AVERY JOHNSON FIRED BY NETS! P.J. CARLESIMO INTERIM HEAD COACH. REPLACEMENT AT LEAST DAYS AWAY

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets fired Avery Johnson as their head coach Thursday, feeling that the team had not performed at the level expected. The decision was made by the team's Russian ownership and relayed to Johnson Thursday by Billy King. Johnson went from Coach of the Month for November to being fired in December. The news comes after the team, 11-4 three weeks ago, dropped to 14-14 Wednesday night with a loss in Milwaukee.

P.J. Carlesimo, who has been head coach for the Trail Blazers, Warriors and Seattle Sonics/Oklahoma City Thunder will be step in until a new head coach is hired. That process could take days or weeks, according to a league source.

Mikhail Prokhorov said in a statement: "The Nets ownership would like to express thanks to Avery for his efforts and to wish him every success in the future."

The decision has been in the works for the past month, said one source, that the Russian ownership had been unhappy with team play since the season's earliest games. According to a second league source, Mikhail Prokhorov was "very disappointed" with the team's play when he watched three games, all losses, earlier this month. The decision was made by Prokhorov in conjunction with Dmitry Razumov, his No. 2. Razumov has been Prokhorov's contact point with the Nets basketball operations.

Ownership believed that the team's roster was among the NBA's top six or eight in terms of talent. Johnson is the second coach fired by Prokhorov since buying the team in 2010. He dumped Kiki Vandeweghe in May 2010, after the Nets. 12-70 season. Vandeweghe had hoped he would be kept on in another position but was not.

As for Johnson's replacement, the team is looking at several candidates, according to one of the sources who would not name any of them.

King will address reporters at 4 p.m. at the PNY Center in East Rutherford. Johnson is also expected to speak to reporters then.

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