Tag:Avery Johnson
Posted on: July 14, 2010 11:15 am
Edited on: July 14, 2010 1:09 pm
 

Billy King to Nets (UPDATE)

Former Philadelphia 76ers GM Billy King has accepted the job of replacing Rod Thorn as president of the Nets, the team announced Wednesday.

King was a finalist for the job along with his former Duke University teammate and former Cavs GM Danny Ferry. CBSSports.com reported Tuesday night that King had emerged as the favorite due to strong support from coach Avery Johnson, who is wielding plenty of power in the Nets' revamped hierarchy. King, who essentially executed Larry Brown's personnel vision during their time together in Philadelphia, will assume a similar role in New Jersey, where Johnson seems to be accomplishing his goal of having organizational control.

David Aldridge of NBA.com first reported the news.

“I am very pleased Billy King is coming on board as Nets President,” Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov said. “He has all of the qualities we've been looking for in a candidate: professionalism, good relations with the league, players and agents, and strong communications skills. He will be an excellent fit with Head Coach Avery Johnson. Most importantly, Billy is ambitious. He wants to win. This is what I felt when I met with him and why he will be a strong addition to the Nets organization."

It is likely that King will oversee the Nets' basketball operations as team president, with vice president Bobby Marks to be named GM. An announcement is expected Thursday, Thorn's last day with the team after a 10-year stint that included two NBA Finals appearances.

"I am very excited about joining the Nets organization," King said. "I want to thank Mr. Prokhorov and his executive team for the opportunity to oversee a franchise that has such a vibrant owner, an outstanding coach in Avery Johnson, and possesses the combination of young talent, cap space and draft choices that will allow us to build a squad that will be able to contend for an NBA title."

With Thorn's departure public knowledge entering free agency, the Nets struck out on all their top targets, including LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Carlos Boozer. The team continues to have interest in Rockets restricted free agent Luis Scola, but a person familiar with Scola's situaton told CBSSports.com Wednesday that Scola has yet to receive an offer sheet from any NBA team -- though he has two offers to play in Europe.

The Nets came out of free agency with a modest haul of Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow, Travis Outlaw and Johan Petro, all of whom are being introduced in a news conference at the team's New Jersey practice facility Wednesday.
Posted on: June 14, 2010 1:45 am
 

Wade not planning for Riley to coach


BOSTON -- Dwyane Wade sat courtside Sunday night for Game 5 of the NBA Finals, a stage that he desperately wants to revisit. His coach in the 2006 Finals, Pat Riley, recently floated the idea that, if asked, he wouldn't rule out a return to the bench. Wade, for one, isn't planning for such a comeback.

"That’s just something that was said," Wade said after the Celtics beat the Lakers 92-86 to take a 3-2 lead in the Finals. "That’s not anything we’re concentrating on right now in Miami."

Wade said Riley hasn't spoken with him recently about his plans for next season, when it is believed that a request from a marquee free agent would prompt Riley to come down from the executive suite and replace the highly regarded but ringless Erik Spoelstra on the sideline.

"Right now, Spo’s the coach and that’s what I plan for going forward," Wade said.

Wade, one of the top free agents of the frenzied summer that will begin in earnest July 1, prefaced his willingness to answer questions in the hallway leading to the locker rooms with the following caveat: "As long as it's not about free agency." But Wade did confirm a report in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that he spoke last week in Los Angeles with fellow prospective free agents Chris Bosh and Joe Johnson.

"We’re just friends," Wade said. "Just like you talk to your friends, we’re all friends and we all communicate."

Though Wade said he hasn't begun the recruiting process to help lure another star to Miami, the notion of Riley returning to coach could be a big draw. Of the teams with the most cap space to chase free agents, the Nets (Avery Johnson) and Bulls (Tom Thibodeau) have committed to new coaches. The Knicks already have Mike D'Antoni, who is close to several top free agents from his time as an assistant for Mike Krzyzewski with Team USA. The Clippers are holding out hope that they could lure Larry Brown or Phil Jackson, and the Cavs have made a five-year, $30 million play for the top name in college coaching, Tom Izzo.

For now, in Wade's mind, Riley should be excluded from that list. Just know that recruiting season hasn't really begun yet.  



Posted on: June 10, 2010 4:55 pm
 

Hawks closing in on coach; signs point to Casey


BOSTON -- The Hawks are close to making an offer for their head coaching position, with strong indications that Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey will be the choice, sources told CBSSports.com Thursday. But one of the sources cautioned that some members of the organization remain undecided among the candidates Atlanta has interviewed who are still available: Casey, Mark Jackson and assistant coach Larry Drew.

