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Avery Johnson, former NBA point guard and head coach of the Dallas Mavericks and current ESPN NBA analyst seems to be on his road back to the sidelines for an NBA team. That team, The New Jersey Nets. The New York Post earlier reported that Johnson was the leading candidate for the job and little after 12 o’clock today Avery Johnson was signed as coach.  “Yes, I am headed to New Jersey.” — Avery Johnson tells ESPN

Moving closer and closer to the biggest free agent summer in the history of the league, the Nets seem to be trying to solidify their power pieces in their bid to land LeBron James and, perhaps, another big-name free agent to New Jersey. Avery Johnson believes this as well.  “If I was a free agent, New Jersey would be the place that I would want to be.” — Avery Johnson on ESPN

The New Jersey Nets players are happy with the move. Second year man Terrence Williams (@TheRealTWill) said this via Twitter “New coach yessir welcome welcome” And Chris Douglas-Roberts (@cdouglasroberts) said this via Twitter, “Avery Johnson is known as a winning hard nosed coach. I’m sure he’ll have an impact in turning things around for the Nets. Great decision.”

Now for the Nets there are two possible and legitimate arguments here for landing LeBron. You could make sure you have a head coach so he sees the place as forward-thinking and solid. On the other hand, you could really give LeBron a blank check and tell LeBron to pick his coach and another free agent to run with him.

In my opinion, option #2 is better because it will take a great deal to draw LeBron away from Cleveland. People are wrongfully assuming that it’s going to be so easy to get him out of his hometown, where his family, friends, and roots are. There needs to be incentive or he’s not going anywhere. What better way to do that than let him know that he can pick whoever he feels most comfortable with and whoever will give him the best chance to win a championship, which will really be the most important thing in his decision come July.

That said, I think experts are underestimating how much of a chance New Jersey has in this. They have many alluring things to offer him, including cap space, an open head coaching position, and the prospect of moving to Brooklyn in a few years. Not to mention, if LeBron wants to write his own legacy with his “own” franchise, New Jersey is the place. Just as when you think “Bulls”, you think “Jordan”, he could make it that when you think “Nets”, you think “LeBron”.

There will be speculation galore until July, but that is the case for New Jersey, one that is flying under the radar.

-Dan Martin (@Dan_MartinWSJU)  & Timmy Dimas (@TimmyD_WSJU)

Special thanks to Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria), the New York Post and ESPN for the information provided in this article.


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