Hawks bringing back Larry Drew

The Hawks made their first move of the offseason when the team decided to exercise the option on head coach Larry Drew for the 2012-2013 season. Drew will return for his third season at the helm of the Hawks after taking the reins from Mike Woodson in 2010. The Hawks are 84-64 in the regular season under Drew’s watch but have just an 8-10 record in the playoffs, never getting past the conference semifinals. Atlanta hopes that Drew’s third season will be the charm to take the next step and get into the conference finals for the first time since 1970.

 

BENCH CHANGES …

The Hawks have a number of questions entering the offseason, and the makeup of the bench is near the top of the front office’s to-do list. The Atlanta bench was one of the team’s strong points this past season, when a number of players stepped up into major roles, even starting roles, due to injuries. The average age for the Hawks bench this past season was 31.9, and the bench struggled against the Celtics in the playoffs to produce the same way as it did during the regular season. Aside from Zaza Pachulia, the other nine bench players’ contracts have expired and major contributors like Tracy McGrady, Ivan Johnson and Kirk Hinrich are all free agents.

While the Hawks only have six players currently under contract, they remain over the cap and will be forced once again to fill the remaining nine roster spots using veteran mini- mums and what remains of the team’s mid-level exception. Hinrich would need to take a severe pay cut from the eight million he earned last season if he is to return, and it seems unlikely that the Hawks will extend contracts of the aging Eric Dampier, Vladimir Radmanovic or Jerry Stackhouse. McGrady, Johnson, Willie Green and Jannero Pargo each played well enough to deserve another contract for next season. Jason Collins is likely to receive yet another deal to keep a warm body on the bench to provide an emergency option behind Al Horford and Pachulia. The team could also add bodies during the NBA draft as the team will select once in the first round with the No. 23 pick and once in the second round with the No. 43 pick from Phoenix. The team traded its No. 52 pick to Golden State.

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