Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Avery Johnson dismissed as coach

Avery Johnson was dismissed as coach of the Dallas Mavericks the day after a disappointing season ended with a first-round playoff exit in New Orleans. Incredible highs and heartbreaking lows marked the tenure of Johnson, who leaves as the most successful coach in franchise history by many measures.

Johnson became the eighth coach in team history on March 19, 2005 and posted a record of 194-70 (.735) during the regular season. He led the Mavs to the playoffs four consecutive years, including a trip to the 2006 NBA Finals. His postseason record of 23-24 (.489) included 12 losses in the last 15 games.

“You’ve got to take the good with the bad,” Johnson said Tuesday night after the 99-94 loss to the Hornets that ended the series. “That is called life. There are a lot of highs and lows in coaching, but the highs outweigh the lows. The rewards outweigh anything.

“I’ve been through much worse. There are a lot of people in bad shape and I am not one of them.”

The search for the ninth coach in club history begins immediately. The next coach takes over a team that could be significantly different from the squad that suffered through an inconsistent 51-31 regular season that earned the seventh seed in the Western Conference.

The 15-man roster features eight potential free agents. Dirk Nowitzki remains the focal point, but the cast of characters surrounding the 2006-07 MVP is expected to undergo major change. Jason Kidd, Josh Howard, Jason Terry, Erick Dampier, Jerry Stackhouse and Brandon Bass are under contract, though Kidd can option out. Johnson’s staff – Paul Westphal, Joe Prunty and Mario Elie – currently remains under contract through next season.

In his first full season as head coach (2005-06), Johnson guided the Mavericks to 60 wins and their first appearance in the NBA Finals. He became the fastest coach to reach 50 wins (62 games), coached the Western Conference All-Star team and was named the NBA’s Coach of the Year.

Johnson led Dallas to a franchise-record 67 wins, the NBA’s best record, the following season. The mark was also the sixth best in league history. Following a 10-0 month of February, Johnson garnered Western Conference Coach of the Month honors, an award he won three times in his career.

This past season, Johnson became the fastest coach in NBA history to reach 150 wins with a victory over Memphis on November 17, 2007. He accomplished that feat in just 191 games.

“It is never easy to relieve a coach of his duties, especially one of Avery’s caliber,” owner Mark Cuban said. “He is a talented coach and I want to thank him for his efforts over the last four years and what he has done for this franchise. We wish him well in the future.”

The Mavs were the first head-coaching opportunity for Johnson, who played 16 years in the NBA before retiring before the 2004-05 season. He joined the staff of former coach Don Nelson and took the coaching reins 64 games into his first season on the bench.

“I would like to thank Avery for his valuable contributions to the Mavericks organization,” president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said. “Over the past four years, he has been an integral part of our team’s success. We wish AJ nothing but the very best in his future endeavors.”

21 comments:

Lizzy said...

Thanks for everything Avery!

Is there any way for us to watch or listen to the exit interviews, Art? I'm not from Texas.

Anonymous said...

Mark Cuban should just kill himself. He is the one effing up the team with his stupid personnel moves. I hate it when the organization makes stupid decisions--i.e, trading the whole damn team for an aging Jason Kidd--and then blames the coach because he can't exstinguish the fire.

Anonymous said...

why do we act so impulsive when personal sentiments are involved. Has Cuban forgotten how far Avery has brought the Mavs

Anonymous said...

What just happened here. Two seasons ago, Avery was the coach of the year. He has done alot for the Mavericks and I don't think its his fault that they have been put out of the 1st round twice. Last season, It was Dirk who didn't show up to the playoffs along with other players on the team and they played horrible defense. This year, the Mavericks was clearly the worst team. They barely made it to the playoffs in a very dominant western conference and thats just that period!!!

Anonymous said...

I thought Mark was a thinker, not a stinker. But, he has shown over and over that he is JUST a fan with a lot of money. He needs to back out of the basketball business side and do what he does best...making money!

Anonymous said...

I knew that Avery was set up i'm a huge fan of the Mavs, but i was really hurt to hear about Avery, when was the last time the mavs. went to the playoff? Well i just feel that Mark already had no fans for him so know it will be worst i love the mav even before Avery but this has really made me up set, It 's not Avery's faught that they played with no heart, beacuse in basketball no heart no game , but , To mark c. stop trying to be a coach and stay the owner, everything will go better but i'm sorry for the Mavs to loss Avery... Mark should just go some where,and find his self he's crazy.. just like people says he is DAMM!!! THAT REALLY MAKES ME mad.

dallasmavsfan said...

thanks mark cuban for fouling up the team!!

