Bower, Weber discuss search for new head coach

Wednesday, April 21, 2010
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

During a 15-minute session this morning, reporters from New Orleans TV stations interviewed Hornets general manager Jeff Bower and team president Hugh Weber. The entire chat is now available for viewing on Hornets.com, but if you don’t have time to watch all of it, here are a few primary points to note:

• The team is in the initial stages of its search for a new head coach. Management has not set a deadline on when a hiring would need to take place; Weber mentioned that since some potential candidates “are still working” during the NBA postseason, that could affect the timetable for a final decision.

• The Hornets have not ruled out any specific type of coaching background, meaning they would consider someone with only college experience, for example, or someone who currently is an NBA assistant but has not been a head coach in the league. “We’d gravitate toward someone who’s had success at the pro level,” Weber said, “but we’re not going to turn our backs on someone who’s a great coach (regardless of background).”

• Asked if New Orleans native and former Dallas Mavericks head coach Avery Johnson is a candidate, Weber responded, “Avery is a winner with a proven track record, so he’s someone we would consider.” On the subject of Johnson’s New Orleans roots, Weber said, “I think people in New Orleans love people who win. I think people like Sean Payton, too, and I don’t think (Payton) was born here. (Hiring a local) is not going to be the first priority, but certainly it’s well-documented that (Johnson is) from here.”

• On the team’s current assistant coaches, Weber said, “All of their contracts are currently being evaluated… (Bower) has first-hand knowledge of how they worked and he’ll be able to assess very well how they’ll fit in moving forward.”

• Asked about Chris Paul potentially playing for USA Basketball this summer, Bower said, “Chris’ participation – if you look closely at what he did say – hinges on his recovery and health at (the point in the summer when he has to decide). He would love to represent the Hornets and his country once again, but all of that is to be determined by the health of his body at that time.”

Bower and Weber also held a second, separate interview session with New Orleans print reporters. They often covered similar ground over the 20-minute interview – because many of the same questions were repeated – but here are a few other pieces of information:

• The opinions of current Hornets players regarding specific head-coaching candidates will not be solicited. As Bower explained, “(to do so) is not fair to the players or the new coach coming in.”

• Weber does not anticipate the transfer of ownership to have any impact on the hiring of a new coach. “The same folks who are being consulted now were consulted on all other major decisions,” Weber said. “It really doesn’t have any major bearing in terms of the type of coach that we’d be looking at.”

• The front office will be traveling to visit head-coaching candidates, as opposed to the interviewees coming to New Orleans to discuss the job.