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Old 07-23-06, 11:38 AM
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Avery, Cuban clash on contract

http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/sports/ba...s/15104974.htm


Avery, Cuban clash on contract


By ART GARCIA
Star-Telegram Staff Writer
Are the Mavericks and Avery Johnson headed for a quickie divorce because of a contract dispute? Don't count on it.

But some doubt has crept into the equation.

One month after the grandest season in Mavs history ended in the NBA Finals, talks to extend and/or enhance the contract of the league's most successful young coach have been shelved in what is becoming an increasingly tense clash between Mark Cuban and Johnson's representatives.

According to sources, at issue is Johnson's current contract, which has three years remaining at approximately $2.5 million per season. The deal ranks in the bottom third of the NBA's 30 coaches.

Each of the other seven coaches who took teams to the Western Conference playoffs last season was paid more than Johnson.

Johnson's inexperience -- he served less than one year as an assistant before his promotion late in the 2004-05 season -- explains his current salary. His rapid success, however, would make Johnson a hot commodity able to command big money on the open market.

But he's not on the open market.

It's not uncommon for coaches coming off successful seasons to have their contracts restructured in "good faith" gestures from the club. Mike Brown (Cavaliers), Eddie Jordan (Wizards) and Byron Scott (Hornets) each signed new deals recently.

Jordan is reportedly earning $4 million per season even though he's 53 games under .500 for his career. Former Mavs coach Don Nelson was paid in the neighborhood of $5 million last season in what would have been the last year of his contract.

Johnson, 41, led the Mavs to a 60-22 record in his first full season, tying the best mark in team history, and earned Coach of the Year honors. The Mavs reached the Finals for the first time, falling in six games to the Miami Heat.

Leading the Mavs to within two wins of the franchise's first championship figured to land Johnson a significant raise instead of just guaranteeing the fourth year of his contract.

So far, communication between Cuban and Johnson has been scarce, according to the sources. Cuban and Johnson both declined comment.

The sources also said Johnson would be agreeable to an extension with a significant bonus that would up his average salary in line with other top coaches in the $5 million range, but Cuban has kept a hard-line stance by refusing to renegotiate.

Negotiations on a new contract between Cuban and the agent for assistant coach Del Harris also have stalled.

Even without a new agreement, Johnson isn't considering resigning. He's repeatedly said he's looking forward to next season and has played an active role in the team's off-season moves.

Tensions between Cuban and his coach are nothing new in Mavs land. The battle of wills and dollars defined the frosty relationship between Cuban and Nelson.

At the base of the Cuban-Nelson conflict were serious personality and communication issues. It isn't supposed to be that way between Cuban and Johnson.

Initially labeled as Nelson's hand-picked successor, Johnson won Cuban over with the coaching job he did filling in for Nelson during parts of the 2004-05 season.

The fiery coach and the billionaire have continually emphasized their close personal bond. Johnson stressed before the start of the Finals that his success -- and the team's -- wouldn't have been possible without Cuban's support.

Despite the criticism Cuban took locally and nationally during the playoffs for his conduct and dealings with the league -- star Dirk Nowitzki recently condemned the owner's behavior -- Johnson continued to publicly back Cuban.

Behind the scenes, though, uneasiness seems to be mounting.
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Old 07-23-06, 11:56 AM
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Leave the Dark Side Avery!!!
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Old 07-23-06, 12:12 PM
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Good stuff.
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Old 07-23-06, 12:41 PM
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no suprise
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Old 07-23-06, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by To be named later
Interesting......

