The news out of Brooklyn this afternoon (via Adrian Wojnarowski's Twitter accountvia a multi-zillion dollar mansion in Moscow) is that the Nets have fired Avery Johnson.
Johnson becomes the second NBA coach to be fired this season (joining Mike Brown). He's also the second coach in three years whose firing has coincided with an unhappy Deron Williams (joining Jerry Sloan). In Johnson's absence, the Nets have named PJ Carliesimo the interim coach (all but eliminating any chance of them signing Latrell Sprewell), but like the Lakers did earlier this year, you can expect Brooklyn to do an extensive search for a more permanent head man and you can also expect to hear all the same names (Phil Jackson, Jerry Sloan, Mike Brown, Stan Van Gundy, Whoopi Goldberg) for a possible replacement.
So what does this mean for the Celtics? Well, one of their major rivals in the conference and (more importantly, for now) the division, is in flux. Even more so than they were during their recent stretch of mediocrity. With Johnson's firing, and the Sixers recent slide (although they have picked up two impressive wins recently against Memphis and Atlanta), the Celtics are suddenly the second most stable team in the Atlantic. And we'll see how the return of Amare Stoudemire and the loss of Raymond Felton affects the Knicks. Who knows? The Celtics might once again find themselves in the drivers seat and then mayb WOAH. OK, pump the brakes now. Let's not get ahead of ourselves. But let's take a moment and make note of the fact that the Celtics are suddenly trending upwards while the rest of the division's hit a speed bump.
We'll check back in after this west coast trip.