Report: Hawks GM wanted to fire Woodson after Bibby trade
ATLANTA -- Mike Woodson apparently will have the chance to finish out the season with the Atlanta Hawks despite reported efforts by general manager Billy Knight to fire the coach.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on its Web site Friday that Knight wanted to fire Woodson after Knight traded for point guard Mike Bibby on Feb. 16. The paper reported that two people close to the conversations between Knight and the team's owners said Knight also tried to fire Woodson on two previous occasions.
The Hawks' owners have held firm with both Knight and Woodson, who is 91-209 in four years with the team but is on pace to have an improved record for the third straight year.
"Right now I'm the head coach of the Hawks and that's how I approach my everyday job," Woodson said. "I can't concern myself with what's going on in the papers."
The Hawks (23-32) entered Friday night's game against the New York Knicks ninth in the Eastern Conference, 1½ games behind Philadelphia in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot. They were 30-52 last season.
The Hawks, who last appeared in the playoffs in 1999, have the NBA's longest active streak of non-playoff seasons.
Michael Gearon Jr., one of the team's owners, would not comment on the reported efforts by Knight to fire Woodson.
"With respect to Mike Woodson, we look forward to seeing how we can go from here now that we added what we feel was a missing piece with Bibby," Gearon said Thursday night. "He's our coach."
Knight declined to comment on Friday.
Hawks forward Josh Smith said the reported efforts to fire Woodson have not affected the team's performance.
"We just focus on what we have to do as a team," Smith said. "There's been distractions all year, but we're not letting it leak into the way we play."
Woodson said he has not talked with his players about his job status, and he said he wouldn't comment on his relationship with Knight.
"The bottom line is we have to win," Woodson said. "That's what it's all about. I know the dynamics of what's going on and my job is to continue to push this team to grow and head in the right direction.
"We know what's at stake. We've got 27 more games and there's not a lot of room for error. We've got to play every second, every minute of every quarter like it's our last game."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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