Where art thou, David McDavid?
The Atlanta Hawks went another day without a coaching hire, which in itself isn't a big deal, but it's the way in that the recent news of Avery Johnson taking the Nets position and its impact on this process that reveals, one more time, the challenges of a split ownership franchise.
Included in the Marc Stein report that informed of the Avery decision was the note that Hawks ownership had to "regroup" afterwards. This despite reports that the Hawks had narrowed to four candidates, including Johnson. One would think that the Hawks had a Plan B in case Avery took the Nets money, cap space, and low expectations.
One must now consider that the reason there is no Plan B is because it likely took a lot to get everybody on board with Plan A, now must be assumed to be Johnson. Now, with Dwane Casey, Larry Drew, and Mark Jackson left on Contestant's Row, the Hawks have to convene their multi-headed ownership and decision making model to get on the same page with how to proceed.
What could possibly go wrong?
The Hawks are fortunate in that there are only (2) other teams currently shopping for a coach, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers. Only Casey has been mentioned in association with another stop (Clippers), so there isn't a frantic musical chairs that the Hawks have to worry about, not getting one of their candidates.
But does the Hawks ownership split and the related "decision by committee" approach to such things lead to getting a watered down, chosen-by-concession, candidate that may not be who the General Manager, Rick Sund, feels is best for the club?
Moreover, what does this mean in terms of some of the other choices for the team like, say, free agents? Or how about who to draft?
Free agents, be they coaches or players, have to see this inefficiency as a negative in coming to Atlanta. If you are Dwane Casey or even Mark Jackson, aren't you a little troubled by this arrangement already, even before you've stepped foot into Philips Arena as an ASG employee?
And one has to ask if this is why other high profile candidates like Jeff Van Gundy and Byron Scott, weren't interviewed....perhaps their representation looked at the situation and said, "Um, no thank you."?
Would the greatest acquisition in Atlanta Hawks history, the trade for The Namesake, THHF, Dominique Wilkins, have happened in such an arrangement? One can picture then GM Stan Kasten, bursting into the offices of the ASG, begging for the cool million needed to close the deal for Wilkins, only to be told that a decision is likely...as soon as they can get all the owners together, get them to agree, and then get back to Utah with a revised figure.
We all remember the bloody battle that ensued when then-GM Billy Knight wanted to make a franchise changing move to bring in Joe Johnson, a fight that still scars and wounds today.
All of which serves as a painful reminder that, despite the assumption that each of these owners truly wants to do what's best, and are fighting for what they think the team ought to do, a multi-faceted approach to management can rear it's ugly head in some pretty inopportune times, and leaves us longing for the single mega-owner who can fully embolden the GM to make a decision or make it quickly themselves.
Anybody know another billionaire looking for a franchise or two? Inquire within...please.