A decision is expected by the end of the weekend, with the Hawks scheduled to host pre-draft workouts on Monday, sources said. One person involved in the process said that all signs pointed to the Hawks moving forward with an offer to Casey as of mid-day Thursday. But later in the day, another person familiar with the situation said there was no final decision.

The team has yet to extend a formal offer, and the negotiation with Casey could take longer than expected given that his agent, Warren LeGarie, is traveling to the West Coast from Europe. The process has been delayed due to Jackson's broadcast schedule during the NBA Finals and the travel schedules of key members of the Hawks' ownership group. The indecision is the latest example of how difficult the decision-making process is for the Hawks, whose diverse ownership group is scattered among Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Boston.

Casey has been the favorite to replace Mike Woodson from the beginning of the Hawks' search, given his working relationship with GM Rick Sund dating to their days together in Seattle, when Casey was associate head coach under Nate McMillan and Sund was the GM. CBSSports.com reported May 20 that it was Casey's job to lose.

Drew, a loyal member of Woodson's staff, has emerged as a strong in-house option in the past two weeks. If the Hawks decide to enter negotiations with Casey, it is believed that Drew would be amenable to staying with the Hawks as Casey's top assistant. His relationship with the existing players, especially headstrong forward Josh Smith, would make him a valuable asset to Casey during the transition period.

In addition to Casey, Jackson and Drew, the Hawks also interviewed Portland assistant Dean Demopoulos and former Mavs coach Avery Johnson, who was named coach of the Nets Thursday.




Posted on: April 27, 2010 6:58 pm
 

Brown has Sixers in limbo

On the first day the Sixers could reach out to Larry Brown to discuss his interest in returning to the organization he led to the 2001 NBA Finals, all was quiet on the Next Town front. The Sixers, according to sources, were busy little worker bees on Tuesday -- making a list of coaching candidates, checking it twice, doing background checks and the like.

But make no mistake. The Sixers' world as we know it is in the hands of Brown, who continues to artfully dodge the notion that he is angling to return to the city where his wife and children live.

After the Bobcats were swept by the defending conference champion Magic, Brown reiterated Monday night, "I'm not coaching anywhere but Charlotte," and,"I'm not coaching anywhere but for Michael Jordan." These statements were part sincere and part lawyerly. Coaching is one thing. Being in charge of the whole shebang is quite another.

So while the Sixers' basketball staff, led by team president Ed Stefanski, is finalizing its list of coaching candidates to reach out to by the end of the week, sources familiar with the situation say no one's quite sure who will actually be hiring the coach. That's because it's understood that Stefanski is conducting the preliminary search with the understanding that he won't be around if Brown, 70, decides to return to his adopted home as the head of basketball operations.

"It all depends on Larry Brown," a person with knowledge of the situation said.

Sixers chairman Ed Snider fought the good fight Tuesday, blasting a report by Yahoo! Sports that detailed Brown's interest, right down to the coach (Atlanta's Mike Woodson) and GM (Wizards front office man Milt Newton) he wanted to bring with him. But Snider never specified which part of the report he was disagreeing with, saying only that the team hadn't reached out to Brown -- which, technically was true.

Of course, in Brown's case, the idea of contact -- who initiates it, and when -- is largely irrelevant. He has become the Bill Parcells of the NBA -- always denying the obvious. Everybody knows where to find Brown when it's time to do business.

In the meantime, the Sixers have formulated a wide-ranging list of former NBA head coaches, current assistants and current college coaches. Once it's pared down, the team is expected to begin contacting candidates for interviews toward the end of the week. The list includes Jeff Van Gundy, Avery Johnson, Sam Mitchell, Mike Fratello and Doug Collins among the former head coaches -- though there's little indication Van Gundy wants to return to the sideline. (Plus, why would any of the above interview for a job that could be decided by somebody else, namely Brown?)

Among the current assistants on the Sixers' list are Tom Thibodeau (Celtics), Dwane Casey (Dallas), Mike Budenholzer (Spurs), Monty Williams (Spurs), and Elston Turner (Rockets). The college coaches that have been discussed internally include all the usual suspects: Tom Izzo (Michigan State), John Calipari (Kentucky), Jay Wright (Villanova) and Rick Barnes (Texas).

But it really only comes down to one name if you're the Sixers. What can Brown do for you?



Posted on: July 8, 2009 4:11 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2009 4:34 pm
 

Pistons, Kuester agree on three-year deal UPDATE

The Pistons have agreed to a three-year contract with Cavaliers assistant John Kuester to be their next coach, CBSSports.com has confirmed.

Kuester, who previously worked on the Pistons' staff as an assistant when the team won the NBA title in 2004 under Larry Brown, is traveling to Detroit Wednesday night and is expected to be introduced Thursday morning after signing the contract, a person familiar with the situation said. The deal is fully guaranteed for three years, the person said.

