Most coaches would embrace a strong off-season like the one the Hawks have had and try to use it to build some momentum and excitement for the upcoming season.
But Mike Woodson is not like most coaches. He prefers to whine.
Woodson is entering the final year of his contract. He apparently wants to make sure everybody knows that. I guess the hope is, I dunno, somebody starts a Save-The-Woody write-in campaign. The combustible one spoke about his situation again this weekend to Yahoo Sports. Most of the comments echoed those he told our premier hoops writer, Sekou Smith, three months ago. But Woodson turned up the rhetoric, saying: “Am I a little disappointed that none of my staff and I were extended contracts this year? You’re damn right I am because we deserve it. … Any other coach probably would’ve been extended, without a doubt. … For us not to be extended is not right.”
You know what’s not right? A coach who goes 106-222 in his first four seasons and doesn’t get fired, only to then ask for a new contract after his first — first — winning season before the existing contract has expired.
The Hawks won a playoff series last year. Woodson wants to cash in. But the Hawks aren’t exactly in contract extension mode right now. General manager Rick Sund didn’t even give an extension to point guard Mike Bibby before last season. Why would he do that for Woodson, who doesn’t nearly have Bibby’s career resume? (Bibby got his extension after the season).
Sund could’ve fired Woodson when he was hired as GM last year. He didn’t. He gave him a two-year contract. He basically told the coach: “I think you deserve a chance to come back but I’m not committing to you long term. Let’s re-evaluate in 2010.”
If Woodson really felt as secure as he claims he is, he would coach the team Sund improved this off-season, take the Hawks to the next level and then use that as leverage in negotiations. Then again, maybe he’s just not as confident as he says he is.