SEATTLE (AP) -Seattle SuperSonics majority owner Clay Bennett will decide soon - perhaps by week's end - whether coach Bob Hill or general manager Rick Sund will return next season.
``We've gone through this process and have made some decisions. We'll make some announcements, I think, soon,'' Bennett said Tuesday in a conference call from New York, where he was trying to find private investors for his proposed $500 million arena in the Seattle suburb of Renton - now that state lawmakers have declined to vote on a public financing plan.
Bennett will attend an NBA board of governors meeting Thursday and Friday in New York - after his team finishes its season out of the playoffs for the fourth time in five years. Bennett said, ``We will get together at the end of the week,'' to decide whether to bring in his own people to run the team for next season.
Sund, who began his NBA management career in the mid-1970s with the Milwaukee Bucks, was hired under previous ownership in 2001 by Wally Walker. Walker left the franchise soon after Bennett agreed to purchase it last July from a group led by Starbucks Corp. Chairman Howard Schultz.
Hill, a former coach in New York, Indiana and San Antonio is finishing his first full season coaching the Sonics. The team picked up his one-year contract option at the end of last season, which began with Hill as an assistant to Bob Weiss. Hill replaced the fired Weiss on Jan. 3, 2006, and finished last season 22-30.
Seattle enters this season's finale 31-50, the second-worst record in the Western Conference. A loss Wednesday at home against Dallas will leave the Sonics with their fewest wins since 1985-86, when they finished 31-51.
Hill has lamented unending injuries that have doomed this season, his ninth as an NBA head coach. He has also said he knows the coach usually takes unjust blame for the fallout.
Robert Swift, expected to be Seattle's starting center, was lost for the season during a preseason game in October. All-Star and leading scorer Ray Allen was bothered by bone spurs in his ankles for much of the season and will miss the final 16 games. Second-leading scorer Rashard Lewis also missed 22 games in the middle of the season with a hand injury.
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