Johnson: "Yes, I Am Coming to New Jersey"

The Nets and Avery Johnson have reached a verbal agreement to hire Johnson as the team's new coach.

“We’re excited about it: We’ve come to a verbal agreement, and hopefully the Nets will have an official announcement tomorrow,” Johnson told ESPN, where he works as an analyst. “But yes, I am coming to New Jersey."

Specifically, Johnson told Hannah Storm that he was swayed by the "excitement" and "energy" generated by Mikhail Prokhorov, the presence of Rod Thorn "one of the best basketball minds in the business", the Nets' young roster, its surplus of cap space and stockpile of draft picks.  Asked if he could deliver on Prokhorov's promise of a championship in five years, Johnson responded, "Yes, that's why I took the job."

Multiple sources are reporting the deal is for three years.  Both Marc Stein of ESPN and Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! say Johnson's lawyers and the Nets and Johnson are exchanging contract proposals, that there is a verbal agreement.

ESPN reported that Johnson was the only coaching candidate who actually had a face-to-face conversation with Thorn.  Thorn's talks with Tom Thibodeau, who later agreed to coach the Bulls, were phone conversations, wrote Stein.

Writing initially on Twitter, Spears reported that Johnson will receive a three year deal.  Johnson's lawyers Jeremiah Hayled and Curry Cooksey, confirmed their client was in "negotiation phase" with the Nets on the job, according to Spears. Spears also reported Popeye Jones is likely to join the Nets staff as an assistant, while NBA.com's Art Garcia mentions Blazers assistant Joe Prunty. Earlier Wednesday, the Post's Fred Kerber broke the story that the two sides had been talking this week and that Johnson's representatives had left the New York area, presumably to meet with their client. 

Meanwhile, Al Iannazzone reports that Rod Thorn's extension could also be completed as early as next week.

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