The Coach of the Year award, and the 60 win season, and reaching the Finals, all say: "Restructured Contract and Fat Raise"

But, CHOKING away a commanding 2-0 lead in the Finals, that says "the current contract has a clause that says you get a bonus if you win COY, and another clause that says you get a bonus if you make it to the Finals, those bonus's will be on your next paycheck. But CHOKING away 4 straight losses..........sorry, what have you won for me lately?"
Wouldn't surprise me if Cuban actually took that attitude. It's just arrogant and foolhardy enough to suit him. He should keep Avery happy, because someone else will throw a LOT more money at him eventually.
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Old 07-23-06, 01:26 PM
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I didn't see any guns to Avery's head when he signed the contract .... I didn't hear of any clause in the contract that said if the Mavs had won 25 games this year that Avery had to give back some of his salary and take a pay cut on subsequent years of his deal. Avery and his reps probably saw the years of the contract as some degree of security and chose to sign it rather than ask for a short contract so he could get more $$$ if he was sucessful. In a sense Avery was betting against himself, lost and now wants a do-over. From cuban's standpoint he has to decide if he wants Avery long term or if, as some have speculated, that Avery will be a coach such as Gerge Karl who comes into a place and because of his intensity alienates his players after a few successful years and be forced to leave. If Cuban decides that Avery is going to be a long-term guy then he would be wise to lock him up ASAP. At the present time though it appears he has a wait and see attitude, which is his right.

oh golly ... did I just defend Mark Cuban? ....I better lay down.
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Old 07-23-06, 01:37 PM
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I love Avery but I am getting sick and tired of hearing people arguing about how much money they make. Ahhh.. poor guy, 2.5 million a year doing a job he loves is just not enough. This goes for every player when I ask 'What happend to playing basketball or any other sport for the love of the game?' Seriously. With all these high contracts to all these people I can only go to one or two games a year because it will cost me around 100 dollars or more just to go and watch my favorite team that I love. The main class of fans cant even watch thier team or home team without coughing up a lung but once a year. And I dont want to hear that they work hard or on holidays because the average person works out in the sun or at a plant 12 hours a day or whatever and always works holidays while making much less money without complaint. We got our butts handed to us last olympics because everyone worries more about show and money than the sport. I am a college student and I know a lot of people my age and older saying that they are quiting watching pro sports and going to college because college sports show more heart.

Am I really wrong about this?
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Old 07-23-06, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BUspur
Leave the Dark Side Avery!!!
I know there's still good in him. I can feel it...
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Old 07-23-06, 03:19 PM
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I don't get Cuban...I really don't. He is tight in some aspects and too frivilous in others. If he ends up losing AJ..it will be his own fault. To me he isn't paid enough money to deal with Cuban's antics and obvious distractions. What is it with Dallas? That town isn't big enough for Cuban and Jones.
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Old 07-23-06, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hairyhandedgent
oh golly ... did I just defend Mark Cuban? ....I better lay down.
You did the right thing (that does include the lay down part ). Players/coaches in NBA nowadays are spoiled and they don't honor what they signed. You keep hearing players force trades or coaches force to resign in order to get what they want, and that's just not acting on good faith. It's totally ok to just walk away when the contracts are over but before that? Please keep being professional.
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Old 07-23-06, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LifelongSpursFan
I don't get Cuban...I really don't. He is tight in some aspects and too frivilous in others. If he ends up losing AJ..it will be his own fault. To me he isn't paid enough money to deal with Cuban's antics and obvious distractions. What is it with Dallas? That town isn't big enough for Cuban and Jones.
I agree. The Mavs let Steve Nash go then recently signed Jason Terry to a contract with just about the same $$$. I doubt Jason Terry will win back to back MVP awards. Nice job Cuban. Leave the NBA and go buy a MLB team.
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Old 07-23-06, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mavsuck
I love Avery but I am getting sick and tired of hearing people arguing about how much money they make. Ahhh.. poor guy, 2.5 million a year doing a job he loves is just not enough. This goes for every player when I ask 'What happend to playing basketball or any other sport for the love of the game?' Seriously. With all these high contracts to all these people I can only go to one or two games a year because it will cost me around 100 dollars or more just to go and watch my favorite team that I love. The main class of fans cant even watch thier team or home team without coughing up a lung but once a year. And I dont want to hear that they work hard or on holidays because the average person works out in the sun or at a plant 12 hours a day or whatever and always works holidays while making much less money without complaint. We got our butts handed to us last olympics because everyone worries more about show and money than the sport. I am a college student and I know a lot of people my age and older saying that they are quiting watching pro sports and going to college because college sports show more heart.

