Per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Nets elected fire Johnson after the team got off to a 14-14 start.
The Brooklyn Nets have fired coach Avery Johnson, league source tells Yahoo! Sports.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) December 27, 2012
As I’ve been saying for nearly 24 hours, this does not come as that big of a shock. After beginning the season 11-4, Brooklyn has lost 10 of its last 13 and nearly fallen out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
Knowing this, was it time for a change?
Perhaps. Deron Williams wasn’t exactly thrilled with Johnson’s isolation-heavy offense, after all. That said, there’s no telling if this was the right move until the dust settles, the Nets hire a new coach and we see how the team fares.
But what if this was the wrong move? Given all that has happened in Brooklyn this season, it’s rather easy to fathom this move going awry as well. So, what then?
Well, if the Nets struggle in any way, shape or form from hereon out, I’d be packing my bags if I were King.
Well, for starters, he reportedly fought to help Johnson keep his job, only to be trumped by owner Mikhail Prokhorov.
Avery said he thinks Billy fought for him and his job but the decision came from the top.
— Rod Boone (@rodboone) December 27, 2012
Truth be told, going against ownership is never a good thing. Now it’s written in stone that King wanted Johnson to stick around. Even if the Nets wind up somehow winning the East, that notion alone doesn’t exactly bode well for King.
It also doesn’t bode well that he was so up front and forthcoming about it. According to Dave D’Alessandro of the Star-Ledger, King reiterated multiple times that the firing was “ownership’s decision”:
The Nets were careful in putting only Mikhail Prokhorov’s name on the news release announcing Johnson’s firing, ostensibly because a fellow who had been to five games and one practice has the necessary grasp of all this team’s problems.
King said a few times that “it was ownership’s decision” and that it was made “exclusive of talking to any player,” but soon you’ll read elsewhere that Avery was incorrigible and that this was the GM’s call — compelled by a desperation to turn this season around because his neck is now on the line, and by a need to show some authority leading a franchise drowning in its own hubris.
Make no mistake, Johnson won’t be portrayed “incorrigible.” Not after the press conference he gave. And King isn’t gong to turn on him either. That’s not King’s style.
King is officially on the hot seat. We can point the finger at Prokhorov all we want, but he answer’s to no one. Not even Jay-Z. He can make the tough decisions, he can make the unpopular decisions because his rule is absolute; his decision is the popular decision.
Just like it was here. He—and perhaps some of the players—wanted Johnson gone, so here we sit. Where will we sit if this sudden change of course doesn’t pan out?
I can’t speak for everyone else, but it’s more than safe to believe that if this move backfires, if this roster continues to lose, King will be sitting alongside Johnson—on the unemployment line.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.