Mark Cuban's Off-Season Choice: Fire Avery Johnson, or Trade Almost Half His Team Away

I always find it interesting how, at the time a story's developing, details are often few and far between. But months later, a bunch of facts come out (or at least one person's version of them) that end up clearing the whole thing up. Such is the case with the Mavericks' firing of Avery Johnson.

We heard rumblings of a rift between Avery and some of his players during the playoffs, and thanks to Mark Cuban, we now know just how bad things got in Dallas:

"I knew after I had so many people asking to be traded," Cuban said. "I mean, I had to deal with either the players and moving them or the coach and moving him."

Cuban said the players did not speak in generalities. They told him they didn't want to come back if Johnson was still the coach.

"As you started looking deeper and deeper and deeper into things, we didn't have a choice," Cuban said. "I didn't want to fire him. That wasn't my goal."

Cuban went on to say that definitely more than five, and "close" to more than seven players asked to be traded if Johnson were to remain the coach. Between that and the melt-down during the playoffs, I suppose Cuban had no choice. Even after making a trade last season that seemed to change the Mavericks' roster for the worse, it appears that Rick Carlisle might have a better shot than his predecessor at guiding the team to some playoff success.

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