The Pistons opened negotiations with Kuester, credited with diversifying Cleveland's offense last season under coach Mike Brown, after failing to agree to contract terms with former Mavericks coach Avery Johnson on Tuesday. The sticking point with Johnson, who is owed $8 million from Dallas over the next two seasons, was said to have been a third guaranteed year.

UPDATE: Kuester leaves LeBron James in Cleveland for a chance to sit in the first seat on a rapidly evolving Detroit bench. The Pistons were the first team to jump aggressively into the free-agent market last week, agreeing to terms with Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva. If team president Joe Dumars is unable to make other moves, those signings will effectively preclude Detroit from being a major player in the 2010 free-agent market that will include LeBron, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh -- unless they decide to sign extensions with their current teams this summer.

Dumars fired Michael Curry last week after only one season at the helm. Curry's inability to juggle the three-man backcourt of Richard Hamilton, Rodney Stuckey, and Allen Iverson in the wake of Dumars' decision to trade Chauncey Billups to Denver for A.I. is now Kuester's problem, though with slightly different names: Stuckey, Hamilton, and Gordon.

Kuester, 55, has paid his dues as an assistant in Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, New Jersey, Orlando, and Cleveland. His name quickly climbed the charts of head coaching candidates last season after Mike Brown gave him autonomy to revamp the Cavs' offensive approach following the team's acquisition of Mo Williams.


Category: NBA
Posted on: July 7, 2009 12:09 pm
Edited on: July 7, 2009 11:23 pm
 

Pistons pass on Avery, focus on Kuester (UPDATE)

UPDATES THROUGHOUT with Kuester negotiations:

The Detroit Pistons have passed on Avery Johnson in their search for a head coach and have entered into negotiations with Cavaliers assistant John Kuester, a person with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com. A person familiar with the negotiations said an agreement is expected within 24 hours.

Unable to satisfy Johnson's salary requirements and apparently unwilling to guarantee a third year, the Pistons have focused on Kuester, a former Pistons assistant under Larry Brown who is credited with diversifying the Cavs' offense last season after coach Mike Brown gave him autonomy on that side of the floor. Kuester has not employed an agent in his dealings with the Cavs, but he is being represented in his negotiations with Detroit -- by CAA Sports, the same agency that represents LeBron James.
 
Johnson seemed to have been in a position to work out a reasonable deal because Dallas still owes him approximately $8 million over the next two seasons. The Pistons, however, are in a similar position after firing Michael Curry last week. Detroit owes Curry about $5 million over the next two seasons.

Pistons president Joe Dumars traveled to Johnson's Houston-area home over the weekend to discuss the job. Previously, Dumars had stated that he wanted a coach in place in time for the Pistons' departure for Las Vegas summer league, which begins Friday. 

The focus on Kuester wasn't surprising on several fronts. First, given Dumars' emphasis on upgrading the team's offensive potency by coming to terms with free agents Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, Kuester's growing reputation as an offensive guru seemed to give him the edge over Thibodeau, who is widely regarded as one of the top defensive assistants in the league. The Pistons teams that advanced to six consecutive conference finals were built on defense, but it could be time for a change. It is not clear whether Dumars had reservations about Thibodeau's fairly rigid rotation system of defense, which is similar in style to the approach that wound up dooming the Cavaliers against Orlando in the conference finals. Thibodeau received credit -- and deservedly so -- for the Celtics' championship run in 2007-08, but his system benefited from having outstanding defenders like Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins

In addition to his history with the Pistons, Kuester also served on Brown's staff in Philadelphia when the team advanced to the 2001 NBA Finals in addition to stints in Orlando, New Jersey, and Boston. If money is as much of an issue with the remaining candidates as it was with Johnson, that may have tipped the scales in Kuester's favor as well. At close to $1 million per season, Thibodeau is one of the highest-paid assistant coaches in the league. The hiring of Kuester would have a ripple effect, too; it would help the Pistons and hurt division rival Cleveland, which would need to find a new offensive guru to replace him.


 

Posted on: July 2, 2009 12:55 am
 

Avery in driver's seat

With word Wednesday night that Doug Collins has removed his name from consideration for the Pistons' head coaching job, Avery Johnson has emerged as the clear favorite to succeed Michael Curry in Detroit.

As he did with the Sixers' job earlier this offseason, Collins flirted with the idea of returning to the sideline but ultimately couldn't resist staying in the relatively blissful world of basketball broadcasting. All in all, that's good for basketball fans because I think Collins is as good as it gets when it comes to NBA color commentators. A little over the top sometimes, but outstanding nonetheless.

