Larry Drew still coach of the Hawks _ for now

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 4, 2013 at 4:20 pm •  Published: May 4, 2013
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ATLANTA (AP) — One day after the Atlanta Hawks were bounced from the NBA playoffs, Larry Drew remained their coach.

Whether he sticks around much longer is the most pressing issue for a team that expects a radical transformation this summer.

General manager Danny Ferry, who will get to put his imprint on the franchise heading into his second year, said Saturday it was too soon to make a call on the future of a coach he inherited.

Ferry said the disappointment of a six-game loss to the Indiana Pacers needed to wear off a bit before he decides whether Drew should get another contract.

"We're going to take some time, give it some distance, give it some space from the season, from the playoffs, from the emotions of that," Ferry said on the practice court at Philips Arena. "Then we'll make decisions that we feel are best in the short-term and long-term interests of the team."

Drew endured what was essentially a lame-duck year after the team renewed the option on his contract last summer but didn't give him an extension. That put him in a difficult situation, especially coaching a team that has only three players who are definitely under contract for next season.

"I thought we had a really good season given what our circumstances were. They weren't the best," Drew said. "Whether I'm back here or not, I don't know. The one thing I will say is I've had a great run here."

Drew was an assistant under previous coach Mike Woodson and got his first head coaching job in 2010 after his boss was fired. In Drew's first season, the Hawks upset Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic in the opening round and took Chicago to six games in the second.

But the Hawks were knocked off in the opening round the last two years.

Ferry was hired as GM last summer and pulled off two major trades that were designed to take the team in a different direction. All-Star Joe Johnson (along with his huge contract) was dealt to the Brooklyn Nets, while underachieving Marvin Williams was shipped to the Utah Jazz. In both deals, the Hawks insisted on getting players heading into the final year of their contracts.

Center Al Horford is the lone starter with a guaranteed contract for next season, and his only teammates with that status are sixth man Lou Williams (recovering from a season-ending knee injury) and rookie guard John Jenkins (who played sparingly). Point guard Jeff Teague can become a restricted free agent July 1, while longtime Atlanta stalwart Josh Smith is the most notable of seven unrestricted free agents.

Despite all the uncertainty, the Hawks defied their skeptics by going 44-38 and taking the sixth seed in the East. They split with the Pacers in the first four games, but Indiana romped to a 23-point victory in Game 5 and finished off the Hawks on Friday, 81-73.

"As an organization, it was a significant year for us, taking the initial steps for building a championship program, but with more work to do," Ferry said. "I like the flexibility we have going forward."



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