Report: Avery Johnson snubs Hawks for the 12-70 Nets (UPDATED)

Avery Johnson (with Jason Kidd back in Dallas days) was a popular candidate among Hawks' fans.

Avery Johnson (with Jason Kidd back in Dallas days) was a popular candidate among Hawks' fans.

The Hawks’ only candidate with a proven record as an NBA head coach just took a job — and not in Atlanta.

Avery Johnson has reached a verbal agreement to become the next head coach of the New Jersey Nets, according to ESPN.com. Assuming the report is accurate, that means the Hawks are down to three known candidates: Dwane Casey, who briefly was the head coach of Minnesota and is a long-time friend of general manager Rick Sund; Larry Drew, who was Mike Woodson’s assistant and never has been a head coach; and Mark Jackson, an ESPN commentator and former player who never has coached at any level.

(UPDATE WITH CONFIRMATION AND COMMENT FROM JOHNSON)

According to the Newark Star Ledger, Johnson has confirmed the hiring but the Nets are holding off on the announcement.

“We’re excited about it: We’ve come to a verbal agreement, and hopefully the Nets will have an official announcement tomorrow,” Johnson told ESPN, where he works as an analyst. “But yes, I am coming to New Jersey.

The Nets were trying to delay the announcement for two reasons: [general manager] Rod Thorn himself still hasn’t signed a contract extension with owner Mikhail Prokhorov, and the Nets aren’t prepared to hold a press conference while their gym headquarters is overtaken by scouts from all around the league for the draft combine this week.

How do you feel now? What does it say that Johnson bypassed the Hawks for the Nets?

Do you think it’s a statement on the Hawks (roster), the ownership (multiple voices as opposed to one in New Jersey) or merely the fact that Nets owner Mikhail Prokorov might have offered more money (we isn’t known yet)?

The Hawks have made the playoffs three straight years. New Jersey has missed the playoffs the last three years and is coming off a 12-70 season.

As I noted in a previous blog, I don’t see how Johnson could conclude that job was better than this one, unless Prokhorov was simply blowing the Hawks out of the water with a better offer.

I put up a poll the other day asking who your first choice was among the four candidates. With over 1,400 votes, Johnson was the overwhelming pick at 65 percent. He was followed by Casey and Jackson at 14 percent each (Casey had one more vote at last check) and Drew at seven percent.

Johnson was the NBA’s coach of the year in Dallas and he took the Mavericks to the NBA finals. His winning percentage there was a sparkling .735.

How do you feel about this? Whom would you pick among the other three, or is there another candidate the Hawks should be talking to?

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

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154 comments Add your comment

TONE

June 9th, 2010
3:25 pm

what a shame

TONE

June 9th, 2010
3:26 pm

so who is the leader for the job now

TONE

June 9th, 2010
3:29 pm

I do believe there is another candidate out there (huddle house sources) but of the three you have to go with casey although i have a sneaky feeling
Jackson will be the coach of the hawks and he will annouce it during the finals

Jeff Schultz

June 9th, 2010
3:33 pm

Tone — Not sure if there is an obvious leader.

Soldierman

June 9th, 2010
3:39 pm

I think that avery wants to be apart of a team hebuilt and nursed to success. To me that would be the Only reason

allan in texas

June 9th, 2010
3:40 pm

More money and a possible GM role in the near future?

1893 Reporter

June 9th, 2010
3:41 pm

Why do we need a “Coach” to tell these players how to put the basket-ball into the peach basket?

When I played, we could do that on our own. We only needed an assistant to the players to fetch new basket-balls, apply ointments, schedule lady appointments and supply warm beverages. And then also an assistant to the assistant to man the ladder for removing said basket-balls from said peach and/or potato basket after a succesful try.

We often would score multiple times without “Coaching” and excessive “dribbling.”

Today’s game is for fancy pants. I have said my piece.

JustAThought

June 9th, 2010
3:41 pm

I don’t think Avery “snubbed” the Hawks……….more like the Hawks “snubbed” themselves. The ASG is a joke!

1893 Reporter

June 9th, 2010
3:42 pm

Allan in Texas is an example of the modern fancy-pants.

He should be removed from the internet.

Tucker T

June 9th, 2010
3:42 pm

I told you Jeff. DRAGO CRUSH HAWKS!

the only candidates?

June 9th, 2010
3:42 pm

your kidding,right?

TLAW

June 9th, 2010
3:42 pm

If this is true and ASG go with Drew as the Hire, it will say a lot about the future team and ownerships motives. It would make it clear that they only care about their bottom line and not winning..
Jeff do you know of any rumors of guys stuffed with enough money to buy the team or at least interested???

1893 Reporter

June 9th, 2010
3:43 pm

Please also remove TONE.

