ATLANTA, GA - FILE: An outside view of Philips Arena prior to the game between the Atlanta Thrashers and the Ottawa Senators on March 27, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. It was reported that True North Sports and Entertainment has completed its deal to purchase the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers allowing them to move the franchise to Winnipeg. Canada peding league approval May 31, 2011. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
According to a report by New York Daily News writer Mitch Lawrence, Hawks general manager Rick Sund has been offered a new deal by the Atlanta Spirit Group but will wait until after the season to decide whether or not he wants to continue to run the franchise on a day-to-day basis.
Atlanta's owners want Rick Sund to stay on as GM and offered him a deal to stay, but he's told them he'll have a better idea what he wants to do after the season. He wants to take some time to decide if he intends to continue running the Hawks on a day-to-day basis, or if he wants to slow down and become a consultant for Atlanta or for another franchise.
This could be an interesting offseason for the Atlanta Hawks in addition to the questions surrounding both Sund and head coach Larry Drew. Josh Smith will enter the final year of his contract and he may not be interested in remaining in Atlanta after previously asking to be traded. Smith has blossomed and even if he is willing, the franchise might not be in position to offer him an extension that will compete with those he will receive in an open market.
Atlanta went into the luxury tax this season for the first time ever but were only slightly over and countered that by selling off a second round draft pick in the upcoming draft. Can they make moves to gain enough financial flexibility to give Josh Smith an extension or will they be forced to trade him just as he seems to be taking his game to another level?
Its also worth pointing out that previously Hawks owner Michael Gearon Jr. said that any contract discussions involving Sund would take place after the season. Whether this report is true or not, it is something to keep an eye on for what is sure to be a major story line this offseason.