Despite his team’s recent struggles, Brooklyn Nets coach Avery Johnson says he’s not concerned about losing his job.
“Listen to this: at some point, after I signed on as a coach, when I signed on the dotted line, a couple of things are going to happen at some point: 1. I’m going to get fired, 2. I’m going to resign. 3. I’m going to get re-assigned,” Johnson told reporters after practice on Friday, according to the New York Daily News.
“One of those three things happens to every head coach in this league. As soon as you sign your name on that dotted line. And a lot of times, one of those three we know what’s going to happen because we’re in control. Two of those three we have no control over. So what we do is we continue to do our jobs. I think the best thing about jobs is when we have adversity, we have setbacks, as a coach we continue to lead with passion.
“... At the end of the day for every coach, one of those three things are going to happen. So right now, what I’m really concerned about is us playing good basketball. So until ownership tells me otherwise I’m going to continue to do my job.”
Johnson is in the final year of a three-year contract he signed in June of 2010. He has yet to receive an extension.
Johnson won Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for October and November after guiding the Nets to an 11-4 start, their best start in franchise history. But the Nets (13-12) have regressed significantly in December, going just 2-8. Things began going downhill when center Brook Lopez went down with a sprained right foot injury on Nov. 28 that caused him to miss seven games. The Nets went 2-5 during that span, and are 0-3 since his return to the lineup.
On Monday, point guard Deron Williams, who is having his worst season as a pro, told reporters that he feels uncomfortable in Johnson’s isolation-heavy system. Johnson said he wasn’t bothered by the comments. Williams later claimed he was just answering a question. Still, it is never a good sign for any coach when his star player isn’t happy.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Nets have already lost six games in which they’ve led by as many as 10 points. They have the worst first-half to second-half scoring drop off in the NBA (minus-7.1), according to ESPN Stats & Information. They rank last in the league in fastbreak points per game (8.8) and run 89.5 percent of their plays in the halfcourt. The Nets are currently 11th in offensive efficiency and tied for 18th in defensive efficiency.
The Nets spent $330 million as part of a massive roster overhaul this summer. This season, their payroll is among the tops in the league at $83.5 million.
“It’s fair. It’s fine,” Johnson said when asked about fan anger, according to Newsday. “If I wasn’t the coach and I was a fan of the Brooklyn Nets, I would feel the same way.”