The Avery Johnson Links

There are a lot of coaches in the NBA worse than Avery Johnson, and the only reason the decision to move on without Avery makes me nervous is because things certainly could have been worse during his two and a half years.  Nerves aside, this had to happen.  And I think Avery probably wanted it to happen too.  Management and the players clearly had some issue with Avery the coach, and Avery clearly had some issues with some of his players and Cuban. 

I like Avery, but all good things come to an end.  And this came to and well before Dallas was knocked out of the playoffs.  Mike Fisher basically ripped into Avery today, and reeled off a laundry list of issues that had sprung up over the last year.  They include (and I'm paraphrasing)

- Avery felt he no longer needed Dell Harris as an assistant
- Avery snapping at assistant Joe Prunty in the huddle for correcting him on a play call
- Avery picking favorite players based on who stood up to his yelling
- Avery pissing off vets by saying the team didn't have a leader
- Avery giving Paul Westphal no control over the offense
- Avery's habit of blaming players when things went wrong
- Avery's attempted "re-wiring" of Dirk and Kidd
- Avery controlling how assistants do their job and what they can say to players
- Canceling practice over Howard's party.

There was more too, and I don't agree with Fisher on all of it.  But if some of that stuff is true (like all the stuff with the assistant coaches) then I actually wish Avery had been fired before yesterday.

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Avery Johnson says things have ended peacefully.

"This was something that needed to happen. It happened. We're all going to go our separate ways. There's no animosity, no bitterness, nothing. We all still really care about each other. It was just time to go in a different direction."

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Sort of buried at the end of Caplan's article about Avery were some quotes that really seemed to indicate that the players weren't too happy with the style of basketball they were playing.

“I can’t speak for him, but what player wouldn’t be frustrated if you’re not able to do what you’ve been able to do your whole career?” said Antoine Wright, Kidd’s teammate the past three seasons.

“We probably could have opened it up a little more, had a little more free flow, let Jason create and not just make him a weak-side, spot-up shooter,” Nowitzki said. “But Avery had us believing in the system and that’s the way he thought we could be the most efficient.”

Wow, that didn't take long......

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Avery was on Galloway's show yesterday (listen here ), and one of his comments has been getting a lot of attention.

First of all, I think it would be an injustice to Mark Cuban, Donnie Nelson, Keith Grant, and everybody in that organization  ... it would be an injustice to Jason Kidd, my son Devin Harris -- who is like a son to me -- I don't want to drag their names through any mudslinging. Whatever happened, it happened, and now we just all have to move forward.

So is Avery trying to cover his tracks here?  It seemed pretty obvious that Avery didn't completely trust Devin, but it looked that way with Kidd too.  Is it possible the Kidd trade was force down his throat?

We'll probably never know the answer to that question.

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Mavs.com has the exit interviews with some of the players available for DL. Obviously there is Avery talk.

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Tim Cowlishaw writes that it will take a lot more than a new coach to get things right.

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Congratulations to FireAvery.com.  Not sure their t-shirts are going to be a hot seller now...

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Randy Galloway, friend of Avery, says Avery had to go -- for his own good.

Avery is a good head coach, with a chance to be great. He will learn from this experience, learn from his stubborn, hard-butt ways. The first time around for any head coach is always an educational process, and he will be better the second time, which will come by next season, if Johnson decides to jump right back in with a new team.

Speaking of  Avery's next team,  the Bulls are the first team reported to be interested.

The Bulls definitely have interest in Johnson for their coaching vacancy and he more than likely is their top target. So far, Rick Carlisle and Mark Jackson are the only candidates to have formal interviews with general manager John Paxson.

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David Moore doesn't think Avery underachieved the last two postseasons, but says Dallas just wasn't good enough.  This year I agree, but last year....

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What does Dirk want in the next coach?  A whole new offense.

"Obviously we've got to bring a coach in that brings the best out of what he's got here," Nowitzki said. "Open up the offense, have a lot more running...

Of course, Dirk is smart enough to realize that what is here now might not be here next year.

"To me, the way we [played], nobody should be safe. All the players should be worried."

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Sefko lists some of the possible replacements.  At this point, I don't have guess or an opinion.  Not Mario Elie though, not when there are other more qualified internal candidates.

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This Day in Mavs History

2006 In the first round of the playoffs, Dallas defeated Memphis
102-76 to take the series 4-0 and advance to the second round.
It was second time Dallas had swept a series and the first time
Dallas had swept a 7-game series.

Good times...

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