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Nets fire Avery Johnson

The Brooklyn Nets fired head coach Avery Johnson on Thursday.

General Manager Billy King initially made the announcement in a press release and said a "search for a new head coach will begin immediately."

P.J. Carlesimo, an assistant coach under Johnson, will take over on an interim basis.

"P.J.'s our coach," said King during Thursday's press conference. "Right now, we're going to give all our support to P.J. and see where it goes from there."

The Nets are mired in an awful run during the month of December. They are 3-10 this month after a humiliating 17-point home loss to the Boston Celtics on Christmas Day and a 15-point road loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.

"Watching us play, we just didn't have the same fire that we had at 11-4," said King. "You lose by 17 to the Celtics, the Knicks and Milwaukee like we did, it was a pattern. Guys played or didn't play."

When asked about the expectations of the team, King said he thinks the club can do better.

"Are we as good as 11-4? I'm not sure; as bad as 14-14, not sure. But I think we can be a better team than we have been."

After the loss to the Celtics, Nets Chief Executive Brett Yormark tweeted: "Nets fans deserved better today. The entire organization needs to work harder to find the solution. We will get there."

Getting there apparently meant without Johnson at the helm.

Johnson, who was actually named the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for the month of November, also appeared to have trouble brewing with star point guard Deron Williams.

Williams is having his statistically-worst season since his rookie year and criticized Johnson's offense, however, King denied the notion that the move was made based on Williams' play.

"At the end of the day, this was a decision made exclusive without talking to any player," said King.

Recently, Williams compared the Nets' offense unfavorably to his best seasons in Utah under the tutelage of Jerry Sloan.

"That system was a great system for my style of play," Williams said of the offense run by Sloan. "I'm a system player. I love coach Sloan's system. I loved the offense there."

Williams was then asked to compare the Sloan offense versus the Johnson offense.

"Is it as good as there? No," he said. "There's just more one-on-one and isos (isolations)."

Battling with the star player notwithstanding, Johnson went 60-116 in two- plus seasons as the Nets head coach. He endured two trying seasons when the Nets were in transition, both on the court and in ownership.

"It's a difficult time," said Johnson on Thursday. "It's something I didn't necessarily see coming, especially after our good November."

King made a huge play for Dwight Howard in the offseason. He traded for All- Star Joe Johnson to join Williams in the backcourt, and when Howard waited too long, King re-signed his own players. He brought back Brook Lopez, the team's leading scorer, and Kris Humphries, who recently fell out of Johnson's rotation.

"The Nets ownership would like to express thanks to Avery for his efforts and to wish him every success in the future," said Brooklyn Nets principal owner Mikhail Prokhorov.

Johnson was also the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks and was named the NBA's Coach of the Year for the 2006-07 season. It was after that season the Mavs were upset by the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs as the No. 1 seed.

Dallas was ousted again in the first round the next season, and Johnson was relieved of his duties.