ATLANTA — Hawks coach Mike Woodson said Tuesday there have been no talks on a new contract with Atlanta, even amid reports that he’ll be a candidate to take another job after the season.
The most persistent report is that Woodson could wind up as Philadelphia’s coach, which is based on Larry Brown leaving Charlotte to become the 76ers’ general manager. Brown has denied that he’s planning to leave the Bobcats.
Woodson, who worked as an assistant to Brown in Detroit, said he wants to remain with the Hawks.
He took over a rebuilding team six years ago and went 13-69, but Atlanta has shown improvement every year since then.
The Hawks are tied with Milwaukee in the opening round of the playoffs heading into Game 5 at Philips Arena tonight.
“They’re out there,” Woodson said, referring to the reports about his future. “But again, my job is right here with the Hawks. I started this gig six years ago and I want to finish it.”
The Hawks stuck with Woodson through the difficult early years, giving him a two-year contract extension in 2008 shortly after general manager Rick Sund came aboard, even though his record at the time was only 106-222.
Atlanta posted winning records the last two years, going a combined 100-62. The Hawks reached the second round of the playoffs in 2009 and they were the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference this year, winning 53 games.
General manager Rick Sund said he’ll wait until after the season before starting any discussions on a new deal with Woodson.
The Hawks are tied 2-2 with Milwaukee in an opening-round series that might have a direct impact on the coach’s future.
“The things that need to be taken care of in the offseason will be taken care of in the offseason,” Sund said.
The GM stressed that he’s merely sticking with the position he’s taken all along.
“I’m a Mike fan,” Sund said. “You’re in a situation where he’s worked with an organization that was totally supportive of him in the early years. When I came in, the first thing I did was give him a new contract. I basically said at the end of the two years, we’ll sit down and talk at that time. That’s just the way I am with contracts.”
Woodson certainly feels he deserves a new, longer-term contract.
“I’ve helped the team grow,” he said. “I think these players respect what we do, me and my staff. I hope ownership steps up and makes it happen to the point where I’m here for a long time, continuing the growth of this team and trying to get it done.”
Woodson sounded a bit uncomfortable that he hasn’t even had preliminary talks on a new deal.
“It’s out there. It’s dangling. The contract will end at the end of June and we’ll sit and talk about it,” he said, again making it clear that his first choice would be to stay in Atlanta.