The New Orleans Hornets are the first team to formally request permission to interview in-demand Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Dwane Casey for their coaching vacancy, according to NBA coaching sources.
The Hornets have already scheduled an interview Tuesday with former Mavericks coach Avery Johnson in Houston, where Johnson makes his full-time home.
But New Orleans also wants to talk to Casey now that it has moved into the interview phase, with Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Clippers also expected to interview Casey for their vacancies now that the Mavericks have been eliminated from the playoffs.
This time last year, Casey was a finalist for the Sixers' job that went to Eddie Jordan, who was fired by Philadelphia after a tumultuous 27-55 season.
Casey has served as one of Rick Carlisle's top aides in Dallas for the past two seasons after coaching the Minnesota Timberwolves for a season and a half. Casey was fired by the Wolves with a record of 20-20 in the 2006-07 season.
The Hornets have had preliminary contact with Johnson, TNT analyst Doug Collins and ESPN analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson to gauge their interest, and also are expected to consider Portland assistant Monty Williams.
The Hornets want to speak with multiple candidates while negotiations in the proposed sale from owner George Shinn to minority owner Gary Chouest continues, sources said. It's unclear what effect ongoing delays in the sale negotiations will have on the Hornets' coaching search, given that high-profile candidates such as Johnson and Collins are unlikely to consider taking the job unless Chouest has secured control of the franchise.
Marc Stein is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com.