Hawks retain GM Knight, coach Stotts for 2003-04 season

Updated: August 11, 2003, 8:32 PM ET

ATLANTA - With the uncertainty of a pending sale, the Atlanta Hawks have retained general manager Billy Knight and coach Terry Stotts for the 2003-04 season.

The announcement was made by Hawks president Stan Kasten at a Monday afternoon news conference at Philips Arena.

A decision on the positions of Knight and Stotts had been delayed due to the proposed sale of the team from AOL Time Warner to Texas businessman David McDavid, who was given exclusive negotiating rights to purchase the Hawks and the National Hockey League's Atlanta Thrashers in April. The sale has yet to be completed.

Knight was conducting business as if he planned to return all along, but Stotts had been given permission to talk to other teams.

Stotts was a finalist for the coaching job with the Milwaukee Bucks, where he once served as an assistant, but lost out to Terry Porter. He also interviewed for the Philadelphia 76ers' coaching job which went to Randy Ayers.

Meanwhile, Knight made a fiscally wise move for ownership, sending two-time All-Star forward Glenn Robinson to the Philadelphia 76ers in a four-team trade last month. Knight acquired injured point guard Terrell Brandon, the rights to forward Randy Holcomb and a first-round pick in the deal. Brandon's salary will be off the payroll by this time next year, giving the Hawks more flexibility to rebuild.

Knight was promoted from director of basketball operations to interim general manager when Pete Babcock was fired on April 2. Babcock had served as general manager since February 1990, but was dismissed after missing the playoffs for the fourth straight year.

Babcock fired coach Lon Kruger on December 26, and hired Stotts as interim coach.

With forwards Robinson and Shareef Abdur-Rahim and guard Jason Terry, the Hawks guaranteed season ticket holders a rebate on their packages if the team missed the postseason. However, they finished 35-47, including a 24-31 mark under Stotts.

Stotts had spent his previous four seasons as the top assistant under George Karl in Milwaukee.

Knight was a general manager for the Vancouver-Memphis Grizzlies for two seasons before joining the Hawks in 2002-03.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index