Atlanta Hawks: Coach countdown

In the latest tangential, incremental update on the Hawks’ coaching search, Byron Scott tells Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News that Avery Johnson is the favorite for the Nets’ job. (Love how they managed to get Phil Jackson in that headline, too.)

ASG honcho Michael Gearon Jr is back in town. Mark Jackson is in town to meet with the owners today. Larry Drew interviewed yesterday. Dwane Casey is waiting. That might be about it for the final candidates.

So who do you want? AJC wise guy Jeff Schultz likes Johnson but was nice enough to ask for your input, too.

I went on 790 The Zone yesterday and was asked which guy I considered to be the frontrunner for the position. I answered the way no one seems to want to hear nowadays: “I don’t know.” I could have speculated that it’s Casey because of his ties to Sund, which seems to be the thing to do. Of course, a couple weeks ago Johnson was all the rage, with some media declaring him the favorite before the Hawks had even talked to the other three. Now you add Jackson to the equation. Drew has his supporters in the organization, too.

The point I’m trying to make is, the Hawks are having internal deliberations about the candidates. This is what happens in organizations, especially when there are multiple owners with perhaps differing opinions. Rick Sund is in charge of the search but obviously ASG will have its say. So who is the favorite? I suppose it depends on whom you ask in the organization and when you ask them. Some time soon the Hawks will decide on a coach, make him an offer, sign him and announce to everyone that he’s been their guy all along. I look forward to that day.

– On a more important note, I’m pulling for summer commenter Ken Strickland to make a full recovery. Stay strong, Ken.


199 comments Add your comment


June 7th, 2010
2:30 pm

Just name a coach and let’s move on to the draft process..


June 7th, 2010
2:38 pm

What happened to Ken…..and the Hawks in the playoffs?


June 7th, 2010
2:40 pm

Who do you think will resonate with the players? This team needs a change in attitude and we need a coach who can relate to the young guys. You could see it on the court in Woodys last days that the team just didn’t want to play for him anymore or buy into his some ‘ole some ‘ole schemes.


June 7th, 2010
2:40 pm

ken strickland, hang on in there my man.there’s nothing that JESUS can’t heal.with man things are impossible but with GOD,nothing is after JESUS AND YOU WILL MAKE IT.MY PRAYERS AND LOVE IS WITH YOU.

avery johnson

June 7th, 2010
2:42 pm

(in an extremely obnoxious high-pitched squeel)

When it comes to me being the Atlanta Hawks coach, i’d like to bring up the 4 F’s.

Facts – The Facts.
It doesn’t really matter what my winning percentage is. It is merely a reflection of the regular season talent I was blessed with. I am not really that great of a coach. I was never that great of an NBA player, but for some reason I feel the need to micro-manage players to the point where to remaine sane, they must ignore me completely. If you’re interested in me simply because of my ability to win games that don’t matter,
consider the recent fortunes of Mike Brown and Mike Woodson.

Fans – The fans.
The only ones who want me. They only want me bcause of my winning
percentage and my 1 ring. The front office knows I want more money and power than i’m worth. My nick name, The Little General, merely points to my unfortunate case of napoleon complex. But, by all means, please over pay me. I bring nothing more to the table than Woodson.

Finishing – Finishing.
I’m a terrible finisher. I get good regular season records and then blow an entire season’s hard effort by making horrible decisions in the playoffs. I don’t know what happened. No one was listening to me. But, Mark Cuban was breathing down my throat, and Dirk is soft.
You can expect similar results, because your superstar, Joe Johnson, is not a champion either.

Fraud – In sum, I am a fraud that should not be taken seriously by anyone.


June 7th, 2010
2:42 pm

oh, and all three writers (MC, Schultzie, MB) blogging about the Hawks coaching on the same day….snoozer. How about some news on what our Hawks are up to these days and what kind of coach they think will energize the line up.


