Celtics' Rivers, Terry saddened by Nets' Johnson's firing

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Celtics' Rivers, Terry saddened by Nets' Johnson's firing

LOS ANGELES It didn't take long for the news of Avery Johnson being fired by the Brooklyn Nets to make its way out West.

"The Nets ownership would like to express thanks to Avery for his efforts and to wish him every success in the future," Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov said in a release on Thursday.

Two of Johnson's biggest supporters - Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers and C's guard Jason Terry - were both saddened and disappointed by the news.

"When I heard the news it was tough," said Terry who played for Johnson in Dallas. "I know he put his heart and soul into trying to make Brooklyn a winner. And I believe in his system to this day."

Rivers, a former teammate of Johnson's in San Antonio, understands all too well that this is part of the package that comes with being an NBA head coach.

"It's awful," Rivers said of Johnson's firing. "It's the business we're in. But it's a tough one. He's one of my best friends.

Rivers added, "it comes out of nowhere. Avery is a terrific coach, so who knows."

Brooklyn (14-14) has lost five of its last six which includes a Christmas Day defeat to the Celtics.

"Three weeks ago, they were playing as well as anybody," Rivers said. "The NBA is a league of ebbs and flows. That's just the way it is. You go on good streaks, you go on bad ones and you hope you right the ship and go back on a good one. I just thought that was awful quick to make a change."

Just last month, Johnson was the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month and the Nets were seen as a legitimate power in the East.

Today, Johnson's out of a job and the Nets are looking more and more like the downtrodden club from New Jersey that they have gone to great measures to distance themselves from with the move to Brooklyn.

While it's still too soon to predict where Johnson will wind up next, his head coaching record of 254-186 will likely land him another head coaching job eventually.

"He has one of the greatest systems I've ever played in," Terry said. "So I have the utmost respect for him. I know he'll be coaching again in this league soon, if he wants to."

After Johnson was fired by Dallas in 2008 when the Mavs failed to make it out of the first round of the playoffs for the second straight year, he spent 2008-2010 as a studio analyst for ESPNABC.

Belichick: Players don’t have time to be coaching each other

Belichick: Players don’t have time to be coaching each other

FOXBORO - It's been an ongoing conversation/fascination this summer. With Tom Brady's four-game suspension looming, how much knowledge, support and coaching was he going to give to Jimmy Garoppolo?

Bill Belichick was asked by Phil Perry on Thursday how much he expects from veteran players when it comes to coaching up teammates. 

The answer? Be an example, but let the coaches coach. 

"I think veteran players can be a good example for younger players in terms of their preparation, and their attitude, and their work ethic, and the way they go about things," said Belichick. "We have a lot of guys that I would put in that category that when you watch them do things they do them right and it’s easy to say to a younger player ‘Do what that guy does’, and you’d be off to a good start. 

"But you know, that being said, I think everybody on the team, really their number one focus is to get ready to play football. Our players aren’t coaches, they’re players, and they need to get ready to play, and as I said, I think every player needs to get ready to play. I don’t care how long you’ve been in the league, I don’t care what positon you play, I don’t care how long you’ve coached, I don’t care what position you coach. We haven’t done it for a long time, a number of months, and now we all need to sharpen those skills up. That’s every player, that’s every coach, so I don’t really think players have a lot of time to run around and be telling everybody else what to do."

The answer is not surprising. As much as the "Do Your Job" mantra is espoused in New England, to think Belichick or his mostly veteran staff of coaches would want players monkeying with the message is a little naive. Certainly, there are things players can impart to teammates who play the same position. Things coaches might not see from the sidelines or from upstairs. And Belichick's made a point of saying that in the past: there are things players on the field know and have experienced that the coaches may not be able to articulate as clearly. Junior Seau was a resource and touchstone for defensive teammates during his time in New England. 

But there's a difference between giving helpful pointers when they are sought or being a locker room sage and coaching. 

"Honestly, there is enough that all of them need to work on individually, and that would be every single player, that’s a full plate for them," added Belichick. "I don’t really think that’s their job, and I don’t think any player has enough time to do that because they all have things that they need to do to prepare for the season. But as far as being a good example and doing things right and all of that, I mean we have a lot of guys that fall into that category and that’s definitely a good thing. But, you know, that’s what they should be doing."

For two seasons and three offseasons, Garoppolo's had a chance to observe how Brady prepares, studies, interacts and leads. No doubt they've had countless conversations about the Patriots offensive philosophy and the throws and checks that need to be made in certain situations. But the job of actually coaching Garoppolo falls to Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. 

Any successes of failures Garoppolo has during the four weeks Brady is off campus will belong to him and his coaches. And that's how it should be. 

 

Curran: Tom Brady/Jimmy Garoppolo relationship isn't the same as Brady/Bledsoe

Curran: Tom Brady/Jimmy Garoppolo relationship isn't the same as Brady/Bledsoe

Tom E. Curran joins SNC to discuss Tom Brady issuing his support for Jimmy Garoppolo prior to the start of practice, and whether Brady sees his relationship with Jimmy the same as when he was the understudy of Bledsoe.