EAST RUTHERFORD, N .J. -- Avery Johnson insists he’s not concerned about possibly losing his job.
The Nets have dropped eight of their last 10 games, and the fans are starting to clamor for him to be fired given the team’s high expectations. But Johnson, who’s in the final year of a three-year deal, isn’t worried about his status, indicating the only thing he’s focused on is figuring out how the Nets can play better than their current 13-12 mark.
“Let me give you some real rocket science right now. Listen to this,” Johnson said Friday after the team’s first practice at their training facility since it was damaged by superstorm Sandy in October. “At some point after I signed on that dotted line, a couple of things are going to happen at some point.
"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 what we do is, we continue to do our jobs.
"I think the best thing about our jobs is when we have adversity or when we have setbacks as a coach, you continue to lead with passion. You know what guys you need to put your arms around, what guys you need to light a fire under. I think that’s what these times are all about. But at the end of the day every coach, one of those three things is going to happen.
“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 said he’s learned to better deal with the ebbs and flows of an 82-game campaign and is confident the Nets will turn it back around.
“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.”
He added: “Everything that’s said, people always talk about what’s fair and unfair. I think it’s all fair, whether it’s good bad or indifferent.”
That includes the chatter surrounding his job.
“Whether a player is player of the week, player of the month, coach of the month or the coach should be fired, whatever it is, it’s all fair,” he said. “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.”
GM Billy King addressed the team before practice, all with hopes of aiding the Nets get out of this swoon they’re in. Johnson installed some new offensive and defensive sets and also went over some of the old ones in Friday’s practice. The biggest thing he wants to see now is for his players to start trusting their teammates a little bit more.
“We haven’t trusted each other like we had early in the season and that’s a big part,” Johnson said. “On the wall, I used to have trust the system, trust your teammates and trust the coaches and a few other things scattered around the building. We’ve got to really get back to that. I thought there was a breakdown in trust, even during the course of the game. One guy doesn’t want to go and help because he doesn’t trust his teammate to get Tyson Chandler off the glass.
“Or one guy maybe going one-on-one because he doesn’t trust to pass it and move it to his teammate so he can make a play. So, I just think on both ends of the floor, I think that’s a big part of it and I don’t think I’ve talked about it enough with this team. I’ve talked about it my first two years here, and with other teams that I’ve had, and I’ll show them more and more that that’s a lack of trust.
"So we have to get back to trusting. I saw it a lot more early in the year.”