Avery Johnson name emerges as potential Cavaliers head coach

By Vincent Frank
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not yet known whether Larry Drew will retain the Cleveland Cavaliers head coaching job beyond the 2018-19 season. Heck, Cleveland might look for an outside replacement for the recently fired Tyronn Lue this season.

Drew and the Cavaliers are in the midst of a stalemante. He wants to be named the full-time head coach while being given a raise from his current $1 million salary. Drew’s contract also expires following the season.

If the Cavaliers are to look in another direction, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst suggests that executives around the league believe that former NBA player and current Alabama head coach Avery Johnson is a realistic option.

“One interesting name being discussed by executives as a possible future coach in Cleveland is Avery Johnson,” Windhorst reported. “For years, owner Dan Gilbert has been interested in reaching into the college ranks to get a big-name coach, and he has made offers to Tom Izzo, Bill Self and John Calipari. Johnson, in his fourth year at Alabama, isn’t in that same category but has plenty of NBA experience.”

In one way, this makes perfect sense. Johnson was rookie No. 8 overall pick Collin Sexton’s head coach last season. The powers to be in Cleveland spent a ton of time with Johnson in the lead up to June’s draft.

Having coached Alabama for the past three seasons, Johnson is coming off his first NCAA Tournament appearance and has led the program to three consecutive winning seasons. He also has previous NBA head coaching experience, leading the Dallas Mavericks to the NBA Finals in 2005-06.