Avery Johnson has been out of the NBA coaching ranks since being fired by the Brooklyn Nets in December 2012. He’s been working as an NBA analyst on ESPN ever since. Now, it looks like he’s close to returning to the sidelines, at the college level, in Alabama.
A day after Alabama athletics director Bill Battle interviewed former NBA coach Avery Johnson, sources tell AL.com the talks are expected to progress Sunday.
The meeting in Dallas went well enough that a deal could be made as early as Sunday. Johnson is celebrating Easter at church with his family Sunday morning, AL.com learned, and hopes to have a resolution by late afternoon. The ex-NBA player is excited about the opportunity and challenge the Alabama job presents.
But the talks in Dallas appear to be headed toward a different outcome for the former NBA coach of the year.
Johnson took over as Mavericks head coach near the end of the 2004-05 season and won Coach of the Year the following year, taking Dallas to the Finals, where they lost to the Heat. He was fired in 2008, and two years later hired as the New Jersey Nets’ head coach. Johnson has never coached at the college level before. His son, Avery Johnson, Jr. just finished his freshman season at Texas A&M.
If Johnson takes the Alabama job, that takes one high-profile candidate out of the running for the handful of NBA jobs that will be open this summer. The Magic and Nuggets currently have interim coaches, and other teams that could be in the market for new coaches include New Orleans, Washington and Chicago.