Avery Johnson instructs his team during a game against the...

Avery Johnson instructs his team during a game against the Golden State Warriors. (Nov. 21, 2012) Credit: AP

When Brook Lopez checked his phone early Friday morning, he saw a text message from a familiar name.

Avery Johnson.

"It was great," Lopez told Newsday. "Coach, he's always been someone that I've looked up to and he's been huge for my development. So I still hear from him every now and then, and it made me very happy to see his text when I woke up this morning.

"He said he was out in New Orleans for the Super Bowl, so I was joking that he might run into Robin because Robin is going too. He told me to say hi to my mom, so it's great to be able to call him a friend."

Johnson wants to coach again and believes he'll get another shot in the NBA as soon as next season. He hadn't spoken publicly since the conclusion of his Dec. 27 news conference after the Nets fired him, but he broke his silence Friday.

The man who spent two-plus seasons with the Nets -- before Mikhail Prokhorov cut him loose with the Nets at 14-14 and not performing up to the owner's expectations -- still has that coaching itch.

Johnson left little doubt about his coaching intentions.

"To get back into it at some point," he said in an interview on ESPN's "SportsCenter." "But right now, I'm having a great time coaching my son and watching his game.I think I am having a great time working with him and watching his games [at Cooper High School in Texas]. I'm more nervous watching his games than I am when I'm coaching an NBA game. So that's been pretty neat, spending some time with him. But after this season is over, we'll take a look at it. My agent, we'll have some opportunities."

Johnson, who has compiled a 254-186 record in his five-plus seasons with Dallas and the Nets, said he texted back and forth with Lopez on Friday morning to congratulate him on being named a replacement reserve by commissioner David Stern. He's thrilled that the fifth-year center is headed to the All-Star Game for the first time.

"Really excited for Brook," said Johnson, whose alma mater, Southern University, is naming its basketball court after him in a ceremony Saturday in New Orleans. "He deserves it. He's such a great young man, strong character, but also, he's a terrific basketball player.

"From where we were with him a couple of years ago, to see the improvement he made each and every year, and now the coaching staff that I hired, to continue to see the work that they've done with him since I had left is just great."

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