The Thrashers “released” John Anderson on April 14, four days after the team’s final regular season game against Pittsburgh.
The Hawks “chose not to offer” Mike Woodson a new contract on April 14, four days after Orlando completed a four-game sweep in the second-round of the playoffs.
(Remember back when we used to call these firings? Lawyers.)
Before you ask — and I feel compelled to address this since readers have already asked me via email and blog comments — no, the Atlanta Spirit is not holding off on hiring coaches
to save money. The contracts are annual salaries, not hourly wages.
Here’s the bigger question: Is this a concern?
My view: No. And yes.
♦ Thrashers: Not a problem.
From the outset, it was clear that new general manager Rick Dudley had Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach John Torchetti on his radar. Even if Torchetti isn’t a lock for the job, we know he’s a high-profile candidate. But Dudley couldn’t talk to Torchetti before Wednesday night when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup.
Dudley has spoken to other candidates for the job, including Boston Bruins assistant Craig Ramsay, so it was just a matter of waiting for Torchetti. Also, for what it’s worth, Dudley said earlier this week that he didn’t expect to have a head coach in place before the June 25-26 draft. He also didn’t feel that was important. We can debate that. It doesn’t hurt to have a coach’s input on veteran players around the league should the Thrashers make a trade at the draft. But that’s Dudley’s view. Most importantly, he has not strayed from his plan.
♦ Hawks: Yes, potentially a problem.
If general manager Rick Sund and owners were waiting on the conclusion of the Los Angeles Lakers-Boston Celtics’ series to talk to a coach, the wait would be understandable. But there’s no indication they’re waiting to talk to an assistant on either staff (Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau already has accepted the Chicago Bulls’ job). There’s the longest of long shots that former Hawks star Glenn “Doc” Rivers could be available. But Rivers has a year left on his contract. He is likely to either return to the Celtics for one more season or take a one-to-two-year break from coaching to spend more time with his wife in Orlando.
What exactly is going on now? Nobody can be certain.
Avery Johnson, the strongest of the four candidates, took the New Jersey job. That leaves Dallas assistant and former Minnesota coach Dwane Casey, Hawks assistant Larry Drew and ESPN commentator Mark Jackson as the known finalists.
All have been interviewed. All are waiting. It had been expected that a decision would come by this week. The lack of a decision thus far has fueled speculation in the media and among fans that Sund and owners are not in complete agreement on a choice.
For the record, this is generally how things work: Sund makes a recommendation and the owners take it from there. Sund has said that ownership has accepted his recommendation in the past, such as the decisions to give Woodson a two-year contract in 2008 and the one to let him go after this season.
So what do you think? Are you concerned neither franchise has a coach yet?