Hawks Talk to Sonics Associate Head Coach Dwane Casey

Philip Maymin
Basketball News Services 

The Hawks continue their neverending quest of talking with other assistants in their search for a new head coach. A day after looking to talk to Denver assistant John MacLeod, the Hawks have targeted Seattle associate head coach Dwane Casey.The Atlanta Journal-Constitutionreports tomorrow's possibilities include Detroit assistant head coach Mike Woodson and Indiana associate head coach Mike Brown. Is this the right way to find a coach? Or is it just busywork?

From one perspective it is nice to see the team is doing its due diligence in its search for a replacement for Terry Stotts. The Hawks are clearly taking their time in trying to find the right man for the job. But the universe of applicants that they are considering is a bit odd.

Of course, many head coaches rise from the ranks of assistant and associate, so it is a fertile pool to dip into. But this shotgun approach of talking to virtually everybody reflects more than just an attempt to be diligent and careful: it reflects the Hawks' utter lack of direction.

As a case in point, three of the most recent head coach positions filled were done with a clear plan and a vision. Philadelphia took local Jim O'Brien for his emphasis on defense and his ability to get along with star players. Boston snatched Doc Rivers before Atlanta even had a chance to consider him because of his friendship with Danny Ainge, his desire to run an up-tempo team, and his ability to mold a team around a single superstar. New Orleans, while not having made a final decision yet, is probably going to hire Byron Scott because of his record in New Jersey and his experience maximizing the talents of a superstar point guard.

What about Atlanta? What is their vision of the future? Are they looking to be a hard-nosed, tough, physical defensive team? A run-and-gun offensive team? Or a perpetual collection of rag-tag individuals thrown together at random points just like this season has been?

The biggest thing Atlanta's search represents, both in its duration and scope, is a lack of focus. Had Terry Stotts been an assistant with, say, Milwaukee, as he had been under George Karl, the Hawks would be talking to him now. And perhaps he would emerge as a strong contender for the job.

So why did they fire him? And why did they fire himafterDoc Rivers had already agreed to go to Boston?

Because the Hawks lack focus and direction.

The 2004 Hawks Summer Basketball Camp is set for July 19-23 at Philips Arena. For more information, click here.

Fans are voting on for what type of head coach the Hawks should hire. The runaway favorite is a former NBA head coach, followed at a distant second by a current NBA assistant, then a prominent college coach, then other. It is surprising that the fans want a former NBA head coach (George Karl?) while the franchise seems to be focusing on assistants only.


Michael Lee ofThe Atlanta Journal-Constitutionwrites: The Hawks' coaching search isn't limited to 60-somethings. The Seattle SuperSonics have granted permission for the Hawks to speak with SuperSonics associate head coach Dwane Casey, team spokesperson Marc Moquin said Wednesday. Casey, 47, has been with the SuperSonics since the 1994-95 season and was promoted to his current position when Nate McMillan became head coach in November 2000. Last summer, Casey competed with recently fired Hawks coach Terry Stotts for the Milwaukee Bucks job that eventually went to Terry Porter. Casey, who began his coaching career at the University of Kentucky in 1979 as a graduate assistant, was unavailable for comment Wednesday... Other candidates who may receive a call are Detroit Pistons assistant Mike Woodson and Indiana Pacers associate head coach Mike Brown. 

Danny O'Neil ofThe Seattle Post-Intelligencerwrites: The Hawks have asked the Sonics for permission to talk to associate head coach Dwane Casey about the team's vacant head coaching position, Seattle general manager Rick Sund said. Casey could not be reached for comment yesterday. He interviewed for head coaching jobs in Toronto and Milwaukee last summer, and was on the Boston Celtics' short list of candidates last month before the Celtics hired Doc Rivers to replace interim coach John Carroll.

Jill Young Miller ofThe Atlanta Journal-Constitutionwrites: Philips Arena has fixed all problems that led to 119 fire code violations at the Atlanta sports and entertainment venue, city fire officials said Wednesday."This is — and has been — a safe venue," fire Chief Dennis Rubin said.