Mark Cuban said multiple players told him they wanted to be traded if Avery Johnson returned as coach this season.
The Mavericks owner revealed the gravity of the rift between Johnson and his players at Monday's media day when asked how he came to the conclusion that he needed to fire Johnson.
"I knew after I had so many people asking to be traded," Cuban said. "I mean, I had to deal with either the players and moving them or the coach and moving him."
Cuban said these sentiments were relayed to him by the players or their agents over the course of last season. After each complaint Cuban would assure the players that he and Donnie Nelson, the team's president of basketball operations, would work with Johnson in an effort to smooth things over.
Cuban said the players did not speak in generalities. They told him they didn't want to come back if Johnson was still the coach.
"As you started looking deeper and deeper and deeper into things, we didn't have a choice," Cuban said. "I didn't want to fire him. That wasn't my goal."
When asked if more than five players requested a trade, Cuban said yes. More than seven?
"Close," Cuban said.
Still, is it too simplistic to suggest that everything will be different now that a coaching change has been made?
"Everything will be different," Cuban said. "I mean, it's not too simplistic at all. That's why we made the change.
"If we didn't think it would be significantly different, we would not have made the change."