There’s a growing belief in NBA circles that Avery Johnson is scaring some folks. It’s thought his chance of landing the New Orleans job, for which he seemed the leading candidate seeing as how he’s from the city, went bad when he apparently pushed to be named not just coach but director of basketball operations. Maybe Phil Jackson could get away with such a stance; Avery Johnson cannot.
The Hornets have apparently moved on to other candidates, and Johnson has since been interviewed twice by the Hawks. This makes some sense — he’s a high-profile guy who has taken a team to the NBA finals — but it shouldn’t be read to mean Johnson is the Hawks’ No. 1 choice.
The belief here — and it’s only a gut feeling from the outside; Rick Sund isn’t talking — is that Johnson is not the leader in the Hawks’ figurative clubhouse. The belief here, as it has been all along, is that Sund is favorably disposed toward Dallas assistant Dwane Casey, with whom the Hawks met over the weekend.
Again, I could be wrong. But Johnson seems to be pushing hard on several fronts — first with Philadelphia and New Orleans; now Atlanta and perhaps New Jersey — and general managers don’t always respond well to such tactics. As we know, Sund is a cautious man. He might not be ready to decide anything anytime soon. And the Little General is a man in a hurry.