Report: Hawks to interview Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson’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.


428 comments Add your comment


May 18th, 2010
4:16 am

recommend Crest..that’s Avery’s choice…he’s a Crest Kid

Atlanta Spirit

May 18th, 2010
5:29 am

You guys are nuts if you think we will be paying anyone over $2 million.


May 18th, 2010
6:34 am





May 18th, 2010
6:38 am


What I want for Christmas is – “my two front teeth”! Mine were knocked out when I opened my mouth and said I did’nt want Avery Johnoson as our Coach. I mean, is voice texture will take some getting used to, but you can’t argue with a 70% winning percentage. Dallas never had a heart & Mark Cuban is was too visible and involved in the locker room. He needs to find somewhere else to be, perhaps the owner’s booth or something. Heck, that guy was behind the bench drawing technicals against his own team? Anyway, I did appreciate Avery’s assessment of your team, when he was on TNT or was it ESPN?


Word on the Street is that LeBron’s Mother is sleeping with Delonte West & LeBron found out right before Game 4 in the last round. That would explain his detached demeanor and lack of fire and interest against the Celtics. I mean, that’s his Mamma – man! Delonte is a scary looking dude! It probably gave him nightmares of having an alien for a new brother or sister. LOL!

Wow, even the King has an achilles heel. Don’t F! with my Mamma.


May 18th, 2010
6:46 am


What’s up with the “I don’t care he is Portuguese” reference?


May 18th, 2010
6:57 am

Najeh D.

“Here’s another question. Does Avery Johnson do more for you at 3-4 mil per year, than a Tom Thibodeau or Dwayne Casey does?”

Good point, and the answer is probably not. Avery Johnson and Byron Scott get talked about on this blog like they are Phil Jackson, but the truth is neither one has accomplished anything more than they would have been expected to accomplish with the talent they had. Maybe both are an improvement over Woodson, but I’d be pretty disappointed if all the Hawks managed to do is barely upgrade over Woody.

Response: If Avery takes this collection of players and get them to another level? His salary becomes **Nullified** at that point. Don’t you think? But, then again, we are talking Millions of dollars in differences. It’s a tough job for Sund, I would hate to be him! I mean, damned if you do and don’t? I would consult with Joe Johnson and see what he feels the team lacks and need…get his input on the next coach & get him re-signed! Why? Because that is where the bulk of your payroll has and hopefully is going for the next five years. Maybe he stated in his exit-interview that – he would not re-sign to play for Mr. Woodson, we will never know?


May 18th, 2010
7:08 am

Two words: B Y R O N S C O T T ! ! !

[...] Hawks will in fact be sitting down to interview Dallas Maverick assistant Dwane Casey but the first interview will go to current ESPN Analyst and former Mavericks coach Avery Johnson. Johnson is probably the highest profile candidate available and I assumed here that he would [...]

Melvin Flowers Macon Georgia

May 18th, 2010
8:02 am

The Atlanta Hawks Need a Strong Coach If The Hawks Planning To Get To The Next Level. A Leader Can Make The Players Play Or Sit Down.
No More Lazy Playing Must play Defense And Move The Ball. No More Doing What U Want To On The Floor.
Avey Johnson Is The Man Can Turn The Hawks To Real Contenders. We Still Are a Player Are Two From Being a 3rd Round Team.
Let Johnson Go And Use That Money On A True Scorer To Help The Balance Needed. Johnson Can’t Play In Big Games.Trade Bibby To a Rebuilding Team.
Atlanta Needs To Run More On Offense.


May 18th, 2010
8:18 am

If Avery Johnson is the next hawks coach, he will want to trade most of the players on the roster to get players who fit his style of play. Meaning: no Mike Bibby, Melvin Williams, ZaZa, Maurice Evans, Mario West, etc. Joe Johnson may stay or he may want Chris Bosh, Brandon Roy, Gerald Wallace for defense. DO WE REALLY WANT THAT?

darrell starks

May 18th, 2010
8:44 am

WCJ yes we wont that this is a star driven league, and with this current roster you have no value as for competing for and nba title, so there some need for changes or every year the current roster will fall short.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!


