In the 'where there is smoke there is fire' category, you can probably now officially put Avery Johnson on the hot seat as coach of the Brooklyn Nets.
During a chat Wednesday afternoon, ESPN Insider Chad Ford said Johnson will be the next NBA coach fired, following former Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike Brown, if the Nets don't get their ship righted:
He'll be the next to go if things don't improve. The Nets are stuck with this roster. They don't have any real flexibility to make deals. So ... coach will be the one to go. Van Gundy is a great choice, but you may be right. I think the Nets still hold out some hope that Dwight Howard will find a way to get there. If he does, Van Gundy can't be the one waiting for him.
There have, of course, been reports that Nets star Deron Williams is unhappy with the team's offense, and that isn't good news for the head coach. Here was SB Nation New York's Ryan Jones earlier today:
No one has forgotten how things ended with Williams and Utah, with the point guard being blamed (rightfully or not) for an all-time great coach in Jerry Sloan abruptly retiring. For all the improvements Johnson has made as a head coach, he's not -- and never will be -- Sloan, so if Williams and the Nets continue to struggle, a coaching change will come sooner than later.
All of this comes with the territory for the new Nets, in their first year at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn after a mostly lifeless tenure in New Jersey. Increased attention, increased excitement and increased expectations. There was a time not long ago when a 13-11 record, which is what the Nets own at the moment, would have been considered fantastic. Now, though, it's not good enough. And if it doesn't get better we know the coach always pays.