No, the Sixers have not interviewed Woodson...yet. The Hawkslook like they are going to be swept out of the playoffs for the second consecutive year, and Woodson does not have a guaranteed extension for the future. The rumors of Larry Browncoming to the Sixers as president, while adding Woodson as head coach, remains a possibility.
The first round of the playoffs were a scary one for the Hawks. Tim Povtak, from NBA FanHouse, writes,
This does not bode well for Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Woodson, whose contract extension might have just flown out the window.
His team has improved its win total in each of the last five years -- showing slow, steady improvement -- but all that feel-good stuff is about to get lost in a surprising, first-round playoff series against the undermanned but more motivated Milwaukee Bucks.
Woodson, who becomes a coaching free agent this summer, has good reason to be nervous. The Hawks talked all through this 53-win season about finally arriving as championship contenders.
Today they are one loss away from being the victims of a stunning upset, trailing 3-2 after blowing a nine-point lead in the final four minutes Wednesday, losing 91-87 to the Bucks.
Yeah. The number 3 seed Hawks have been trying to convince the rest of the league that they belong in the "elite basketball team" group. But nearly get eliminated by the Bucks. In the end they made it to the next round. But, now it looks like the Hawks don't even care. They seem to have little life in their playing style. After game three of their series against the Magic, Povtak wrote,
The Hawks waited 12 long years to have another 50-win season like this one. Too bad it's ending in disaster.
It wasn't worth the wait.
These aren't growing pains anymore, a young team trying to find its way, a route these Hawks previously traveled. They look more like chemistry issues, a team that comes home for Game 3, and treats its paying customers to the biggest disappointment of the season.
Their body language was bad from the start.
"I figured we would come home and really play at a high level, and make a series out of it,'' said Hawks coach Mike Woodson. "We were so flat coming out.''
The Magic are good – defending NBA Finalist – but they aren't THAT good, spanking the Hawks on their home floor, just like they spanked them twice in Orlando.
"We really didn't compete,'' lamented Woodson. "And I don't know why.''
The Hawks have lost by 43, 13, and 30. At the rate things are going, the season will be over on Monday. And after this disaster is over, will Woodson get the boot? If they want to try to keep Johnson, they may just have to keep Woodson. Chris Tomasson writes,
Star guard Joe Johnson will be a free agent as will Hawkscoach Mike Woodson. Johnson said in an interview with FanHouse that whether Woodson returns to Atlanta will play a role in whether he re-signs.
"Of course,'' Johnson said. "That will be one of the factors. (Woodson) was one of the main reasons why I came here (signing as a free agent in 2005). Me and him stayed and talked for a while before I signed. So we'll see. I surely hope him and his coaching staff will be back. Those are guys that I'm very comfortable with and familiar with, and the system that they have us running right now, it's been successful. So hopefully we can keep our core right here.''
Asked if it helps the chances of Johnson re-signing with Atlanta if Woodson remains, Johnson said, "Yeah, definitely. So we'll see what happens. Hopefully everything works out.''
But that doesn't mean the Hawks are going to rush to plop down a contract extension on Woodson, whose two-year deal expires after the season, or guarantee he definitely will be offered a new deal this summer.
So what does this all mean? Well if you want Woodson as the Sixers next coach, you're going to have to hope that Johnson does not re-sign with the Hawks, right? Well not necessarily. The Hawks may re-sign Woodson and lose Johnson, and vice virsa. Here is what may or may not keep Woodson in Atlanta:
Stays in Atlanta if:
- That is what management wants.
- The Hawks come from behind to win their series (Hahaha)
- Johnson threatens to leave unless Woodson is re-signed
Leaves Atlanta if:
- The two consecutive second round sweeps is the last straw.
- Johnson leaves and the Hawks decide that they have no use keeping Woodson since Johnson came only for Woodson.
- Larry Brown ends up in Philly and convinces Woodson to come along for the ride.
So, obviously, nothing is official. But would you want Woodson to coach the Sixers? Are we willing to be patient like the Hawks were during their rise to power? What do you think?
Update: 9:57p.m. (EST)
Well folks, Tim Povtak gives new reason why Woodson may be out of Atlanta soon
And ringing in everyone's ear now was the pronouncement by ownership earlier this season that the measurement of the team would be based not on victory totals, but on playoff success.
This has been mentioned before, but I wanted us all to be reminded of what the possibilities are. Woodson does have a coaching record of 202-284 with the Hawks. Could he be successful in Philly anyway?
Update: 5/14/2010 12:25p.m. (EST)
Well the stage is set for a possibility for Woodson to be head coach. NBA.com has announced that the Hawks have let go of Woodson
The Hawks parted ways with Mike Woodson Friday morning, ending his coaching tenure with the franchise after six seasons.
Woodson's contract expired Monday, forcing the Hawks to make a quick decision. Woodson is now free to explore his options with a half dozen coaching vacancies around the league, while the Hawks embark on a search of their own for his replacement.
Woodson led the Hawks to 37, 47 and 53 wins in his final three seasons and back-to-back appearances in the Eastern Conference semifinals, where they were swept both times. The Hawks won just 13 games in his first season, 2004-05, but improved their record in each of his five seasons after that. He finished with a 206-286 record (.419).
Woodson's 11-18 postseason record, though, is what ultimately cost him his job with the Hawks
Complicating matters for the Hawks is the impending free agency of four-time All-Star and team captain Joe Johnson, who will join LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in the celebrated summer class of 2010.
Johnson has already stated that he will explore his options this summer, with a potential return to the Hawks being one of them. It was under Woodson that Johnson blossomed from a fourth option in Phoenix and into an All-Star anchor for the Hawks, grabbed Johnson in a sign-and-trade deal in the summer of 2005.
Does this mean that Johnson will leave too? Will Woodson even want a job right now? Or will he go into being an analysts likeother fired coaches (Johnson,Scot, Van Gundy)? Will/Should the Sixers interview him? Does this mean anything at all?