Williams, Thibodeau among Hornets finalists

With Avery Johnson’s candidacy essentially over, assistant coaches Tom Thibodeau and Monty Williams will get second interviews for the New Orleans Hornets’ head-coaching job, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Thibodeau and Williams – assistants with the Boston Celtics and Portland Trail Blazers, respectively – will meet again soon with Hornets general manager Jeff Bower, president Hugh Weber and owner Gary Chouest.

While Thibodeau and Williams are the leading contenders for the vacancy, it is still possible another coach out of the original pool of candidates will get invited to meet with Hornets officials again. The most likely possibilities still include Utah Jazz assistant Tyrone Corbin, former New Jersey Nets coach Lawrence Frank and television analyst Mike Fratello.

If the Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers both win conference finals in five games or less, it’s likely that a one-week scheduling break until the NBA Finals would allow Thibodeau availability to meet again soon with New Orleans officials.

Johnson’s lust for power and authority – never mind the perception of an organized media campaign for the job – has severely damaged his candidacy, sources say. Johnson has tried to parlay his New Orleans roots into a can’t-miss candidacy, but it hasn’t resonated within the Hornets organization.


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Updated Friday, May 21, 2010