Former Dallas Mavericks and then-New Jersey Nets head coach and current ESPN NBA analyst Avery Johnson has verbally agreed to be the next head men's basketball coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, per ESPN's Jeff Goodman.
Avery Johnson has verbally agreed to be the next head men's basketball coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide.
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ESPN's Jeff Goodman wrote about the development on April 5. The news comes on the heels of Alabama failing to lock up Wichita State Shockers head men's basketball coach Gregg Marshall to a deal worth $4 million annually.
Marshall dedided to remain with the Shockers on a seven-year, $21 million deal, per Goodman's sources.
Johnson, a former NBA Coach of the Year with the Dallas Mavericks in 2006, has no experience coaching in the collegiate level but "brings a high-profile personality to the program," per AL.com's Michael Casagrande. Johnson and his camp are still ironing out the details of his contract with the Crimson Tide.
After the Crimson Tide were unable to lure Marshall out of Wichita State, Casagrande says other candidates were considered. Alabama athletics director Bill Battle met with Johnson in Dallas on April 4 to discuss a potential deal, per a separate AL.com update.
Casagrande stresses the meeting takes place 20 days after Alabama fired former head men's basketball coach Anthony Grant.
The Crimson Tide fired Grant on March 15 after going 117-85 (.579) in six seasons at the helm, per Casagrande.
According to an April 5 news release from AL.com, talks between the two sides were expected to pick up on Sunday. Casagrande says Johnson and his family celebrated Easter in church and hoped to come to an agreement with the university by the afternoon.
"The ex-NBA player is excited about the opportunity and challenge the Alabama job presents," says Casagrande.
Once Johnson's hiring is made official, he will eventually coach against his son, Avery Johnson, Jr., who just concluded his freshman year with the Texas A&M Aggies. He averaged 1.4 points in 4.3 minutes per game during the 2014 NCAA season, per Casagrande.
The 50-year-old Johnson played in the NBA for 16 seasons. His most memorable one was in 1999, when he helped the San Antonio Spurs win their first NBA title after beating the New York Knicks, per Goodman.
Johnson retired in 2004 and later became Don Nelson's assistant with the Mavericks that year. Johnson earlier played for Nelson in Dallas during the 2002-03 NBA season. The former officially became Mavericks head coach in March 2005.
Johnson coached the Mavericks until 2008. He then became an ESPN NBA analyst for two seasons before accpepting a job offer to become the then-New Jersey Nets head coach in June 2010. The Nets fired him in Dec. 2012 after a 14-14 start to the season.
He re-joined ESPN as an NBA analyst the year after.
Johnson has amassed a 254-186 (.577) win-loss record in a combined six seaons coaching the Mavericks and Nets, per Basketball-Reference.com.
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