Billy Knight will resign as general manager of the Atlanta Hawks July 1, despite leading the team to its first playoff appearance in nine years.
Knight said yesterday it was time to "take a break" following a season when his authority appeared to be weakened by unsuccessful lobbying with owners to fire coach Mike Woodson.
The Hawks, absent from the playoffs since 1999, lost in the first round to the heavily favored Celtics in seven games. Over six years, Knight played the lead role in rebuilding the Hawks and ended the NBA's longest playoff drought.
One of the team's owners, Michael Gearon Jr., said Knight's resignation did not affect Woodson's status. "You cannot tie the two together," he said. "Frankly, this was not a decision by us, it was a decision by Billy."
Gearon said he had no list of candidates to replace Knight "because this was unexpected."
Knight, 55, rebuilt the roster with younger players. The Hawks were 37-45 in the regular season to earn the No. 8 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.
"I am tremendously pleased with what we were able to accomplish this season in reaching the postseason, as the Hawks' return to the playoffs energized the city and our franchise," Knight said in a statement yesterday. "My passion for the franchise has never wavered."
Knight's best draft pick, rookie of the year runner-up Al Horford, provided much-needed inside toughness as a starting center. But he'll also be remembered for drafting Marvin Williams instead of Chris Paul, the point guard the team lacked, with the No. 2 overall pick in 2005.
Carlisle in Dallas?Rick Carlisle
is still on the verge of becoming the next coach of the Dallas Mavericks. Carlisle is the only candidate the team has interviewed since firing Avery Johnson
last Wednesday. Negotiations turned serious over the weekend and have continued all week, but as of last night there were some points still not settled. "I think we're seeing this through. We're fairly locked in at this point," said Donnie Nelson
, the team's president of basketball operations. "Everything is going in a positive direction. Both sides feel good about the progress. It's just a negotiation. They take time." The 49-year-old Carlisle has a career record of 281-211 after two seasons in Detroit, then four in Indiana. He has worked for ESPN the last year . . . Gilbert Arenas
insists he won't return to the Washington Wizards if forward Antawn Jamison
isn't re-signed. "If he doesn't come back, I'm not coming back," Arenas said in a posting on his blog, a rambling entry of more than 2,800 words. Arenas, who missed most of this season after two operations on his left knee, can opt out of his contract. Jamison is set to become a free agent. "I want to be back in Washington, but weird things happen in free agency," Arenas said on the blog. "If Antawn is not back, then there's no point in me coming back because he's part of my success, too." . . . The Indiana Pacers promoted David Morway
to general manager. Morway, who had been senior vice president of basketball operations, will oversee salary cap issues and help president of basketball operations Larry Bird
with personnel decisions.
McGrady out 3 months
Rockets guard Tracy McGrady
could need three months to recover following operations on his knee and shoulder. "I don't expect these issues to impact his ability to prepare for the upcoming season," said team physician Tom Clanton
, who operated on McGrady's knee. Loose tissue was cleared out of his left knee and left shoulder. The procedures, both considered minor, were done Tuesday . . . Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum
, 20, might undergo exploratory arthroscopic surgery on his injured left knee if there is no significant improvement in the next three to four weeks. Bynum hasn't played since injuring his knee Jan. 13.
Nets forward Richard Jefferson
was charged with assault for grabbing a man by the throat in a Minneapolis club earlier this year. Jefferson was in town with the team Jan. 27 when, according to a charge filed, he went to a club in the Graves Hotel where the alleged victim was having a private birthday party in a roped-off section. The documents say Jefferson entered the area and got angry when he was asked to leave. He is accused of grabbing the victim, shoving him to a bench, and choking him with both hands Jefferson's first court hearing is set for June 18 . . . Nuggets All-Star Carmelo Anthony
has been ticketed for speeding, three weeks after he was cited on a charge of driving under the influence. Police say Anthony was pulled over Saturday for driving 60 miles an hour in a 45-m.p.h. zone in Denver. The 23-year-old was arrested on a DUI charge in Denver April 14. He is scheduled to be in court June 5 on the DUI charge.
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