After five straight games on national TV two days ago, and 13 games Wednesday, there were just two games on a TNT Thursday. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a big day. In fact, it was a huge one, with superstars being fined and suspended, a coaching change and injury updates.
The honeymoon is over in Brooklyn as the Nets fired coach Avery Johnson. And, just as it did the last time there was a high-profile vacancy, Phil Jackson’s name is going to enter the conversation. But he won’t coach a cold-weather East Coast team, will he? Well, maybe. Charley Rosen tells us why. Check that out before you read further, there’s lots on Johnson in today’s blog, along with the latest NBA news.
- It seems like every day there’s something new about DeMarcus Cousins. In the last week, he’s been suspended indefinitely, brought back one game later, then not brought along on a road trip with the rest of the Kings. Now today, there’s this from Bryan May of KXTV in Sacramento, via his Twitter account: “DeMarcus Cousins body language & answers during short media interview certainly no indication he’s anything but bitter & angry.” … “Today would have been perfect time for DeMarcus Cousins to show some sort of remorse or take some sort of ownership of issues.He did neither” … “Cousins at first refused to speak to media after practice. Was told by management he had to so did come out & pouted the entire time.”
- The big news today is Johnson’s firing. Here’s Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski with another look at what led to the end of Johnson in Brooklyn: “Avery Johnson had this amazing ability to irritate everyone, a relentlessness of back-room politicking and angling that eventually costs him trust and contributes to costing him jobs. This is the reason that it took so long for a franchise to rehire him after the Dallas Mavericks fired him, and why it will likely take so long again. From the Eastern Conference’s Coach of the Month in November, Johnson didn’t make it until New Year’s Day. This was no power struggle with general manager Billy King, but it appeared to surprise Johnson once the franchise’s extension talks with the GM came before those with the coach, sources said. Johnson badly wanted a contract extension with the Nets, and the organization was unwilling to deliver it until he had taken this upgraded and expensive roster into the playoffs. In the end, there was a sense that Johnson had lost too much of this locker room – that the Nets had lost their way – and ownership and King came to a decision together to fire him on Thursday morning.”
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