Avery Johnson never saw it coming. But just 24 days after he was named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for November, Johnson was fired by the Brooklyn Nets. Assistant P.J. Carlisemo was named interim head coach, and will retain the rest of Johnson's staff. A search for a new head coach will begin immediately.
"I just got a sense, as I told Avery this morning, that he just wasn't reaching them anymore," general manager Billy King said Thursday afternoon, adding that ownership the had final say.
"The Nets' ownership would like to express thanks to Avery for his efforts and to wish him every success in the future," owner Mikhail Prokhorov said.
The Nets (14-14) won 11 of their first 15 games en route to their best start in franchise history, but have gone just 3-10 in December, which prompted Brooklyn's brass to make a change. One NBA coaching source told ESPN.com the Nets will start a broad search for Johnson's replacement, including a call to gauge Phil Jackson's interest.
Around the Association
Heat • Miami guard Dwyane Wade has been suspended one game without pay by the NBA for flailing his leg and making contact with the groin of the Charlotte Bobcats' Ramon Sessions. The incident happened with 8:12 left in the fourth quarter of the Heat's 105-92 victory over the Bobcats on Wednesday night. Sessions was called for a foul on the play.
Lakers • Los Angeles center Dwight Howard was fined $35,000 by the NBA for a flagrant foul against Denver's Kenneth Faried. Howard was ejected with 5:02 left in the third quarter of the Lakers' 126-114 loss to the Nuggets on Wednesday night. He was called for a flagrant foul 2 when he jammed his hand in Faried's face as the Denver forward drove the lane.
Knicks • New York point guard Raymond Felton said Wednesday night that he expects to miss four to six weeks with a fractured finger. Felton broke his right pinkie finger in the third quarter of the Knicks' loss to the Lakers on Christmas Day when he and Steve Nash dived for a loose ball.