June 7th, 2010
2:43 pm

We now know why ASG thought Sund was a perfect fit, because he too is clueless, and a slacker

Michael Cunningham

June 7th, 2010
2:52 pm

@Westurd: not trying to be coy, but it’s hard for me to say since i haven’t had any firsthand experience watching any of the candidates closely. plus, you just never know how a guy is going to fit, with the notable exception of Drew.

Johnson’s intensity would certainly be a jolt for the Hawks. Casey has been coaching in the league for a while now, so he knows the ropes and he apparently has made a good case for what the Hawks need and how he can provide it. Drew is respected by the players and has some differing philsophies from Woody. Jackson comes across as an honest, direct communicator and a leader.

i agree that the players seemed out of it at the end of Woody’s tenure but i still think it’s going to take more than just a coaching change to rectify that. the Hawks probably need more serious guys in the locker room, too.


June 7th, 2010
2:52 pm


We need a coach with a National Persona…A coach who can change the perception of the Hawks franchise. There are only 2 coaches on that list with a National Persona…HIRE ONE OF THEM!!!!

We needed to hire a coach that tells free agents, we are serious about winning in ATLANTA…Neither CASEY OR DREW covey that message.

Johnson and Jackson are the best winners of the candidates and have had to overcome the most as players(NO Athleticism)

PS. Our 1# need in next year is the development of a PG…and they are both former PG

Michael Cunningham

June 7th, 2010
2:54 pm

@Westurd: “oh, and all three writers (MC, Schultzie, MB) blogging about the Hawks coaching on the same day….snoozer. How about some news on what our Hawks are up to these days and what kind of coach they think will energize the line up.”

well, my excuse is that it’s my beat and the team doesn’t have a coach, so it’s kind of like topic A right now. but i can tell you what the Hawks are up to: they are looking for a coach who will energize the lineup.


June 7th, 2010
2:57 pm

Just another reason why I don’t like having multiple owners. Too many opinions.

Larry Drew has a strategic advantage. He had courtside seats to all the Hawks issues, so he can outline various ways in which he can help overcome these issues, and how he can help maximize the players’ talents.

I wonder if Drew commented on his relationship with JJ, because if they have a good relationship, that can be used as a positive.


June 7th, 2010
3:05 pm

It seems as though the players respected Woody, but are ready for a new voice as well. I wonder if they perceive Drew as a breath of fresh air or Woody: Part Deux


June 7th, 2010
3:15 pm

Josh Howard

Maybe Avery can Rehab Howard…He will be a UFA this year?

Big Ray

June 7th, 2010
3:16 pm

MC ,

Clearly it will take more than a new coach to change this culture. A new coach will help if he’s the right guy, but some of our guys have to either get their minds right or go elsewhere. One has the option of going elsewhere come July 1st. Those who are still under contract are going to have to get on board with a winning and hard-working, team-first attitude, or we need to ship them out.

Much easier said than done, of course….but that’s why I’m a fan, and this is a blog…

Big Ray

June 7th, 2010
3:17 pm

I am soulstar

Excellent point there, amigo…


June 7th, 2010
3:19 pm

Is Bobby Knight on the list, he would be good coach for the Hawks


June 7th, 2010
3:27 pm

1st and foremost – Ken S. -
Please, I implore you;
“The Shack”
by ‘William P. Young’
I read it this weekend & it affected me deeply.
I would not steer you wrong my friend.
Buy, borrow, or check it out, but please read.


June 7th, 2010
3:38 pm

I wish the Hawks could have signed Hubie Brown to a one or two year contract, while waiting for Rivers to take a year or two off and then pursuing Rivers to take over. Hubie Brown is a better coach than ANY of the candidates. So to have him for a season or two, while you build up a case for Rivers would’ve been a great idea!


