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Nets Avery Johnson, Brook Lopez having some issues

Jan 13, 2011, 12:59 PM EDT

New Jersey Nets v Atlanta Hawks Getty Images

A couple of days ago, when asked if he dreamed of coaching someone like Carmelo Anthony, Nets coach Avery Johnson had a snappy comeback:

“No. I dream of our center getting 10 rebounds.”

Wednesday night, in the fourth quarter of a close battle with the Phoenix Suns, the Nets ran few plays for Lopez even though he was guarded by the smaller Channing Frye. Then with three minutes to go and the game still very much undecided, Johnson benched Lopez.

Which led Lopez to say some things on the bench that, well… watch the video yourself (via Deadspin) but we’re pretty sure Mama Lopez didn’t teach him those words. (It was Robin, he’s a bad influence.)

Whatever dramatic shakeups the Nets front office is planning, Lopez and Johnson are part of the future of the franchise. Together. Coach and star center. Maybe roles need to be more clearly defined, maybe Lopez works best as a second or third option, but whatever the case these two need to get on the same page. Or it won’t matter who they bring in to play along side them.

  1. leearmon - Jan 13, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    If the Nets were serious about getting Melo they would send Lopez to Denver. He is by NO WAY a franchise centerpiece. Like you said, a 3rd option at best, 3rd options shouldn’t stand in the way of getting an elite scorer, and a top 20 player.

    • petermcd88 - Jan 13, 2011 at 2:09 PM

      This is another reason why Anthony should pause before making this trade. Despite winning in Dallas, Johnson was fired in large part because his players hated him. Is his constant nagging and nitpicking really the type of coaching that would excel integrating veteran players into his system mid season and motivating them to play inspire basketball despite a putrid record?

      • zackd2 - Jan 13, 2011 at 2:45 PM

        Brook Lopez averages 6 reb/game. He should be nagged 24/7.

      • petermcd88 - Jan 13, 2011 at 3:36 PM

        I mean I think in this situation with Lopez, he is exactly right. But after Anthony has a bad shooting game is he going to say, ” No, I dream of our small forward driving instead of taking contested 20 footers”. Over the years with Karl there was a give and take between player and coach and he knew how to get the best out of him without damaging his ego. Johnson has never seemed to grasp that concept when dealing with talented players.

    • zackd2 - Jan 13, 2011 at 2:44 PM

      “3rd options shouldn’t stand in the way of getting an elite scorer”

      Where are the reports that Lopez is getting in the way?

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