Hawks’ Drew will return next season

ATLANTA (AP)

— Larry Drew is returning for his third season as the Atlanta Hawks’

coach despite the team’s first-round exit from the playoffs.

The Hawks announced Friday the team is exercising its option on Drew’s contract for next season.

General manager Rick Sund says Drew “did an outstanding job” dealing with injuries and the NBA’s condensed schedule.

Drew

led the Hawks to a 40-26 regular-season record before the team lost to

the Boston Celtics in six games in the first round of the playoffs. It

was a step back for the franchise after three straight second-round

appearances.

Atlanta had the fourth-best record in the Eastern

Conference despite losing All-Star center Al Horford for all but 11

games of the regular season. Horford returned in Game 4 of the Celtics

series.