New Jersey Nets bench boss Avery Johnson is truly a reporter’s dream; he is a man who shoots from the hip and says what is on his mind as opposed to some of his brethren that reveal very little in most interviews with the media. That same quality that endears him to reporters can sometimes get him into trouble with his employers; as his comments about Nets starting point guard Deron Williams may have done earlier this week. Now Johnson is engaging in “Spin Control” trying to claim that the media took his words out of context.
“ESPN.com” reported on Monday that the New Jersey head coach spoke to reporters about the speculation that Dallas Mavericks Team Owner Mark Cuban would put on a hard-press this summer to convince D-Will to sign with his team once he becomes a Free Agent at the end of this season. Johnson told reporters “He’s a threat, OK? I know the guy. I think because of the success he’s had; and I know he got criticized a lot for quote-unquote having all those years where he didn’t win a championship; but he’s had some great success here that rivals any situation. So that’s a threat. For us, we don’t make any assumptions until we get Deron signed on the dotted line. The main thing is we keep doing what we’re doing.”
Johnson also said that Williams has contributed greatly during this transition year as the Nets will move to Brooklyn next season. The Nets head coach told media members ” Deron’s been a major part of what we’re doing behind the scenes. He’s been a major part of what we’re doing with the new Barclays Center, so we’re saying he’s doing all of that with the intent that he’s going to remain with us in the future.”
Given that Williams’ home for next season has been a continuing storyline throughout this NBA campaign, the media jumped on Johnson’s comments as his statements made headlines throughout the nation. The New Jersey coach must have gotten some major heat from his front office; as on Tuesday according to “ESPN.com” he engaged in that old NBA standby; when all else fails blame the media.
Johnson speaking to reporters before his team defeated the Mavericks on Tuesday, he said to reporters “Somebody kind of got it twisted where the focus was more on the ‘threat’ and saying that I said that I think he’s going to Dallas. Which I never said. Never said that. But I said I believe he has every intention to re-sign with us because he’s involved with what we’re doing at the Barclays Center. He spends a lot of time with us behind the scenes. I can go on and on. His brother’s going to be going to prep school in our area. So I think because of that I said he has every intention to re-sign with us.”
The Nets head coach has been around long enough; both as a player and a coach that he should have realized how his statements would be received. However, instead of thinking things through before he spoke the first time, now he is putting the blame on the messenger instead of the message.
Unless New Jersey is able to acquire quality players such as Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, Williams will sign with another team for next season; whether it be with the Mavericks or another team that he thinks could win a title. Reporters who cover the Association, as well as the fans did not need Avery Johnson’s statement on Monday to determine that.