May 7, 2008 / 9:45 PM / 12 years ago

Hawks general manager Billy Knight resigns after loss to Celtics

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Atlanta Hawks general manager Billy Knight submitted his resignation on Wednesday just days after his club lost to the heavily favored Boston Celtics in the seventh game of the Eastern Conference quarter-finals.

Knight will step down on July 1 after six seasons with the Hawks.

“The time has come for me to take a break and fully evaluate my future plans,” he said in a statement.

“I am tremendously pleased with what we were able to accomplish this season in reaching the post-season, as the Hawks’ return to the playoffs energized the city and our franchise.

“My passion for the franchise has never wavered, but I feel I’m leaving the organization in much better shape than it was in when I took over.”

The 55-year-old became general manager in April 2003 after one season as the team’s director of basketball operations.

Atlanta crept into the playoffs with a 37-45 record and took the top-seeded Celtics to a deciding game before losing 99-65 on Sunday in Boston.

The Hawks reached the post-season for the first since the 1998-99 campaign when they got to the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

Writing by Steve Ginsburg in Washington, editing by Ken Ferris

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