Last Coach Standing

Philip Maymin
Basketball News Services 

There are just two head coaching jobs still available in the NBA, and only one of those teams has a GM (Toronto appears to have no front office at all). The Hawks offer the world's last opportunity to coach an American NBA team... at least until turnover rears its ugly head once more. The Hawks have interviewed apparently everybody under the sun. They have already worked out 28 potential draft choices. Isn't it time for a decision? Isn't it time for a coach?

Yesterday the Hawks worked out Al Jefferson, Peja Samardziski, Anderson Varejo, and Brandon Bass. Peja says his favorite player is Darko Milicic, a potentially unfortunate comparison given the blonde bomber played only garbage minutes on the Pistons this year. Big Al and Peja have both worked out for Boston and Washington, and each had one other team (Big Al at New Orleans and Peja at Cleveland).

It's amazing that such strong players are working out in front of a GM who hasn't yet hired a head coach. The attractiveness of the opportunity to coach the Hawks wanes with every passing day. At first, it was an attractive opportunity because you could really rebuild the whole team. With only a handful of players returning under contract next year, you could let Billy Knight know what kind of players you like for your particular defensive and offensive systems.

Now, it's becoming more and more of a situation where you'll be walking into a pre-determined roster with players that are not exactly to your style. It just limits the potential field of head coaches.

It's not clear why the Hawks haven't made their decision. The only rational explanation might be a contract negotiation is already under way with a candidate's former team.

If it were up to me, and the money and tenor could be worked out, I'd go with Del Harris.

And fast.

With the recent news that
Utah will be playing in Russia this October 8, it behooves the world to remember that the Atlanta Hawks were the last NBA team to tour there, back in 1988. The Hawks were there when it was still the Evil Empire and Russia was spelled U.S.S.R. It would be the equivalent of the Jazz touring Iraq this year.

The Hawks Basketball Camp is right around the corner. It is for boys and girls aged 8-17 and will be held July 19-23 at Philips Arena. Click herefor more details.


Dennis Justice - Voice of the FANSwrites: The NBA and NBDL got humble quick, and you could sense it, if you went at all, in year two and especially year three. They moved the league office form New York to Greenville, South Carolina. They went to 12 minute quarters to match the NBA. They shortened their schedule to cut costs. They got new logos. They got a better TV deal for them with NBATV. They got those funky red, white, and blue balls that most everyone loves. The best marketing they did for Asheville was staging an NBA preseason game with the Atlanta Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers (yes, LeBron was there).

Hank Hager ofThe Oregon Daily Emerald writes: Jackson has visited Chicago, Portland, Sacramento, the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State, Atlanta, New Jersey, Cleveland and Tuesday, Boston. The common denominator among those teams? Nothing, really.The Warriors, Blazers, Bulls, Hawks and Cavaliers are all in the lottery, choosing their first-round selection in the first 14 picks. Boston, the Lakers, Kings and Nets all made the NBA playoffs, with Los Angeles advancing to the NBA Finals earlier this week. So where will Jackson go? "The most consistent thing I'm hearing is 10 to 15," he said by phone Tuesday.

Read the latest quotesfrom the players who tried out yesterday for the Hawks:Al Jefferson, Peja Samardziski, Anderson Varejo, and Brandon Bass.