The Mavericks fired coach Avery Johnson today, just half a day after the team got eliminated in the first round by a better squad, the New Orleans Hornets.

The Dallas Morning News (Eddie Sefko) reports: Johnson, who took over the Mavericks’ coaching job with 18 games left in the 2004-05 season, had been the subject of strong speculation late in the regular season and during the first-round playoff loss to New Orleans. Three playoff disappointments, including the 4-1 loss to New Orleans that the Hornets finished off Tuesday, and a loss of control of the team by Johnson convinced Cuban to make the move. Several curious comments and actions preceded Johnson’s dismissal. He had a loud outburst with Cuban after a game in March, a confrontation that was audible to staff members throughout the Mavericks’ offices. Early in the playoffs, Johnson took full responsibility for his team’s missed free throws and other physical errors. Clearly, that was a thinly veiled criticism of the players. Then, on Monday, after Johnson canceled a practice, the players decided to practice on their own, which angered Johnson.