Avery Johnson, coach of the year in 2006, is out after Dallas' latest playoff collapse. Johnson lost his job Wednesday, a move the team referred to as “relieving him of his duties.” The softer tone made sense considering that in three-plus seasons Johnson guided the Mavericks to the finals for the first time and to a club-record 67 wins the following season.

Johnson got the news during a meeting at his condominium Wednesday morning. Donnie Nelson, the team’s president of basketball operations, was there, while team owner Mark Cuban joined via cell phone from Chicago.
This is something that needed to happen,” Johnson said. “There’s no animosity or bitterness. We all still really care about each other, but it was time to go in a different direction. … We didn’t win the championship, but if you look at the whole body of work that we put together over the last 3 1/2 years … we’ll put it up against anybody.”
Johnson might not be unemployed very long. The New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls are among the teams needing coaches, and both might want a young, proven coach who preaches defense and discipline.