Even before this season began, it was clear the year would be a referendum on coach Mike Woodson. He was entering the last season of a two-year deal (he wanted at least three) and every time he asked management for an extension, he was told, “We’re going to wait until after the season.”
Now that the Hawks are struggling with Milwaukee in the opening round of the playoffs, whether Woodson is re-signed/wants to stay is as big an issue as ever. In fact, some reasoned speculation now has him leaving on his own — to Philadelphia.
There is an increasing belief that Charlotte coach Larry Brown is finally ready to retire from coaching and return to Philly, where he still maintains a home, to become president of the Sixers. According to a story by Yahoo Sports, Brown already has his wish list: Washington Wizards executive Milt Newton would be his general manager. Woodson, his former assistant in Detroit, would be his coach.
To think: Hawks general manager Rick Sund might not even have a decision to make.
Excerpts from the Yahoo story:
Still, the possibility is strong that Brown will coach the 76ers, because Woodson wouldn’t leave an Eastern Conference contender unless the Hawks low-ball him in contract talks at season’s end. His deal is expiring with Atlanta, and several sources familiar with the Hawks’ plans predict an offer that Woodson could easily refuse. …
The possibility of Brown coaching the 76ers could rest largely on how things play out with the Hawks. There’s been a cool relationship between management and Woodson, and sources say that the organization’s priority isn’t to reward him with an expensive contract extension. The Hawks are pooling resources to get maximum money available for Joe Johnson. The message has been made clear to the Hawks: Offer Johnson a max contract extension on July 1, and they’re likely to keep him.
Sources say that this is the reason Atlanta is willing to sell its first-round pick for $3 million this summer, and the reason that they’ll likely offer no more than a three-year contract for $1.8 to $2 million a year to a possible Woodson successor. Woodson could expect a bigger offer to stay on the job, but perhaps not by much. For Woodson, the 76ers could offer leverage to leave, but he would have to weigh leaving a legitimate Eastern Conference contender for a flawed roster in Philadelphia.
Woodson has aired complaints about his contract status and that of his assistants on a few occasions. One would think if the Hawks were overly concerned about losing him, they would’ve attempted to sign him by now. Losing consecutive games to the Bucks in a series doesn’t help his cause, even if the Hawks may still go on to win the series.
OK, let’s open the flood gates: What are you thoughts on Woodson potentially leaving?