Thank you.

asheezy

June 9th, 2010
3:43 pm

This maybe the 3rd biggest blunder in Atlanta Hawks history (1.Trading Dominique Wilkins 2.Passing on Chris Paul or Deron Williams in the 2005 Draft). The Atlanta Spirit could have rejuvenated the fragile Hawks fan base by signing AJ. But now it looks like they will lose Joe Johnson and almost be forced to start from scratch. Casey will likely get the Hawks job and I’m not sure if he’s the man who can take them to the Finals. The Hawks need to do whatever it takes to do a sign and trade for Rudy Gay. Otherwise, the Hawks will be a .500 team next season. The future is looking bleak for basketball in this town.

newkid

June 9th, 2010
3:43 pm

The writer of the by-line is suggesting that Avery rebuffed an offer from the Hawks (i.e., “…Johnson snubs Hawks…”). No substance in article to substantiate such a by-line. When and what was the offer from Sund?

[...] Post By Google News Click Here For The Entire Article Review Maverick Money [...]

TONE

June 9th, 2010
3:44 pm

the owners may be very smart in business but it just seems like Johnson was the only real choice that would have given us the opportunity to win now, and not hiring him doesn’t make sense. this team is at the point where its time to win now or else. talk about losing fan support I hate to see if the hawks bring in a rookie coach or a retread and have a bad year .

JustAThought

June 9th, 2010
3:44 pm

I’ll put it to you like this……..would you want to work for a guy that has “BILLIONS” of dollars to spend…….or a group of clowns who can’t seem to got out of their own way?

Bill King of the Ewoks

June 9th, 2010
3:44 pm

BIG SURPRISE! The Hawks dropped the ball (again).

TLAW

June 9th, 2010
3:44 pm

ASG isnt smart in basketball business!!

True 5

June 9th, 2010
3:45 pm

agreed, money is power and money wins championships(Lakers, Celtics) and until the hawks can find a foreign billionare to buy out the ASG dont expect a championship in Atlanta anytime soon…

allan in texas

June 9th, 2010
3:45 pm

Right back at cha 1893 Reporter! Kick Rocks! Deuces!!!!!!!!!!!!

1893 Reporter

June 9th, 2010
3:46 pm

I cannot continue to monitor this site for sissy talk. I will point out the obvious ones in TLAW and this candidates person.

I do appreciate the commentary of Jeff S and Tucker T. I am not sure what a Drago is. But I suppose it is some form of Russian.

allan in texas

June 9th, 2010
3:47 pm

My opinion is just as good as yours. God bless you and have a nice day!

Jeff Schultz

June 9th, 2010
3:47 pm

1893 Reporter — What’s on the radio tonight?

heartofdarkness

June 9th, 2010
3:47 pm

Did the Hawks actually make an offer to AJ? Can’t be a snub if there is nothing to turn down. The savvy move might be to leave the coach’s chair empty on the bench and tell the fans the ghost of John Wooden is coaching the team.

1893 Reporter

June 9th, 2010
3:47 pm

Enter your comments here

Rock Preston

June 9th, 2010
3:48 pm

ASG didnt want to pay the man anyway.

TLAW

June 9th, 2010
3:48 pm

@ 1893 reporter….yes sissy talk isnt suggesting that the team play without coach…yeeeeeaaaaahh lets do that…makes a lot of sense buddy..what are you even talking about??

Jeff Schultz

June 9th, 2010
3:48 pm

TLAW– Let me check my bank balance … (pause) …. Nope, I can’t do it.

oldmike

June 9th, 2010
3:49 pm

Woddy is starting to look better.I can’t believe I said that. What a joke. Can the NBA and NHL take over these 2 franchises from ASG and give us a shot at competing? Of the 3 remaining candidates I like Jackson. Always a high energy competitor who understood intricacies of the game. A point guard. Played decent defense even tho’ he was SLOWWWWW.

TLAW

June 9th, 2010
3:49 pm

between me and you Jeff..I’m sure we could muster up about five dollars…which is what the Hawks and Thrashers value will be after ASG

1893 Reporter

June 9th, 2010
3:49 pm

Jeff, there is splendid broadcast of the Duluth Players production of…

My friend has advised me that your comment is one of satire.

I do not appreciate your candor.

Good day, sir.

Jeff Schultz

June 9th, 2010
3:50 pm

Newkid — True, we don’t know that Hawks had made Johnson an offer. But we know that he was still a candidate and we know that he took another job. Does that not qualify as a “snub”?

Jeff Schultz

June 9th, 2010
3:51 pm

heartofdarkness — asked and answered above.

Ben

June 9th, 2010
3:51 pm

You snooze, you lose. Avery Johnson didn’t snub the Hawks, it appears the Hawks couldn’t pull the trigger or didn’t put enough money on the table. Possibly the Hawks wouldn’t give him the control or contract he wanted. It is an open market and Johnson held the best cards. He didn’t snub, he just took the offer that suited him best.

Bangkapi Ajarn

June 9th, 2010
3:51 pm

From what I understand, the Hawks didn’t offer Johnson, so why would he or any other sane person (an assumption there, I realize) turn down working for a mega rich owner, with a very high draft pick coming and deep enough pockets for a major incursion into the FA market– just to wait for an offer that may or may not come from a franchise that appears to be fractured by multiple owners with multiple ideas on what is best?????????????????.