June 7th, 2010
3:42 pm

Let’s be Honest. ASG is cash strapped! They have two pending Law suits that will not allow them to be players in this Summer’s Free agent shopping spree. Coaching change, sources tell me that Coach Woodson was underminded by Managemnets/GM Sund. Here’s the Facts. Why would you as a GM not give your Head Coach a Advance Scout for the season??? If you really didn’t want Woodson 2yrs ago when you got here, I guess thats explains why you didn’t jump on the Suns trade offer of A’mare for Smooth?? Why would you as GM allow your Asst GM. Mr.David Pendagraph to visit players at home and try to dig up Dirt or try to create Chemsity issues between Smooth and Woodson?? Why would you as GM try to undermind the Head Coach by talking or Huddleing up with players after practice and give the last word??? That’s the Head Coaches job. Then we hear you want to bring in Casey who should still be the T-Wolves Head Coach (But he was underminded too) By McHale. If you have a Better choice for the position, Then sign him! Stop the grab Assing, side stepping and make a Damm decision. STOP Letting Mr.Pete Smith Sr, call any shots. Now were hearing Larry Drew might be your choice, how is this possible? Did you just think of this????? Or is this something you planted in Drew’s ear/head Months ago??? Either way it stinks!!! Show us some GM skills!! Pull another Jamal Crawford out you Hat. Get a Better Coach than Woodson in here and Let’s Win A Damm Championship. instead of passing the Blame. P.S. If you are banking the Franchise on Josh Smith (Smooth’s) Great on the Court Mindset. Man your _UCKED!!

buckhead benny

June 7th, 2010
3:44 pm

Dude- Mike Woodson mark my words will go down as one of the worst coaches in hawks history-
Any one of us can play our top 6 guys 40 minutes every game- That isn’t coaching and thats why you saw them get blown out by 45 pts in the opener at Orlando- More importantly, you guys give Mike a pass on so many things- How about the signing of Joe Smith, and Jason Collins- You guys should pull out your quotes from Woodson before the season I remember him saying” I finally have a bench that i feel comfortable that we can go 10 deep with- He also commented on how much of a positive role Collins, and Joe smith would be come playoff time- And they guys barely made it onto the court- ALL SEASON- More importantly, he kept the young pt guard to like 6 minutes a game all season long which i think most reasonable people would conclude is not going to do anything for you come playoff time or for this kids confidence.
Everyone blasted Woodson before this season hoping he wouldn’t play the starters so much during the season so come playoff time they will be rested but more importantly you have other guys that will be ready to step in and compete because they have all year. Also, you need to have your bench playing more during the season because it keeps Joe, Josh and others honest. They don’t think they are more important than the sum of the parts. Also, you don’t leave yourself hanging if Joe has a terrible game or Jamal- And thats all the other teams did was take out those two come playoff time and stupid Woody never made any adjustments.


June 7th, 2010
3:46 pm

Make Pete Smith, Josh Smith Dad the Head Coach?? He’s calling the shots anyway????


June 7th, 2010
3:46 pm

Ditto, Marvin. Speculating on the potential of draft picks is way more fun than on the success of a new coach. I mean, coaches can’t even dunk!


June 7th, 2010
3:49 pm

Enter your comments here


June 7th, 2010
3:56 pm

Thanks for the response. I’m going to focus on the World Cup for a few weeks and take a break on all this coaching stuff. Hopefully our Hawks can reach a decision by then. Whenever you get a moment in your busy schedule in would be interesting to hear if Woody’s been talking with anyone?


June 7th, 2010
3:58 pm

Byron Scott would be a good fit.


June 7th, 2010
4:06 pm

I can’t believe Tyrone Corbin isn’t getting an interview.


June 7th, 2010
4:07 pm

i posted some blogs back that i thought LDrew woulda been a great/better choice than Woodson 3 yrs ago!!! NOW…i think the Hawks need all things NOT Woodson…and unfortunately that includes Drew for me…timin’ is just not right IMHO. this team needs a TOTALLY fresh look…again IMHO.