May 18th, 2010
8:49 am

Mike Fratello? Dominque Wilkins? Lenny Wilkins? Mark Price for that matter…How about the package deal rumoring with the Kentucky coach and Lebron. Come on everyone- A coach is only as good as the players around him/her. Regardless of the level of play, Little League, High School, College and yes the Pros. High School and Pros have a lot in common, you are dealing with EGO’s. In the Pros add Money to it and you have a problem sometimes. I realize opinions will differ drastically as always about the next coach. Fact is- The players quit on Woody. I wanted Woody to be gone as well as ISO JOE. But- If we were to get everyone’s beloved Doc Rivers or Phil Jackson etc. We won’t be any better unless the players (play) for them. If the quit like they did in the playoffs it will be a mute point and we will be calling for the next coach’s head too. A good coach would have done this in the playoffs for the hawks; sit ISO JOE and his pathetic shooting percentage, shot selection regardless of his stellar “D”. He would have Sit or pulled out Baby, Pouty Smith and given him a pacifier right then and there. Bottom line 2 of 5 players (starters) quit on Woody, teammates and fans during the playoffs.(MY OPINION)
The coaches including Woody didn’t quit though they probably felt like it. The players did and was tired if hearing the same message PERIOD

darrell starks

May 18th, 2010
8:52 am

Are the hawks fans complaining about a couple mill. how ludacris is that, what the different between 3mill and 4mill when avery is the best available coach out there, asg need 2 sign him now if they want 2 continue the development of this team and getting them 2 the next level.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!


May 18th, 2010
8:54 am

“Tony Marbelitz. May 17th, 2010 4:23 pm. JSS is a girl. …”
Nothing like being called out when you’re not even commenting… I always say: “I ain’t hard to find, don’t start none, there won’t be none!”

darrell starks

May 18th, 2010
9:02 am

Are there anyone coach that can come in here and change things around beside avery who no, there might be the next pat riley out there a diamond in the ruff type coach or the hawks might hire another bob wise, or terry stoudine but i do no this avery will make the hawks
better with the right player in here.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!

darrell starks

May 18th, 2010
9:04 am

Enter your comments here

Dan's Dickau

May 18th, 2010
9:26 am

Jay Dawg

May 18th, 2010
9:33 am

Didn’t we already have a coach who could get us to the first round? Why would we pay twice as much for the same thing? AJ is not the answer.


May 18th, 2010
9:44 am

Fans could step up a bit more it’s true. Of the current Hawks, I’d definitely want to keep Josh Smith, Al Horford, Jeff Teague, and as many others as possible. Truthfully, the exact same team next year could get better with new strong coaching. But yes, a change or two would be even better. I just don’t know who the Hawks can snag.


May 18th, 2010
9:48 am


Nothing offensive I assure you.
I apologize if you or anyone you are related to
is Portuguese. I just pulled portuguese out of
a hat as I’ve never known a Portuguese coach.
I promise I am the least bigoted person in the world.
One of the most beautiful & intelligent young ladies
I’ve ever met was from Portugal. It was just a throw
away statement. However, since no malice was intended,
please also know that I do not bow to the PC Police.
I like to poke fun @ folks and mean no harm.
Once again I could just as easily have said:
Vanuatuan, Canadian, Albanian, or Aussie.
Hopefully this explanation suffices.
Sincerely, G-dad

The Truth

May 18th, 2010
9:57 am

This Book entitled “COMPLETE IDIOT’S GUIDE TO BASKETBALL” by Wilt “Clyde Frazier is a must read by all BLOGGERS who claim to know the game of basketball.

As the Hawks search for a new coach, here are some interesting quotes out of Chapter 10, Page 142 Entitled: “WHAT MAKES A GOOD HEAD COACH?”, that might be relevant:

Teams often reflect the personality of their coaches, which makes sense. If a coach is loose and relaxed, his players play that way. If a coach is uptight, you’ll be able to see and feel it in his players when they’re on the court.

Based on this quote, the more we know about the individual personalities of the prospects seeking the coaching job, the better we can visualized (in advance) what the Hawk team will look like on the court. For example, we all know how relax and laid-back Phil Jackson is therefore his team plays cool calm and collected under pressure. At the other end of the spectrum we also know about our Hawks team with Woody as the coach. Remember the inconsistent performance of the players and how it seems the players “choke” under pressure in the playoff and on the road. What did that tell us about Woody personality? Let’s examine one of our prospects: Remember Avery Johnson game as a player? They called him the “Little General” for his small (by NBA standards) stature, his leadership skills as a PG and floor general who took charge and commanded respect. Yes, there is a risk of him being too autocratic, but the upside in his personality could also manifest into getting his team to stay focus. This is something the Hawks players desperately need. We all know (for example) how Josh something tunes-in and then sometimes tunes-out and loafs. The Little General would not tolerate that.

