Don Nelson resigned as Dallas Mavericks coach Saturday, possibly ending the career of the second-winningest coach in NBA history.First-year assistant Avery Johnson was named Nelson’s replacement.
In his eighth season with the Mavericks, the 64-year-old Nelson has won 1,190 games and trails only Lenny Wilkens on the NBA’s all-time wins list. He has missed 13 contests this season, however.
Johnson, who has been groomed as Nelson’s successor, guided the Mavericks to a 7-3 record during Nelson’s absence in January and won two of three games last week. He also has conducted most of the team’s practices this season.
With the dismissal of Minnesota’s Flip Saunders earlier this season, Nelson had been the NBA’s second longest-tenured coach behind Utah Jerry Sloan and San Antonio’s Greg Popovich.
While he never got to the NBA Finals, Nelson turned the Mavericks into perennial 50-game winners as the team has averaged 55 victories the last four seasons.