Mark Jackson commentates a great game!! you can tell this cat is smart and a leader…which this team desperately needs!!! could he transform that into great coachin’??? i don’t know…but none of the other coaches move me that much. in a perfect world it SHOULD be Jackson or Drew. BUT…


June 7th, 2010
4:09 pm

why isnt byron scott a candidate?


June 7th, 2010
4:10 pm

Casey is at least as qualified as anyone else interviewed, and he’s the best fit.
Even if Avery Johnson is a phenomenal coach, I don’t think the Hawks and him would mesh.
Rick Sund has worked on good terms with Casey before.
They must sit down and discuss/develop a new, BK free vision for the Atlanta Hawks team.

Hire the coach who proposes the best system.
Hire the coach who seems most able to get players to buy into said system.
Figure out the direction of the team in regards to:

**Joe Johnson’s new contract, or lack thereof / how to replace through draft / FA
**Josh Smith / Al Horford both wanting to play the 4.
**Developing Jeff Teague / lack of depth at the starting PG spot
**Jamal Crawford’s contract / trade value
**Josh Childress contract / trade value
**Bolstering the bench through draft or FA
**What do do about Marvin “this is just a job” Williams

Melvin Flowers Macon Ga

June 7th, 2010
4:14 pm

Fire Rick Sund From Gm Let Him Coach The Hawks, They Will Have A New Woodson Back Next Season, Reason Why Their Management Is Soft Like The Hawks.
The Hawks Owners Love Sorry Coaches.


June 7th, 2010
4:16 pm

last time i’ll say this, i promise, but mark jackson is an atrocious commentator


June 7th, 2010
4:28 pm

BBgenie – You sir are a nay-sayer.

James & Tim + others:
The reason Byron Scott is not a candidate is…..
he is ‘NOT’ a very good coach.


June 7th, 2010
4:41 pm

doesn’t matter who the best coach is.
what matters is that the coach, the players, and management are all on the same page.
Worst comes to worst, we end up sucking.
At least then they’ll fire Sund too, along with whomever he decides to hire.

Doc Rivers is not the prophet he’s made out to be. The fact that everyone in that entire organization is on the same page, working “together” to do what it takes to win a championship, reflects positively on him. Hawks need something similar.

F-105 Thunderchief

June 7th, 2010
4:47 pm

The apparently tiny pool (and weird, with non-coach Mark Jackson) Sund is fishing is may say a lot about the GM. And, it ain’t good. Tyrone Corbin doesn’t get a sniff? Really? Geez. Well, then hire Casey and get it over already, genius.


June 7th, 2010
5:01 pm

G-Dads Trade o’ the Day:

* Marv to Minnesota

* Ramon Sessions
* Minnesota’s # 16 pick in draft.
(they have 3 1st round picks) [16, the middle pick]

Minnesota’s motivation = they don’t need 3 rooks.
They need a [3] small forward.
Marv is young & exp.
He is better than anything they will get @ 16.
they unload ‘Sessions’.

Hawks motivation = besides the obvious [*]
*[Marvin misanthropists]
@ 16 possible/available:
* Paul George ??? – doubtful but maybe
* Xavier Henry – same, but keep fingers crossed.
* Larry Sanders – *BINGO*!!!
*has been compared to ‘Theo Ratliff’
Sessions would make a perfect back-up to Teaguer:
[good scorer, can't shoot 3, good contract]


June 7th, 2010
5:13 pm

lot of confusion here….strange….. there are 8 billion people you could choose from as coach……we just need one…..

And sadly no one mentioned here comes close to what we need

Jerry West

June 7th, 2010
5:19 pm

Sessions would be a good get, and would probably start over Teague. But Marvin makes twice what he does, so it’s not much of an “unloading”. And Minny would give up a mid 1st pick. Seems like they could do better.


June 7th, 2010
5:24 pm

I’m just laughing at where all of this “patience” came from, when it comes to talking about Doc Rivers. So you guys that wanr Rivers here, is willing to hire what is essentially a “lame duck” coach, then possibly have Rivers take over the team in a year or two.