Sounds like Avery is one of those “bird in the hand” guys. Like most of us, I reckon.

Khao$

June 9th, 2010
3:54 pm

It makes me sick to my stomach, Jeff. For starters, the last guy who was a legitmate head candidate that we’ve hired was Lenny Wilkens. Kruger was a college coach. Stotts was an assistant. Woody was an assistant. And before I here he improved each year, I’m in the club that says the improvment had more to do with the natural maturation of NBA first rounders than anything Woody did from a scheme standpoint. We were a third seed!

This is the time we should be making a move towards the elite. Doesn’t seem like that will happen. I do think that Avery shunning the Hawks is an indictment against the team, more specifically the ownership group.

This coaching search is a shame. Better believe they were going after the cheapest person available that could do the best job. Johnson was never in the mix. It’s either Casey or Drew. Mark my words. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but we could have kept Woody if these were our options.

tyger

June 9th, 2010
3:54 pm

Avery took the better job…

Those 53 wins were Woodson’s, he’s gone! JJohnson will likely leave and the Bobcats have already superceded them. Now, they’ll have a rookie coach and Josh Smith – good luck with that!

There was always a very distinct possibility that the Hawks would go backwards this summer – its gone from possibility to probability now:

1. let go, after much disrespect, the GM and Coach, who put it all together;
2. played hardball unnecessarily with Smoove, Childress and JJ;
3. Lost Childress and about to lose JJ;
4. Mo Evans just opted-in – another nail in the coffin;
5. Draft upon us without leadership;
6. Sund drafts like Babcock;
7. Justice Dept. still investigating who signed Bibby for 3yrs/$18M;
8. No salary cap space and no money for luxury taxes;
9. Horford and Crawford contracts up next season;
10. GM gone next year too – after a horrible slash and burn.

newkid

June 9th, 2010
3:55 pm

Sorry Jeff, don’t think so. No offer = No snub.

Ninja

June 9th, 2010
3:55 pm

Please Ted Turner! Buy the Hawks away from this so called ownership group ASG! The longer Sund stalls the smaller the pool of coaches become. Why don’t we interview Jeff Van Gundy? I think it would be interesting to see the brothers go at it in the same division.

Clay

June 9th, 2010
3:56 pm

Was Johnson even offered the Hawks job?

RAD

June 9th, 2010
3:56 pm

Maybe the Hawks are going to allow all of their candidates to sign with other teams so they can take the last (& probably cheapest) coach left over. That way they can say that they tried. It seems like if the Hawks wanted Avery, he would have never made it to the Nets. I hope Hawks fans can get excited about Larry Drew.

S Hawk Fan

June 9th, 2010
3:56 pm

Don’t understand why the Hawks didn’t make Johnson a offer he couldn’t refuse! The ASG has to be some of the worst owners in any sports! But I think they will again settle for a coach and we will get the same thing we just had!
BTW… to the Woody lovers! His name is not even coming up in discussions in any of the other openings! Maybe everyone else has him figured out!
Jeff…. what do you think the Hawks will do now?

Jeff Schultz

June 9th, 2010
3:57 pm

Khao$ — I agree completely.

brandon

June 9th, 2010
3:59 pm

I didn’t want Johnson. We need a coach who can implement an offense, when Johnson coached Dallas they played the slowest brand of basketball and he just let Dirk post up and make decisions out of the post. Sounds like Woody’s Joe Johnson isolation offense to me. We need a coach who can get us up and down the floor, taking advantage of our athleticism. I want them to interview Dan Majele, assistant in Phoenix, but he said he didn’t know if he was ready to be a head coach just yet. I’m very glad we didn’t give an offer to the 5′6 rat looking man with a high pitched voice.

Jeff Schultz

June 9th, 2010
3:59 pm

Newkid:
snubbed, snub·bing, snubs
1. To ignore or behave coldly toward; slight.
2. To dismiss, turn down, or frustrate the expectations of.
(By my count, that’s 4 out of 6: ignore, behave coldly toward, slight, frustrate the expectations.)

You know, they just interviewed him for the third time. It’s not because they WEREN’T interested.

Bangkapi Ajarn

June 9th, 2010
4:00 pm

My hypothesis of why the potential coaching candidates are slipping thru the Hydra headed Hawks collective fingers (and there are truly a lot of them):

ASG=Paralysis by analysis.

Wait and see who can’t get a job anywhere else, then offer them a low ball contract. Or, in other words– :-)

Flush after a rigorous dump, seize the largest floating nugget remaining, and name it coach!!!

Yes, I am pessimistic in case anyone was wondering.

Jeff Schultz

June 9th, 2010
4:00 pm

S Hawk Fan — Don’t know.

bill

June 9th, 2010
4:01 pm

The ASG goes with Drew (it’s all about the bucks)…and that’s sure to keep JJ in town (yeah, right)…Plus, the ownership team didn’t want the “big” announcement to take any coverage away from the Finals!

While the Hawks fans here in the ATL care about this coaching hire, the rest of the league is snoring…it’s lonely being a Hawks fan! I miss Hubie & John Drew.