Mark Jackson next on New Orleans Hornets list of coaching candidates

Former NBA point guard Mark Jackson is the next candidate the New
Orleans Hornets are expected to contact to gauge his interest in their
head coaching vacancy, according to league sources.

And according to a source close to Jackson, an ESPN/ABC analyst, he is
interested in pursuing the Hornets’ vacancy.

Jackson played 17 seasons in the NBA, mainly with the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks, but has no experience as a head coach or as an assistant. He was a finalist for the Minnesota Timberwolves’ job last summer before losing out to Los Angeles Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis.

Jackson, 45, also was close to landing the New York Knicks’ job in 2008 before former Phoenix Suns coach Mike D’Antoni was hired.

In addition to the Hornets’ opening, Jackson is expected to be a candidate for the Los Angeles Clippers’ job.

It is uncertain how quickly the Hornets will move to fill their vacancy, but team president Hugh Weber said last week that ongoing negotiations involving minority owner Gary Chouest’s attempted purchase of George Shinn’s 75 percent share of the franchise will not impede their search.

Yet, uncertainty regarding the sale might turn off some potential candidates.

The Hornets already have made preliminary contact with representatives of former Dallas Mavericks coach Avery Johnson, former Knicks and Houston Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy and TNT analyst Doug Collins, who appears to be a serious candidate although he is not yet publicly expressed interest in the job. Collins last coached in 2003, with the Washington Wizards.

League sources said the Hornets have not formally interviewed candidates, yet. As they proceed, several top assistant coaches on playoff teams are expected to be considered, including the Portland Trail Blazers’ Monty Williams, the Utah Jazz’s Ty Corbin, the Dallas Mavericks’ Dwane Casey and the Boston Celtics’ Tom Thibodeau. Per NBA rules, those coaches must be granted permission by their current teams to talk to the Hornets.

The Hornets, meanwhile, are likely to wait and see what Charlotte Bobcats Coach Larry Brown may do. There are reports Brown might leave the Bobcats, who were eliminated from the playoffs by the Orlando Magic on Monday night, to coach the Philadelphia 76ers.

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