'Scuse me, Avery. I believe that's my chair.

Former Maverick Close to Coaching Phoenix Suns. No, Not That One.

With TNT analyst Doug Collins apparently the Chicago Bulls’ choice and former Mavericks player Elston Turner jumping to the front of the line in the Phoenix Suns’ search, it’s looking more and more like Avery Johnson will have to slum it next year without a coaching gig.

Somehow, methinks he’ll scrape by on the $4 million still owed him by owner Mark Cuban.

Johnson, who’s become a nightly staple on TNT and ESPN’s studio sets, would take Cuban off the hook should he land a network job. Until then, these peculiar car ads are the only press conferences he’s going to hold.

While Turner, who was drafted by and played for the Mavs for eight seasons in the ‘80s, is close to succeeding Mike D’Antoni, it’s kinda creepy that the coach with the NBA’s all-time best winning percentage isn’t even getting interviews in Chicago or Phoenix. Maybe those teams watched his scorched-Earth exit from Dallas.

As for the Mavs, Collins’ hiring in Chicago would likely secure Dwayne Casey’s arrival in Dallas as one of Rick Carlisle’s top assistants. And, if the Mavs are again in the market for a free agent, over-the-hill shooting guard that can’t shoot – along the lines of Adrian Griffin, Greg Buckner, Trenton Hassel, Eddie Jones, et al – one became available last night when the defending champion San Antonio Spurs were eliminated by the Lakers.

Michael Finley, anyone? -- Richie Whitt

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