Saturday , Jun , 12 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Will Joe Johnson leave Atlanta because of Larry Drew?

The Atlanta Hawks will hire Larry Drew as their next head coach, a league source told ESPN’s Ric Bucher.

Drew and the Hawks have agreed to a three-year, $5 million deal, according to the source. Those figures are slightly less than the three-year, $6.5 million deal Boston Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau received from the Chicago Bulls. In both cases, only two years are guaranteed.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s not official, but it might as well be.

Joe Johnson, the superstar who resurrected the sorry Atlanta Hawks, will surely leave the team as an unrestricted free agent on July 1st, in part, because of Larry Drew’s hiring.

While the on-court product has improved by leaps and bounds in Atlanta, the off-court operation hasn’t improved. Ownership remains a dysfunctional and divided group of partners; the only thing they share is the desire to cut costs and save cash.

For instance, instead of rewarding talented sideline boss Mike Woodson with an extension for his efforts, they let him languish as a lame-duck coach in the final year of his contract and promptly let him go in May.

The Hawks’ owners apparently fired Woodson because they wanted a fresh start. Yet, they promote Drew, Woodson’s long-time right-hand man, because he’s cheap. 

Drew, a respected assistant coach, could prove to be competent, but being frugal isn’t a good look for Atlanta.

The end result will be simple: Johnson, a terrific player, will again see the Hawks as dysfunctional and cheap. And he’ll leave as an unrestricted free agent.

Will Johnson leave The ATL because of Drew? What do you think?                   

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