Here are more relevant quotes out of Chapter 10, Page 141 Entitled: COACHES CALLS THE SHOTS:

Coaching at the NBA is far different from college, high school, or youth group coaching. By the time a player reaches the NBA he’s expected to know the fundamentals of the game – how to shoot, pass, dribble, and so forth. I say expected because, unfortunately, this isn’t always the case especially with some players turning pro at younger ages than ever before. In any case, NBA coaches don’t have time to teach fundamentals; instead they focus on getting the most out of the players’ skills and preparing and motivating the team for competition.

As we have debated many times in the past about how Woody lack of teaching was what caused the early departures of many of our rookies including Jeff Teague slow progressed compared to his peers. For those that thought Woody should have taught the players more fundamentals may want to reconsider their position. In retrospect, maybe our scouts should have done a better job of selecting draft picks with better basketball IQ.


May 18th, 2010
10:02 am

One other item as I thiught about
my statement…the intent was:
race, creed, color, etc. made no difference.
The context was:
others were making it an issue.
I once had a friend denied a job because he
was ‘Mormon’. I’m not [Mormon] either but
what does that have to do with his ability
to coach?
Sorry for the continued elaboration.


May 18th, 2010
10:11 am

Is there any word on how the interview went?? The media in this city leaves us hanging on stories way too much.


May 18th, 2010
10:14 am

NorthClyde: I liked you better when you kept defending Woody….why don’t you stick to that?
Or better yet, go on the bandwagon to get him rehired…..Your version of the truth is to be controversial just to see if anyone bites……speaking of which, where is your party of yes, healtcare loving friend, Mary B? ……

Tom Thibadeau. How could we get him? Not sure….but maybe he would like to be the head coach of a team, not just the brains of a championship defensive unit (the Celtics if you didn’t know).

I like Avery Johnson….as a player and a human being. I am not sure if I have seen the genius strategist the Hawks need. Stan Van Gundy is a whining toad….but he may be a genius…Orlando or Boston for the championship.

Heck…I would go for a college coach…but not a high school coach…..or even a CBA coach…..the key here is an intuitive mind….who can see plays developinig on the floor and can see players’ talents fulfilling those plays developing on the floor and melding everyone together….I don’t care if it’s Elmer Fudd, as long as he can fix his problem with the R’s.

[...] Hawks– good fit, or not? Either way, he’s interviewing for the position as head coach! Johnson, an ESPN analyst, last coached the Dallas Mavericks. He took over during the 2004-05 season and [...]


May 18th, 2010
10:16 am

Whoever it is, he (or she) better be good……Coaxing Joe back is going to be like calling out an armadillo under the full moon……


May 18th, 2010
10:17 am

The Truth:

Excellent Post !

Coutside demeanor does not necessarily
reflect practice demeanor.
I’m not contradicting nor correcting,
I’m adding to your quote from mr. Frazier.

Rather than change scouting…
perhaps the new coaching staff
should as a whole possess teaching
skills would be a good idea.

lastly, I think there is a fine line between
being too intense and not being intense enough.
sure you can get your team rattled under pressure.
Professionals, maybe should be beyond that.
but you still have to show them #1 you care,
and #2 you are just as competitive if not more so
than they are.

Good points, well taken! thanks.


May 18th, 2010
10:19 am

J.J. Redick from a Bill Simmons podcast: “Atlanta is a talented team but they didn’t play very hard against us.”


May 18th, 2010
10:19 am

Avery Johnson gets my vote…He understand the game at all levels. He understand the point guard position…

Johnson is a player’s coach..He’s a communicator, one who understand camraderie between players and coaches and throughout the organization.

He will the demand the best out of his team’s roster…

He will definitely improve Josh Smith, Horford, Jamal, Jeff Teague, Joe Johnson and the team’s chemistry on the fundamental of ball movement.

I can envision a championship trophy with Avery manning the helm, or at the least contending for championship trophy..

