|FILE - In this Dec. 11, 2012, file photo, Brooklyn Nets guard Deron Williams (8) and head coach Avery Johnson chat during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks at the Barclays Center in New York. Johnson was fired on Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012, general manager Billy King announced. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)|
Net loss: Brooklyn fires coach Avery Johnson
Some thought the Nets would finish as high as second in the East behind defending champion Miami, and the predictions seemed warranted when the Nets started quickly amid much fanfare. But all the good publicity faded in recent weeks once the losing started.
Williams, who has struggled this season, stirred the waters when he expressed his preference for the offense he ran under Jerry Sloan in Utah before a loss to the Jazz. Williams and Johnson, nicknamed ‘‘Brooklyn’s Backcourt’’ and expected to be one of the best in the NBA, have shot poorly and rarely meshed.
The Nets were embarrassed near the end of their 93-76 loss to Boston, when fans exited early amid a chant of ‘‘Let’s go Celtics!’’
‘‘Nets fans deserved better,’’ Yormark tweeted after the game. ‘‘The entire organization needs to work harder to find a solution. We will get there.’’
Not under Johnson, though.
The Nets should be able to entice a big-name coach with Prokhorov’s billions and the chance to play in a major market at Barclays Center, the $1 billion arena that has drawn praise in the city and from visiting teams.
Carlesimo has previous NBA head coaching experience in Portland, Golden State and Seattle/Oklahoma City. He has a career coaching record of 204-296 in the regular season and 3-9 in the playoffs.
‘‘Right now, P.J. is our coach and I told him to coach the team like he'll be here for the next 10 years,’’ King said.
AP Sports Writer Tom Canavan in East Rutherford and AP freelancer Jim Hague contributed to this report.