Avery to stay at ESPN; Casey has second interview

UPDATE: As we reported in Wednesday's Daily News, former Dallas coach Avery Johnson was not interested in being part of a wide-ranging coaching search. In a statement released by ESPN tonight, Johnson confirmed that he had been contacted by the Sixers, "but I have decided to stay in my role with ESPN."


Dwane Casey, who has just completed his first season as an assistant with the Dallas Mavericks, has had a second interview for the 76ers' vacant coaching job, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Exactly when or where the second session with Sixers president/general manager Ed Stefanski took place remains unclear. The first meting came last week in Santa Monica, Ca. while Stefanski was in the area scouting a group of college players for the upcoming NBA draft.

Casey did not immediately respond to messages left by the Daily News. The Sixers have made it a policy not to comment on developments during their search for a replacement for Tony DiLeo.

Stefanski also met last week with longtime Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis. The Sixers have since informed Rambis that they are going in another direction. Rambis is scheduled to meet with Sacramento after the conclusion of the Eastern Conference finals between the Lakers and the Denver Nuggets. That series, tied 2-2, continues tonight in Los Angeles.

The other known remaining candidates for the Sixers job include Boston associate head coach Tom Thibodeau, former Washington and Sacramento coach Eddie Jordan and former Boston, Los Angeles Clippers and Sixers coach Chris Ford, now a pro personnel scout with the Sixers.

There is also growing reason to believe Stefanski will attempt to meet with former New York and Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy, possibly this week.

Thibodeau and Jordan are also candidates for the Kings job, along with Paul Westphal. Sources have indicated that Thibodeau could meet with the Kings later this week or possibly next week..

Casey, 52, holds a record of 53-69 in roughly a season-and-a-half coaching the Minnesota Timberwolves, taking over during 2004-05 as a replacement for Kevin McHale. He coached for a decade with the Seattle SuperSonics after spending five years coaching in Japan.