Anonymous said...

WOW. That was fast! Seems like an emotional impulsive decision coming this fast.
Here is the flip side of very hands-on ownership.
So maybe Cuban has a grand plan to blow the team up, get really bad for the next few years -- and this firing is just the first step.

Anonymous said...

Yet Another bad move by Mark Cuban, the problem with the Mavs is not the coaching staff it is "DIRK". Not only is he OVER RATED, come playoff time he always chokes.

Anonymous said...

You must not have been watching the last few games then, Anonymous #7. I thought Dirk was one of the few who was really playing hard in an attempt to avoid elimination.

And everyone keeps harping on "Dirk choked in the first round last year" when his FATHER was having MAJOR SURGERY around that time. Let's see how well you'd play if that happened to one of your parents, huh?

As for Avery, I'm still stunned. What happened in this series wasn't solely his fault and yet it seems as though he's having to take the fall for it. I, for one, will miss him very much sitting on the sidelines with the Mavs.

Anonymous said...

Given that I dislike most things Texan, I'm thrilled to see Mark C causing his organization to self destruct. Thanks, Mark. you have released a quality individual to the rest of the league where he can join a quality organization. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Coach avery has broought this team back from nothing. One man can only do so much. I really blame Mark Cuban for all the poor decision making (Jason Kidd trade). I really think that this team is just ganna go down hill from here.

Anonymous said...

I believe this is another foolish mistake by Mark Cuban. Can you screw up anymore. First the trade, now Avery. Your first huge mistake was giving up on Devon Harris as an aspiring upcoming talent. Mark had to be greedy and want it now, instead of building something great for the future. But look what always happens to greedy people. It's amazing you still have money, because the greedy always fall. Stay out of the coaching role and keep to doing what you do best??? It is definetly not making good decisions for the Mavericks.

MFFL said...

It's a good thing most of you don't own the Mavs!! This was the right move at the right time. AJ's micro-managing style was to the detriment of the organization and the players. He didn't bring out the best in them and that is a part of the job. It was long past time to move on. He had his chance, now let's see what someone else can do.

As for the Kidd trade, I was all for it when it was first disclosed and I'm maintain my position that it was a good trade. The team's stats are UP since he came to Dallas. Devin Harris wasn't progressing well. How long would you have wanted to wait to see if he would or even could become an All-Star? That too was a good move by the front office.

I eagerly await the decision on who will replace AJ. This should be interesting.

Anonymous said...

Professional sports are full of teams who don't win championships. Everyone wants to win, coaches want to win....but everyone can't win. One day people will understand firing a coach can't fix missed free throws...and when that coach is a QUALITY person who has taken a franchise and turned it around the right way that firing that person is not the answer. Wake up Mark, your beginning to act like another owner in town!

Anonymous said...

Wish there was a way to fire Cuban! Keep Avery -- fire Cuban. How great would that be!!

Anonymous said...

Mark Cuban get out! Out of the Mavs, out of town, out of the state, out, out, out....

Anonymous said...

Mavs needed to keep AJ and get rid of these SORRY BUMS:

CHOKE MAN DIRK
CHOKE MAN KIDD

Should have kept Devin Harris!!!

DIRK is a choke artist, just like last year!!!

deloware.com said...

Just an interesting fact for all who blame Dirk: if you consider the five categories Pts, Rebs, Asts, Stls and Blks over the five games of the series (that's 5 x 5 = 25 values), Dirk leads in 16 (!) of these... So Dirk is surely the wrong target.

Anonymous said...

Quit blaming Dirk! It's a team! Like Deloware pointed out Dirk showed up and did his share of the load in post season. Mavs wouldn't of even been in post season if he hadn't worked so hard to come back from a serious injury. I say hats off to BRANDON BASS! Him and Dirk showed HEART, it was soooooo obvious they wanted to win! So what if you make a trade for Kidd. The trade was not the mistake. The mistake was not utilizing his talents for what makes him great. Kidd has a lot to offer and can lead if he is allowed to shine at what he does best. Josh Howard is the one that deserves the CHOKE AWARD. Not Dirk, not Kidd. Howard is the second best player on the team, supposedly, where was he in post season???????

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