ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports the Hawks will interview Avery Johnson for their vacant head coach position.
Johnson, an ESPN analyst, last coached the Dallas Mavericks. He took over during the 2004-05 season and Dallas won 60 games in 2005-06, earning Johnson Coach of the Year honors. But the Mavericks lost a six-game series to Miami in the Finals after leading 2-0. The Mavericks fired Johnson after they lost in the first round of the playoffs in both 2007 and 2008.
If the Hawks want to hire Johnson it would probably take a significant financial commitment. Johnson reportedly earned more than $4 million per year in his final contract with the Mavericks. That’s more than twice the final salary the Hawks paid Mike Woodson, who was told on Friday that he wouldn’t be retained.
Johnson isn’t assured of earning his previous coaching salary when he returns to the sidelines, but he has leverage as probably the most high-profile candidate available. He’s already interviewed with Philadelphia and New Orleans and Johnson also reportedly has interest in coaching the Nets, who were recently sold to Russian billionaire Mikhali Prokhorov.
The Hawks also are set to interview Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey.