Hawks find season’s end unsettling

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Updated | May 7 | 11:53 a.m. Now the real fun starts for the Atlanta Hawks.

Dumped from the playoffs on Sunday, the Hawks season came to a close yesterday when players returned to Philips Arena to clean out their lockers for the summer. What comes next will set the tone for this fall – Will Josh Smith and Josh Childress get new contracts? Is General Manager Billy Knight on the way out? Will coach Mike Woodson be back?

But before all of that, let’s take a moment to relish the Hawks first postseason in nine years. Like the regular season, the series versus the Boston Celtics was a roller coaster ride. The Hawks, though, showed signs of the team they could be and took the league’s supposed best team to seven games. Amazing for a Hawks team expected to fold in four.

And Al Horford (top photo), the stud runner-up for Rookie of the Year, injected enthusiasm and flair into the roster, something the team desperately needed. At least we know this much about the Hawks next season – Horford will be back to dazzle us with this play on the court and wow us with his youthful exuberance and telegenic good looks. He talked with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the end of the season:

“I don’t know what to do with myself, man,” Horford said Monday as he walked down a corridor to his car. “I know we lost, but I just don’t know what to do with myself. You’re just done.”

What we could hope for is that Mike Bibby (right photo), like Woodson and Knight, would be dumped. Bibby added little to the regular season after arriving in February. His performance during the Celtics series was worse. Joe Johnson provided the veteran leadership the team sorely needs while Bibby just took up roster space. The photo from Game 7 of Bibby riding the bench, his head wrapped in a towel in an attempt to hide from his on court demons, provided a snapshot of his playoff efforts.

Update | One of the three is now gone: Knight resigned Tuesday night after meeting with one of the team’s owners. His resignation is effective July 1. No word — yet — on when or if Woodson will be shown the door. The off-season is already looking up. Team officials told the Associated Press that the resignation did not effect Woodson’s status.

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