If he’s willing then he will be a perfect fit to coach the Hawks.


May 18th, 2010
10:32 am

Is there a problem with Hlth care?
I have a family member [physician]
had to give up her practice !
Couldn’t collect from ins. companies.
Her – Mal-practice ins. 6 figures.
Ins. co. / real philanthropists all.


May 18th, 2010
10:48 am

The new coach may be an Offensive minded coach or at least be open to good ball movement/ offense. I don’t think all coaches will want ISO Joe. Unless! He is willing to learn to play a team game, meaning less ISO’s and to set up/ pass the ball to the open man regardless of whom it is. ISO Joe will only be valuable to underachieving ISO’s. I am also sold that JJ isn’t somewhat of a me first screw the team type of player; he may not be willing to share the ball accordingly and risk missing his 5th All-star game at all costs to the other players. Less Money, full of incentives then maybe I could be persuaded to give him a new contract. He isn’t wearing a Hawks uniform again with a Max. contract.


May 18th, 2010
11:23 am

Hi Grandad,

I am Portuguese and I knew (suspected) that there was no mean intent behind your words.

However, in case there would, I would be here to clarify that we do not make very good targets for “hatred” or any other strong form of depreciative feeling towards us as a group.


May 18th, 2010
11:34 am

I am less concerned about the next head coach of the Atlanta Hawks than I am about the fact that a team of “professional” grown men, who make millions of dollars a year playing a game for a living, are seemingly incable of motivating themselves to win.

The Spirit could hire Phil Jackson as the Hawks next head coach, but you can’t coach intestinal fortitude, and that’s what the Hawks lack. That historically embarrassing playoff “performance” (and I use the term loosely) against the Orlando Magic is testament to that. The Hawks lack heart; they lack accountability among themselves (i.e. the players who don the uniform), which is where it all begins – within the hearts of the players who take the court on each game night.

Look at the Lakers or the Magic, and yes, even the Celtics. All are immensely talented teams, but they don’t rely on talent alone. There are many talented teams in the NBA, but only a few whose talent is augmented by the belief that they will, not can, but will win whenever – and wherever – they take the floor. These characteristics do not belie the Atlanta Hawks.

For Hawks fans, this team remain an enigma.


May 18th, 2010
11:40 am

The Dept. of Unintended Irony

May 18th, 2010
11:46 am

This Book entitled “COMPLETE IDIOT’S GUIDE TO BASKETBALL” by Wilt “Clyde Frazier is a must read by all BLOGGERS who claim to know the game of basketball.


Bloggers who KNOW the game KNOW that it’s Walt, not Wilt.


Ken Strickland

May 18th, 2010
11:50 am

Avery Johnson has proven he’s a quality HC, but with the team being up for sale, I don’t know if he’ll be the ASG’s choice, unless they think a new potential owner might want a high profile HC. If the ASG leaves the decision up to Sund, he’ll likely go with Casey, who he’s worked with before and is most familiar with. I really don’t have a clear cut preference which one they hire. Either candidate will surely be more flexible, open minded, versatile, player friendly, especially towards young players, and capable of making needed changes and adjustments.

Here’s what I think we have to do, especially if we lose JJ:

(1) bring in a vet PG to either start or back Teague up.

(2) get Marvin consistently involved in the OFF, and his production up to the 15-17PPG range.

(3) draft, sign or trade for a SG that can play both ends of the court and average 14-17PPG, either as a starter or backup.

(4) get at least 17-20PPG combined out of our PG’s.

With consistent ball movement, the ability to penetrate, solid on the ball DEF, player development, bench management, and consistently playing uptempo, we could end up with fewer regular season wins, but be much much stronger in the playoffs.

DJ Jones

May 18th, 2010
12:18 pm

There is a Columbus native and Peachtree City resident who played and was considered a leader during his 13 years in the NBA and had he something to do with the development of Kevin Garnett. This same Peachtree City resident also has coached in the NBA in recent years as an assistant and head coach north of the border winning the NBA Coach of the Year in 2007-2008.

Gurn Blanston

May 18th, 2010
12:20 pm

Northcyde — Don’t be such a crybaby. Your point is off. It’s like a restaurant saying “We don’t have to improve our food, because you people aren’t eating enough of it!” That’s not how business works, friend.


