Either Mavs owner Mark Cuban takes the suggestions of Unfair Park (and everyone else with eyes) pretty damn seriously, or else Avery Johnson’s dismissal had become that obvious. Probably the latter. Whatever, just got the official release from the Mavs and, sure 'nuff, Avery’s gone. Says Mark Cuban in the release, which follows in full: “It is never easy to relieve a coach of his duties, especially one of Avery’s caliber. 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.”
MAVERICKS RELIEVE AVERY JOHNSON OF COACHING DUTIES
DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have relieved Avery Johnson of his coaching duties. Johnson became the eighth coach in Mavericks history on March 19, 2005. He collected a record of 194-70 (.735) during his tenure with a postseason record of 23-24 (.489).
“I would like to thank Avery for his valuable contributions to the Mavericks organization,” President of Basketball Operations/General Manager 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.”
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.
In 2006-07, Johnson led Dallas to a franchise-record 67 wins (67-15 overall) and the NBA’s best record. 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.”
OK, with Step 1 of salvaging this team accomplished, let’s move on. Like, who in the hell has a chance to salvage this team? Tough to say, because Cuban has never really hired a head coach from scratch, inheriting Don Nelson and then agreeing to let Avery take over when Nellie stepped down.
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But I’ll always remember shooting hoops with Cuban on his backyard hoop in 2000, asking him if he was going to fire Nelson and replace him with Rick Majerus.
“If you’re going to hire a guy like the one you have,” Cuban said, “why fire the guy in the first place?”
In other words, odds are the Mavs’ next coach will be an anti-Avery. A way premature, very unofficial ranking of the Top 20 candidates to be Avery’s successor:
Del Harris (Mavs consultant) Paul Westphal (Mavs assistant) Pat Riley (Heat president) Donnie Nelson (Mavs GM) Mike D’Antoni (Suns head coach) Jeff Van Gundy (ABC analyst) Mark Jackson (ABC analyst) Rick Carlisle (Former Pacers coach) Rick Majerus (Saint Louis University head coach) Bob Ortegal (Mavs radio analyst) Mark Cuban (Mavs owner) Charles Barkley (TNT analyst) Les Jackson-Brett Hull (Stars co-GMs) Dirk Nowitzki (Mavs All-Star) Ron Washington (Rangers manager, temporarily) Isaiah Thomas (Former Knicks head coach) Dick Motta (Mavs’ original head coach) Humble Billy Hayes (Mavs’ PA voice) Roy Tarpley (Amazing he’s still alive) Don Nelson (No effin’ way) --Richie Whitt