Wow. Expectations have dropped THAT MUCH?


June 7th, 2010
5:29 pm

The Hawks are waiting for the end to the Lakers/Celtics series to see what Doc is going to do. I believe Doc will take a year off from coaching to help his NBA bound son during his senior year. Why not???
If that is true, check with Doc to make sure that he will not take the Hawks HC position now. Then if Doc is taking the year off, offer the HC position to Mark Jackson and reveal this plan to him. Offer him a 3 year contract with the 2nd and 3rd year being a team option. If he is doing a great job after the first year, then reup him for the next two years. If not, then go get Doc Rivers. He will be ready after taking the year off to be with his son!


June 7th, 2010
5:36 pm

Even though I’m ready to trade Marvin, something tells me he’d have a breakout season next year if Joe leaves.


June 7th, 2010
5:38 pm

Oh Yeah:
I know the topic is coaches before someone informs me.
It’s just that every time MC changes the blog;
G-Dad does his “Trade o’ the Day”.
Coaching – near & dear to my heart !
I’m pullin’ for Avery.
However, I figure Casey is gonna get it.
Wouldn’t it be cool if they threw us a curve?
“oughta’ the blue”
Hired none-other than Ben Howland / UCLA.
You talk about playin’ defense.
Look @ how his players are ready when they come into the league.
*Mbah a Moute
*Jrue Holiday
*Westbrook, et al

Now, the only reason I brought this up is;
awhile back I mentioned Izzo as a potential candidate for us,
even before Woody was dismissed.
Quite a few of you fellas lit into me pretty good, (fun though)
about the trasitioning of a college coach.
So, now it appears, Cleveland wants or wanted Izzo.

Ain’t gonna happen – I know.


June 7th, 2010
5:43 pm

Jerry West – They are gonna bring the kid over from
Spain or wherever he is overseas sometime. I read
[over the week-end] that Rubio? really liked Rambis
whom he just recently met.


June 7th, 2010
5:45 pm

You guys wanna hire Mark Jackson? Hiring Mark Jackson is like marrying some random chick in Vegas. I mean it’s ok and only human to be intrigued by the unknown, but when you’ve got a girlfriend of 6 years who’s already wife material, why take a gamble on some stripper who had her last blood test 25 sex partners ago? Let’s stick with the experienced and proven hires please.


June 7th, 2010
5:47 pm


I like the idea of trading Marvin, because he makes $6.7 mil this season. Next season, he makes $7.5 mil, and then his last year, he makes $8.3 mil. Unfortunately for us, his value is low.

Minnesota plans to go after Rudy Gay this offseason. They have salary cap space to get him, and should be able to work out a sign and trade if the Grizzlies choose to go that route. Plus if they trade Sessions, they dont have a veteran backup PG.

Now depending on their draft picks, and if they strike out on Gay, we may be able to re-evaluate later in the offseason.

allan in texas

June 7th, 2010
5:51 pm

I believe that Minnesota has a small forward and his name is Corey Brewer.


June 7th, 2010
5:53 pm

Hey MC, pick a guy who you think will get the coaching job.
A. Dwayne Casey
B. Avery Johnson
C. Mark Jackson
D. Larry Drew


June 7th, 2010
5:55 pm


Memphis is on record as saying:

“They are not letting Rudy leave”.

I know Memphis is not the garden spot of the universe,
It gets cold in Minny !

I mentioned above…..^…..Rubio !
Flynn/Rubio – Rubio/Flynn = How many pg’s do they want?
Anyway, food for thought.


June 7th, 2010
5:56 pm

Let hire Brian Shaw!!!!!!!


June 7th, 2010
5:57 pm

allan in texas – then perhaps I should have
included him in the trade.


June 7th, 2010
6:04 pm

Granddad, You are right on the money about “The Shack”