Apparently everybody loves Avery Johnson, or at least a lot of GMs do

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Thumbnail image for Ajohnson.jpgThe Little General has options.

Avery Johnson is apparently a popular choice among general managers around the league and could be the guy in New Orleans or New Jersey, according to reports.

The New Orleans Times Picayune reports that he is a frontrunner for that head coaching vacancy — however to return to his hometown he wants more. Johnson is said to want the dual role of head coach and vice president of basketball operations. He wants to be the man, the big cheese, the head honcho.

If true, that could cost him the job. The Hornets have not indicated they want someone in both roles. (Maybe Johnson realizes he’s not getting the job, so asking for too much is a way to save face. Who knows? Just thinking out loud.)

The pace of the head coaching search in New Orleans has slowed because of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Seriously. Incoming owner Gary Chouest is an oil man in the Gulf and while it was not his company nor pipeline that burst, he has been devoting almost all his time to helping contain and clean up the spill. Very important work that takes precedence over a basketball coach in everyone’s mind. Well, except the mind of some basketball coaches.

Chouest also has not taken full control of the team. Reports are Johnson — like David Stern before him —  is frustrated with the pace of the sale. Lawyers involved have said it’s just a matter of a few minor details but that this is going forward. Soon. As will the coaching hire.

Johnson may not wait, he has options. Like in New Jersey, where he is the leading candidate for the Nets head coaching job, according to the Daily News. Which is interesting, as he doesn’t interview with them until next week.

The Nets just had an ownership change as well and are in the first stages of job interviews for their head coaching gig. But for the record, they are set at VP of basketball operations.

Johnson also has interviewed for the Atlanta Hawks job.

Kobe Bryant says his age 37 is not like Michael Jordan’s age 37

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Once again, Kobe Bryant‘s career arc is being compared to Michael Jordan’s.

There’s a lot of reason’s that’s flawed — starting with Kobe being drafted on to a Lakers team that had Shaquille O’Neal and was already considered NBA elite, as opposed to Jordan working to build a franchise up. That said, Kobe has invited the Jordan comparison at times and it has been a constant through is career. Fair or not.

Kobe is coming back this fall after seasons of injury to the NBA and those comparisons continue — now to the Wizards’ version of Jordan. And Kobe is not at all fond of that, as he told Sam Amick of the USA Today.

“This is uncharted territory,” he said. “My 37 (years old) isn’t MJ’s 37 (when he returned after taking two seasons off to play for the Washington Wizards), you know what I mean? Nor is it the same team or the same system that he was playing in. It’s much, much different. There’s really no barometer, no (precedent) for training physically, for recovery. It’s uncharted territory.”

Kobe is right. Jordan had four+ seasons off by the time he was 37 and was not coming off multiple major surgeries.

Kobe is entering his 20th NBA season and what any real basketball fan should wish for him is health. Let him play one full season (with limited minutes and nights off), let him get to the final game of this season next April and make his own decision on his future. Let him leave the game on his own terms.

That said, if Kobe can average Jordan’s numbers at that age — 22.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game — it will be a major accomplishment, and the Lakers will have a better record than many of us expect.

And Kobe may want to play a 21st season as well.

Celtics ease to 124-91 win at Olimpia Milano in Global Games

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MILAN (AP) — The Boston Celtics eased to a 124-91 victory over Olimpia Milano at the Mediolanum Forum on Tuesday, comfortably winning the first of a double-header in Europe as part of the NBA Global Games.

Isaiah Thomas led the way for the Celtics with 18 points, including nine in his first seven minutes after coming off the bench midway through the first quarter.

Jared Sullinger added 14 points, as did Avery Bradley, who also had four three-pointers, while David Lee weighed in with 13 as well as seven rebounds and three assists.

Alessandro Gentile – who is reportedly wanted by the Houston Rockets, who hold NBA rights to the 22-year-old – top scored for Milano, with 19 points.

Next up for the Celtics is Real Madrid in Spain on Thursday.