May 18th, 2010
12:21 pm


I hope that story you linked to is wrong. And even the premise of the story is twisted. I mean if the heavy minutes Joe played during the season had a direct influence on his play in the Magic series, then you’d HAVE to think that those same minutes, over the last 5 years, would have worn his legs down. So doesn’t that INCREASE the risk of paying him max money?

I would like Joe back at a salary that still gives the Hawks maximum flexibility. There’s still a LOT of talent needed.


May 18th, 2010
12:32 pm

Gurn Blanston

May 18th, 2010
12:20 pm
“Northcyde — Don’t be such a crybaby. Your point is off. It’s like a restaurant saying “We don’t have to improve our food, because you people aren’t eating enough of it!” That’s not how business works, friend.”

I wouldn’t say it the way he said it, but I tend to agree with his premise. How many businesses do you know that are reactive to attendance or traffic flow? Usually, businesses are pro-active in attempts to get their attendance/traffic flow up. You can’t expect people to fully commit to a franchise when there’s this *perception* amongst a portion of this fanbase that this team isn’t serious about winning a title. It’s up to management to take the necessary steps and be proactive about this issue of fan attendance, IE Arthur Blank.

Arthur Blank assured his fanbase that he was in it to win it, period. After purchasing the team, he took steps to get fans more involved and excited about the Falcons. I’m not saying Arthur Blank is the perfect owner, because he’s made his share of mistakes. But, nobody in ATL questions this guys will to win.


May 18th, 2010
12:35 pm

Avery is no better than Woodson. If they hire him, it’s back to obscurity for the Hawks.


Gurn Blanston

May 18th, 2010
12:38 pm

Wabe — You made my point. Arthur Blank decided he was going to spend the money to do it right, and guess what – the fans showed up. According to Northcyde, the Hawks are not going to spend the money unless the fans show up. Well, then the team and the fanbase are going to be stuck in mediocrity.


May 18th, 2010
12:43 pm

The Hawks did not re-sign Woodson because they want a coaching upgrade, right? Most coaching upgrades are already under contract with another team. There may be a few that are available.

IMO the Hawks need to consider Tom Thibadeau and Avery Johnson before they go any futher. I would not sign either until I had interviewed both. If those two don’t work out, then I would talk to Thunder Dan!

There are reasons that JVG, Byron Scott, & Sam Mitchell are not head coaches.


May 18th, 2010
12:50 pm

Regarding attendance figures, how about some good precision reporting on the following:

1) range and median income levels of season ticket holders for all NBA franchises
2) % of population at the above ranges that are season ticket holders in NBA markets
3) same as 1) above for all other game attendees
4) same as 2) above for all other game attendees
5) compare number of other sporting events in NBA markets (e.g. college, high school, recreation, pro)
6) average movie prices


May 18th, 2010
12:51 pm

Sautee, I totally agree too. But I will say if they decide to offer Joe a max deal, they should come to agreement but not sign the contract for 3-4 weeks after they agree. Because I may be wrong, but I think they can sign whoever they want first and then sign JJ and be able to add to the roster that way. If they re-sign JJ first then they will handicap themselves from being able to sign any other free agent outside of the mid level exceptions.


May 18th, 2010
1:03 pm

I don’t think they got rid of Woodson just for a coaching upgrade…although that shouldn’t be too hard. The main reason IMO is that the players just stopped listening to him. Getting another coach in here with some credibility should in itself help the team, even if he is not that much better of a coach. At least the players will listen.


May 18th, 2010
1:06 pm

There is a good read on Real GM about the Hawks coaching choices.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 18th, 2010
1:09 pm

“Response: If Avery takes this collection of players and get them to another level? His salary becomes **Nullified** at that point. Don’t you think? But, then again, we are talking Millions of dollars in differences”

Of course. If the Hawks pay an extra $2 million per year to Avery and he takes this team to the next level, that extra money is certainly worth it. I’m just saying, Avery ain’t exactly Phil Jackson, and if the Hawks decide to pay $2 million less to Tom Thibodeau they wouldn’t exactly be skimping; after all, it may turn out Thibodeau is a better coach, in which case spending the extra dough for Avery would just be stupid.


May 18th, 2010
1:10 pm

I want Thibodeau personally, but will support whomever they choose to hire!