Nets coach Avery Johnson not rattled by skid
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- As his team tries to right itself after dropping eight of its last 10 games, Avery Johnson isn't showing any signs of a coach who might be feeling the heat.
At the tail end of a week in which star point guard Deron Williams said the system he ran in Utah better suits his style of play and the Nets dropped two more games -- blowing a 13-point second-half lead in one of them -- Johnson insisted he's not the least bit worried about his job status. He's in the final season of a three-year deal but isn't sweating it.
"A couple of things are going to happen at some point," Johnson said Friday after the Nets' first practice at their training facility since it was damaged by superstorm Sandy. "One, I'm going to get fired. Two, I'm going to resign. Three, I'm going to get re-signed. One of those three things happens to every coach in this league as soon as you sign your name on that dotted line.
"So right now, what I'm really, really concerned about is us playing good basketball. Until ownership tells me something otherwise, I'm going to continue to do my job."
Johnson's job security has become a hot topic lately. The Nets declined to comment on an Internet report that surfaced Friday that indicated that some members of the team's front office want to cut ties with Johnson if things don't turn around soon.
Johnson has compiled a 59-114 record with the Nets, who spent the previous two seasons ripping up their roster, preparing for their inaugural Brooklyn campaign. They got off to an 11-4 start this season.
"We had a pretty good November and I was coach of the month," he said. "Then we lose a game, then I'm a terrible coach. The players are bad and we've got bad chemistry. So I just think it's a product of the cycle of a season."
Johnson did point a finger at himself for the Nets' disorganization when the clock ticks down toward zero. "Now that's really on me," he said, "because I have to make sure that we stay organized at the end of quarters because we are poor at closing quarters."
Johnson also didn't take umbrage with the fans' wrath.
"It's fair. It's fine," he said. "If I wasn't the coach and I was a fan of the Brooklyn Nets, I would feel the same way . . . It's a part of it. That's what we signed up for . . . It's all fair ground because it's better to be in this situation where you are 11-4, lose a few games and then there's an uproar and people wondering."
In other words, those days of irrelevance in the Jersey swamps are over. Even general manager Billy King spoke to the team before practice.
"We're in New York," Joe Johnson said, "and we have all the pieces we need to be big and there's no reason we should be sitting at 13-12. There's no reason for that. So it is mind-boggling, and I'm sure we'll get us a streak together where we win 10, 11, 12 in a row."