So after Collins informed Pistons president Joe Dumars that he was no longer pursuing the job, a source familiar with the situation confirmed, it is now clearly Johnson's job to lose. The former Mavericks coach makes sense on so many levels. Dumars has stated that he wants a more experienced coach. Johnson was a winner in Dallas, and by now he's had time to reflect on some of the things he did wrong -- primarily being too rigid. The third box the Pistons can check off is that Johnson is still getting paid by the Mavericks next season, so he comes at a discount. For similar reasons, I believe Sam Mitchell will get the job in Minnesota. Dollars and cents and past success equals a new opportunity for both. Stay here for updates.

Posted on: June 30, 2009 1:39 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2009 5:44 pm
 

Pistons fire Curry; who's next? (UPDATE)

As most of the NBA was expecting the Detroit Pistons to gear up for pursuit of several free agents, they fired their coach instead. Michael Curry will not return to coach the team next season, the Pistons announced in an email to the media.

"This was a difficult decision to make," Pistons president Joe Dumars said. "I want to thank Michael for his hard work and dedication to the organization. However, at this time, I have decided to make a change."

UPDATE: Speculation immediately centered on whether Dumars would reach out to former Bad Boys teammate Bill Laimbeer, who resigned as coach of the WNBA's Detroit Shock earlier this month in the hopes of landing an NBA job. The timing is more than curious, but Laimbeer refused to comment when reached on his cell phone Tuesday.

"I've got nothing to say," Laimbeer said. "Thanks for the call."

Such unexpurgated charm (note sarcasm) is why Laimbeer has yet to land so much as an assistant's job in the NBA since retiring 16 years ago. He coached the Shock to three WNBA championships, then quit three games into the season because he wanted NBA executives to know he was ready for his chance.

They've known he's been ready, yet nobody has come calling. The Minnesota job figures to go to former Raptors coach Sam Mitchell, the 2006-07 coach of the year. Mitchell fits the low-budget description in that he has money coming to him from Toronto and thus would be a cheap hire. Anyway, the Timberwolves job won't be going to Laimbeer, even though Laimbeer has let it be known that he's interested.

But what about the Pistons? If there is an organization in the NBA with at least a few people who don't loathe Laimbeer, it would be the Pistons. The same Pistons who were about to hire another, even more despised member of the Bad Boys, Isiah Thomas, until Thomas spoiled late owner Bill Davidson's plans by announcing them before Davidson did. So Isiah was ex-communicated, all those years ago.

Laimbeer is the lone member of the Bad Boys still standing outside of Dumars -- and by standing, Dennis Rodman, we don't mean in front of a craps table. Only hours before diving into free agency with the cap space cleared from his ill-fated acquisition of Allen Iverson, Dumars is in a fix. His once dominant organization is in shambles. If he wanted to recruit his former bouncer to take some lumps for him and make the Pistons the hated, feared, and (in a twisted way) respected again, Laimbeer would be the choice.

That would be some press conference, you have to admit.

But it appears that Laimbeer will be on the outside looking in once again, as other more accomplished candidates begin to emerge. One of them isn't hard to figure out, since his name comes up with every NBA coaching vacancy: Doug Collins, who coached the Pistons for three seasons in the late 1990s and removed his name from consideration for the 76ers' coaching vacancy earlier this offseason.

Another, according to a high-level coaching source, is former Mavs coach Avery Johnson, who unlike Collins is much better suited to an NBA sideline than an NBA broadcast.

Curry was hired last June to replace Flip Saunders, who was fired after alienating the veteran core of a team that had advanced to six consecutive Eastern Conference finals and won the NBA title in 2004. Under Curry, the Pistons went 39-43 in a season that began with Dumars trading Chauncey Billups to Denver for Iverson's $22 million expiring contract, a move that sent the veteran Pistons reeling from their perch atop the conference. Curry had to endure a juggling act with Iverson, Rodney Stuckey, and Richard Hamilton, and alienated Hamilton by sending him to the bench in favor of Iverson.


UPDATE: There was no evidence that the Curry-Hamilton relationship was anywhere close to healing. One person connected to the situation said an article this week in the Detroit Free Press, in which Curry took more swipes at Hamilton, may have been the tipping point in Curry's firing.

But while Curry had to deal with the headaches from the Iverson trade, he will not reap the rewards. Dumars is set to go shopping for one or two major free agents at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, armed with the cap relief from Iverson's and Rasheed Wallace's contracts coming off Detroit's books.

The stunning announcement of Curry's firing sends a clear message that Curry and Dumars didn't agree on the direction the team will take in its efforts to rebuild. Bulls free agent Ben Gordon is believed to be at the top of Detroit's list of free-agent targets, which begs the question of what will become of Hamilton, the franchise's lone remaining star. The Pistons also are widely expected to make a run at Orlando free agent Hedo Turkoglu.

 
 
 
 
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