There has been a great deal of speculation that star Deron Williams played a role in Avery Johnson's firing as Nets head coach, but the point guard denied that in a conversation with Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News and added that he was "surprised" by the news.
"I never had any conversation with (GM) Billy King about not liking coach, nothing about coach Johnson," Williams said. "Avery was a big reason I came back, because him and Billy. So I was surprised. We've never had an argument, we've never had a fight, any disagreements, anything. So, I think it was more kind of what happened in Utah, people still saying I got coach [Jerry] Sloan fired even though he resigned and that's going to stick with me for a while."
Williams raised eyebrows around the league last week with his criticism of Johnson's offense and his apparent pining for Sloan's offensive system in Utah. The irony in that, of course, is that Williams was widely believed to have a hand in Sloan's resignation from the Jazz in 2011. Williams says that he met with Johnson the following day to explain that he meant nothing by the comments and the coach said that he wasn't bothered by them.