DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks fired coach Avery Johnson on Wednesday, the first of what's likely to be many offseason moves after the league's highest payroll produced a second straight first-round knockout from the playoffs.
ESPN.com's Marc Stein first reported the news of Johnson's ouster.
NBA front offices sources told ESPN.com that both the Mavs and Johnson, feeling that a coaching change was inevitable, wanted to come to a resolution quickly so Dallas could begin interviewing other candidates and Johnson could pursue another job.
Johnson leaves with an impressive resume after three-plus seasons, but Mavs owner Mark Cuban couldn't tolerate a bottom line of being 3-12 in the playoffs since blowing a 2-0 lead in the 2006 NBA Finals.
The Mavericks followed that disappointment by the embarrassment of being ousted by Golden State in the opening round last season in one of the biggest upsets in league history. They were just dumped in five games by Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets. Dallas didn't win a single road game against the Heat, Warriors or Hornets, an 0-9 skid that was too much to overcome.
The final slate on Johnson's tenure: 194-70 in the regular season, 23-24 in the playoffs.
I still think it's unfair to blame Johnson for what's happened. The Mavs' season went south once the Jason Kidd trade happened and that isn't a result of anything Johnson's done.
Either way, he won't be out of work for long. I think I hear New Jersey or New York calling.
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Originally posted by It's FalseThe Mavs' season went south once the Jason Kidd trade happened Dirk Nowitzki got hurt and that isn't a result of anything Johnson's done.
Fixed. I don't really think the Mavs have suffered in comparison with Kidd's presence, or the lack of the presence of the players they gave up to get him. Dirk getting hurt, however, completely messed with their chemistry and cost them badly needed wins that would have gotten them a better playoff matchup than the Hornets (which aren't all that different from the Warriors, the team that knocked the Mavs out last year).
Regardless, though, I agree that Johnson wasn't to blame and that firing him is a short-sighted decision that Cuban will probably regret in a year or two, given that Dallas's championship window has probably now closed for the short-term at least.
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I hate to see Avery go because he's sharp,knows basketball and is pure class. But, I think the team tuned him out, and he is a bad fit with Kidd. Kidd likes more freedom and Avery is very controlling, especially of the PG. Still, the biggest problem with the team is knuckleheads like Dampier and Josh Howard. They get paid big bucks, are supposed to be big contributors, but have the combined IQ(basketball or mental) of a small cucumber. Hopefully he can land someplace for which he's a better fit and have a great deal of success there.
Also, Kidd was a disappointment. He can still dish but can't finish at the rim anymore and has lost (at least) a step on defense. He's still pretty good but is no longer elite. Stackhouse is washed up and also has a bit of the dumb ass in him as well.
In sort, it's time to retool. And, if they turn over the roster, then it probably would have been a mistake to fire Avery. But, if they can't convince other teams to take on the albatrosses on the roster, then I'd just as soon Avery land in a better situation. The team just seems dysfunctional.
I hope that by retiring from basketball, he's able to get some semblance of his health back. From all accounts he's a nice guy, and will unfortunately probably go down as one of the biggest "what-if?" stories in the NBA.