Nets Rumors: Johnson, Brown, Thibodeau

Free-agent-to-be Joe Johnson has been the closest thing to a bright spot for the Nets, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. The veteran forward has been shooting 53% from 3-point range over Brooklyn’s past nine contests and has raised his scoring average from 10.5 points per game to 14.7. It was reported earlier this week that Johnson hasn’t expressed interest in taking a buyout from the Nets, and a salary of nearly $25MM may limit his trade prospects. “I don’t think it’s any different from when it was earlier in the season,” Johnson said. “I’m just playing. Obviously I’m making shots, probably a bit more poised now that I’m not trying to force a shot. I’m just taking what the defense gives me.”

There’s more news out of Brooklyn:

  • After a week on the job, interim coach Tony Brown is already expressing frustration with the team’s lack of effort, Lewis writes in a separate piece. Brown addressed the problem after Saturday’s game with the Hawks, in which Brooklyn lost by 28 points after being tied midway through the third quarter. “What I told them is I want to see a little bit more fight,’’ the coach said. “When you get into adversity, things are not going your way, it’s easy to not do as much. We’ve got some guys not playing their best basketball, but they have to fight their way out of these situations.”
  • Tom Thibodeau would probably want a say in personnel if he becomes the next coach of the Nets, opines Sam Smith of Smith says former NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy has stressed to Thibodeau the importance of having control over personnel, similar to the situation that Stan Van Gundy has with the Pistons or that Doc Rivers has with the Clippers. A report on Friday indicated the Nets are strongly interested in hiring Thibodeau, and Smith writes that the former Bulls coach is eager to land his next job.
  • More than five years of free spending and short-sighted moves encouraged by owner Mikhail Prokhorov have led to the Nets’ dire situation, writes Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post.

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