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"Woody has been here six years and had basically been the only voice that many of these players had heard," the GM said at the time. "The shelf life for coaches and management in the NBA is short, particularly for coaches, maybe two or three years. In Woody's case, he has gone six. The compelling thought for me was maybe it's right for a change."
Sund believes a new coach might be able to take the Hawks to even higher levels, though he acknowledged it was a risk to dump someone coming off a playoff appearance.
"Sometimes in professional sports, change is good -- not only for the individual, but for the organization," he said. "Hey, it was a tough decision any way you go. If it doesn't turn out, it's the wrong decision. If it turns out, maybe it was the right decision, I don't know."
The hiring of Drew will surely be popular with the players, and the Hawks may be hoping that keeping a familiar face on the sideline will help them re-sign Joe Johnson and smooth the transition for the rest of the roster.
Johnson is set to become a free agent this summer, part of a star-studded class that likely will include LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
The Hawks have indicated they want to bring Johnson back, but a poor showing in the playoffs might make them reluctant to offer the maximum deal it likely will take to keep the four-time All-Star. Johnson didn't sound enthusiastic about coming back, either, after a run-in with the fans over a 30-point home loss in Game 3 against the Magic.
Johnson said he didn't care if the fans showed up at all for Game 4. They responded by booing him repeatedly during the season-ending loss.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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