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

Celtics' Rivers, Terry saddened by Nets' Johnson's firing
December 27, 2012, 8:04 pm
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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.