “No obvious candidates”? No “prominent former head coaches out there”?
Yessir, that is interesting.
We were long ago tipped to one of the reasons Kerr might have that view of Avery as a coach non grata: Steve Nash has a voice in that organization, just as Dirk Nowitzki has a voice in Dallas. Nash and Nowitzki are best friends who listen to each others’ voices. So when Nash is pitching in by doing his due diligence on coaching candidates, and he calls Dirk to find out what went down in Dallas. … well, you get the picture.
And then there are X’s-and-O’s issues, and matters of “fit.’’
But there might be another reason.
According to the lore (and it seems most people inside the NBA know it, and chuckle about it), the year was 2000. Avery Johnson was a season removed from his finest moment, hitting that game-winning shot to help the Robinson/Duncan Spurs to a title. He will always get credit for being a vocal and inspirational leader of that team, but. …
“This is MY team! This is MY team!’’ Avery squawked as he marched through the visitors’ locker room in Cleveland wearing nothing but a towel and too much pride. “This is MY team!’’
Now I will back Fisher up on the Avery’s act getting old in San Antonio. I had Avery supporter and confidant tell me the same thing.
What is not written is why Cuban keeps having fallouts with head coaches who win 50-60 plus games a year for him. Now that story would be an interesting one to find out.