Am I really wrong about this?
Not in my book, except I'm still not that interesed in he college game.
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Old 07-23-06, 04:39 PM
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I could see houston calling
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Old 07-23-06, 04:56 PM
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Avery took a plush job, with an excellent team with plenty of talent and an owner who had spared little expense to create the deepest team in the league. He could have gone after a name coach, but he left Avery at the helm. It goes both ways, that was a big door that was opened for Avery, he did a great job, but at the same time, how many people thought he would be this successful, I didn't, Avery surprised me. Cuban took a big gamble on him, so I don't see Avery getting all that greedy, but you never know. I also like seeing Cuban act like a penny pincher, Avery's salary doens't go against the cap, and instead of paying those huge fines he should fork over a new deal for Avery.
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Old 07-23-06, 04:57 PM
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One day Cuban will get what's coming to him...just wait. The river water will eat him soon enough
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Old 07-23-06, 05:00 PM
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When did Dirk condemn Cuban's actions?
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Old 07-23-06, 06:04 PM
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Cuban's a weird self-aggrandizing psycho. On the other hand, Johnson should show he can put up another good year before talking about getting a raise.
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Old 07-23-06, 06:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robofuzz
When did Dirk condemn Cuban's actions?
when he said that his antics were a distraction to the team, it was all over espn
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Old 07-24-06, 03:34 AM
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Avery has a contract for another 3 years, so he should honor that and see at the end to negociate an extension with a fat check. He is asking for more money because he had a good year so should Cuban pay him less if he has a bad one? Honor your contract and then discuss.
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Old 07-24-06, 11:06 AM
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Serves all the players in the GAME right for aligning with these stupid egomaniacs! Johnson derserves it too
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Old 07-24-06, 05:38 PM
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Source: No conflict over Mavs coach's contract

Johnson plans to honor contract, which covers the next three seasons

02:22 AM CDT on Monday, July 24, 2006

By EDDIE SEFKO / The Dallas Morning News

link

Avery Johnson is looking forward to coaching the Mavericks during the remaining three seasons of his contract, and any tension between him and owner Mark Cuban has been exaggerated, a source close to the team said Sunday. There has been speculation that Johnson's contract, which will pay him about $2.5 million next season, could be a source of irritation for Johnson if it is not restructured, extended or torn up and replaced to increase his pay. However, Johnson has every intention of honoring the deal, and the source reiterated that Cuban and Johnson remain allies and have no problems.

Johnson, 41, is a bargain by NBA coaching standards. He led the Mavericks to their first appearance in the NBA Finals in his first full season on the job. His career record is 76-24, including 60-22 last season.

However, every other coach in the Southwest Division earns more than Johnson, topped by San Antonio's Gregg Popovich, whose salary is about $7 million. It's notable that Popovich, Memphis' Mike Fratello and Houston's Jeff Van Gundy all have at least 10 years of head coaching experience. New Orleans' Byron Scott has six years as a head coach, including two trips to the NBA Finals when he coached New Jersey.

Several coaches have renegotiated contracts this summer or are in negotiations to do so, including Mike Dunleavy of the Los Angeles Clippers and Eddie Jordan of Washington. Neither got past the second round of the playoffs last season. Jordan signed a three-year extension worth $12 million. Dunleavy reportedly is seeking an extension worth $7 million per season.

Don Nelson, who coached the Mavericks before giving way to Johnson in March 2005, earned $5.1 million per season.

Johnson originally signed a three-year contract that included a fourth season that became guaranteed when the team reached the NBA Finals last season. Because he was a rookie coach, Johnson agreed to a contract that was equal to the league average of $2.5 million per season, although the fourth year is substantially higher.

