It might be Larry Drew, their coach the past three seasons. However, general manager Danny Ferry, who inherited Drew from the previous regime, has made it clear he’s looking at other options.
Drew remains in limbo. His contract expires at the end of June.
Ferry has praised the job Drew did while leading the Hawks to their sixth straight playoff appearance, though they were knocked out in the first round by Indiana.
That said, Ferry wants to make sure he’s got the right guy on the sideline with massive roster changes looming this summer.
“I have great appreciation and respect for Larry and how he led our team this season,” Ferry said in a statement. “At the same time, it is my responsibility and in the best interests of the Hawks organization to consider all our options, and talk with other potential head coaches, before making a decision about who will lead our basketball team.”
Drew could not be reached for comment Monday but made it clear the day after the season ended that he didn’t want his status to drag on for long.
Drew has been exploring his options. There are five openings at the moment, and there have been reports that he would be interested in talking with the Philadelphia 76ers if he doesn’t stay with the Hawks.
Meanwhile, it’s not clear what direction the Hawks are considering. Ferry could pursue an experienced coach such as Stan Van Gundy, though it’s not clear if the former Magic chief is interested in getting back in the game next season. Or the GM could pursue one of several assistants who are thought to be hot coaching candidates.
Or, of course, he could stay with Drew – thought to be the least likely option, especially for a team heading in such a radically different direction.
“Larry and I have had open communication about this,” Ferry said. “If Larry and I continue our work together, we ultimately will be a stronger organization because of our discussions and this thorough process.”
In his last public comments on his situation, Drew sounded like someone who didn’t expect to return to Atlanta.
“Whether I’m back here or not, I don’t know. But I’ve had a great run here,” he said. “I gave it my all. I can honestly look in the mirror and say the three years I’ve been here as a head coach and my work here as an assistant, I put my all into it.”
Clearly, he’s not ready to give up on being a head coach after waiting so long for his chance.
“This is a very good gig,” Drew said. “The pressure comes with it <0x2014> the highs, the lows, the emotional roller coaster <0x2014> all of that comes with it. But I enjoy what I do, and I would love to continue doing what I’m doing.”