Avery Johnson thanked everyone from the man who had him fired, Mikhail Prokhorov, down to the video guys at the Nets press conference Thursday, but you could tell he was unhappy and somewhat bitter about the way it was done.
"Knowing full well that we weren't finished, I thought we had a little bit more time," he said, admitting he didn't see it coming. "It’s a difficult time. It’s something I didn’t necessarily see coming, especially after our good November."
"Maybe ownership thought since he went 11-4 in the first month that we would go 11-4 every month..."
He noted Thursday is his wife's birthday. "It's not a great birthday gift." Still, he said he understood that while as coach, he may have the high profile role, it's not the most powerful role. "Being a coach is not always fair ... I'm not coach, president and owner ... I wouldn't have fired myself."
As for the meeting itself, Johnson said he was blindsided: "I really thought we were going to meet and talk about what was gonna start happening around Jan. 15 when we could make a couple of moves,” Johnson said. “I shared with him everyday kinda what I saw with the roster and I really thought that’s what we were gonna talking about.”
Like Billy King, Johnson asserted he had a good relationship with Deron Williams. "I don’t think it’s fair for anybody to hang this on Deron. He’s one player."
Bottom line for the coach who got to 100 wins faster than anyone in NBA history but has now been fired twice: "This is not the `fair' game. A lot of times it’s about the blame game ... It’s a difficult time. It’s something I didn’t necessarily see coming, especially after our good November."
Avery said he thinks Billy fought for him and his job but the decision came from the top. "This is ownership's decision. Fair or unfair, it doesn't matter. It's time for a new voice..." Still, "This is really a disappointing day for me and my family."
Based on tweets by Howard Beck, Rod Boone, Tim Bontemps, Stefan Bondy, Devin Kharpertian, Chris Mannix, David Aldridge, John Schuhmann, etc.
- Avery Johnson lets off steam in final presser - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game
- Avery Johnson shocked by firing as Nets head coach - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
In Final Nets Press Conference, Avery Hints That Lopez and Humphries May Be Traded - Moke Hamilton - SNY