Josh Newman, SNYNets.com
After an 11-4 start to the season with a revamped roster, Avery Johnson has apparently worn out his welcome with a 3-10 showing in December and was fired as head coach of the Nets, the team announced on Thursday afternoon.
The firing comes as something of a surprise with only 28 games to show for himself with a brand new roster, which owner Mikhail Prokhorov spent $330 million in the offseason on.
Johnson was 60-116 in two-plus seasons as head coach. That mark included 46-102 in two lame duck seasons in Newark as the team prepared for the move to Brooklyn.
“The Nets ownership would like to express thanks to Avery for his efforts and to wish him every success in the future,” Prokhorov said in a statement released by the team.
Assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo has been named interim head coach while a permanent replacement is sought. Carlisemo is 204-296 as an NBA head coach.
After Prokhorov’s spending spree over the summer, the Nets opened the brand new Barclays Center in Brooklyn with a competitive, contending team that went 11-4 in November, leading to Johnson being named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month.
Brook Lopez sprained his right foot on Nov. 28, missed seven games as a result and the team hasn’t been the same since. The Nets’ defensive numbers are down this month, one in which Deron Williams publicly said he wasn’t comfortable in Johnson’s flex offense. Johnson tinkered with the lineup and the offense itself in an effort to right the ship, but nothing had worked to this point.
A low point came this week when the Nets looked lost in back-to-back defeats to the Boston Celtics on national television on Tuesday, 93-76, and the Milwaukee Bucks, 108-93, on Wednesday.
After the Bucks game, the normally reserved Gerald Wallace told reporters, “We are a way better team than what our record is, how we’re playing. It seems like guys are content with the situation that we are in and I’m f—— pissed off about us losing, especially losing the way we are losing.”
The Nets currently sit at 14-14 overall, good for eighth in the Eastern Conference. They are home for the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday. Those two games will cap a string of four games in five nights.
Josh Newman is SNYNets.com’s Field Reporter. Follow him on Twitter for up to the minute news and banter on all things related to the Brooklyn Nets and the NBA