With his first-year success, Johnson's market value soared. If he were a free-agent coach, he would command top dollar. Tony Dutt, Johnson's Houston-based consultant, did not return phone messages.

Cuban did not respond to e-mail inquiries seeking comment on Johnson's situation, although he has stated many times that he is Johnson's biggest fan and will do whatever is necessary to build on the foundation that the coach has poured.
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Old 07-24-06, 06:12 PM
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First of all, for those who think AJ should just honor shis contract, you should realize that, like Art Garcia pointed out, it's not uncommon for coaches to have their contracts redone in good faith. Since that happens, that gives AJ a leg to stand on.
It's really not about AJ pointing a gun at Cuban and demanding more money, it's about what the market calls for.
There is precedent that if a coach does well, he is restructured in good faith. Especially a coach as young and as succesful as AJ has been.
Why should Cuban? Because if he truly appreciates the job AJ has done, he does't want to lose AJ when his current deal is up.
As for the tension, the story does say the tension is between AJ's reps and Cuban, not AJ and Cuban himself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mavsuck
I love Avery but I am getting sick and tired of hearing people arguing about how much money they make. Ahhh.. poor guy, 2.5 million a year doing a job he loves is just not enough. This goes for every player when I ask 'What happend to playing basketball or any other sport for the love of the game?' Seriously. With all these high contracts to all these people I can only go to one or two games a year because it will cost me around 100 dollars or more just to go and watch my favorite team that I love. The main class of fans cant even watch thier team or home team without coughing up a lung but once a year. And I dont want to hear that they work hard or on holidays because the average person works out in the sun or at a plant 12 hours a day or whatever and always works holidays while making much less money without complaint. We got our butts handed to us last olympics because everyone worries more about show and money than the sport. I am a college student and I know a lot of people my age and older saying that they are quiting watching pro sports and going to college because college sports show more heart.

Am I really wrong about this?
Yes.
How can you come in here and critisize someone for negotiating money? Like everyone, they have a right to try and get all the money they can. That goes for everyone. Coaches, players, construction workers....
Just because we don't earn anything close to that doesn't mean that they should settle for only 1 million.
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Old 07-24-06, 06:13 PM
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would you ever bash aj?
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Old 07-24-06, 06:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjjrfan
It goes both ways, that was a big door that was opened for Avery, he did a great job, but at the same time, how many people thought he would be this successful, I didn't, Avery surprised me.
I think most people thought AJ would be a great coach. AJ didn't surprise me. In fact, before he was a coach, he was the top vote-getter in a GM poll asking which player was most likely to have a great coaching career.
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Old 07-24-06, 06:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carnac The Magnificent
First of all, for those who think AJ should just honor shis contract, you should realize that, like Art Garcia pointed out, it's not uncommon for coaches to have their contracts redone in good faith. Since that happens, that gives AJ a leg to stand on.
It's really not about AJ pointing a gun at Cuban and demanding more money, it's about what the market calls for.
There is precedent that if a coach does well, he is restructured in good faith. Especially a coach as young and as succesful as AJ has been.
The thing you missed is that, the contract already includes the situation in which the coach does well. AJ agreed that if he does well, he'd get 1 more year guaranteed with higher pay. So what's the point of further restructuring when it's already 'restructured' in the first place? The only answer is - it shouldn't be restructured again.
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Old 07-24-06, 06:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ducks
would you ever bash aj?
Who, me?
I have before.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robinson50
The thing you missed is that, the contract already includes the situation in which the coach does well. AJ agreed that if he does well, he'd get 1 more year guaranteed with higher pay. So what's the point of further restructuring when it's already 'restructured' in the first place? The only answer is - it shouldn't be restructured again.
It's not about incentives.
It's about multiple years at fair market price. It's about security. If Cuban doesn't want to provide it, then I guess he doesn't want to keep AJ.
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