Hawks fans: Summer speculation

Is summer really here yet? The thermostat in my house says “yes!” My truck parked outside of the garage (I don’t park in there, The Queen does, and if you’re married, you KNOW who The Queen is) with the windows up agrees, especially if I happen to be getting into it in the middle of the day. The NBA Playoffs? They say “no”, summer doesn’t begin until they end. So we can’t call this the summer doldrums. Shall we call it the late spring, my-team-lost-sooner-than-I’d-hoped-but-still-somewhat-expected doldrums? Of course, I see that some of us are in full mid-summer form, raising their canniblogging (copyrighted term, circa MannyT) capabilities to new levels. You know who you are!

 

Search Still On

No word from master poker player Rick Sund on a new coach. I guess when it was reported that he would be taking his time, that’s precisely what was meant. Or am I being impatient? Does it really matter how quickly Sund picks a new guy to man the rudder? Or is taking longer and “doing your homework” the way to go? Could a flurry of hires by other teams cause Sund to pull the trigger quicker than he’d like? The Philadelphia Sixers have tabbed Doug Collins as their new sideline stalker, and both New Jersey and Chicago have been reported as wanting to make a splash in this part of the market. Will that even have an effect on what Sund does? Chances are, all of the teams that are looking for new coaches (Philadelphia the exception) are going to do their due dilligence and not make moves that are rash, despite the media driven posturing. In fact, nobody except Philly has made a final move, so perhaps Sund isn’t so slow after all…so far.

 

Superfluous Soap Opera of Stupendous Summer of Superstars

How many times have you heard of the Summer of 2010 free agency class? Probably more than you’d care to count, considering the noise surrounding it started over a year ago. So rather than talk about it the same way everybody else has, I figured I’d try to come up with the most ridiculous title to such a discussion as I possibly could. Something tells me that A) I outdid myself, and B) Somebody who has never posted here will confirm this suspicion in a most unflattering fashion. Viva La Blogging!!

Okay, back to the topic at hand. While the conversation in media circles has been usually about which star free agent player will go where, things have taken a turn for the more…oh, I just about can’t find the words for it. And THIS time, it’s not simply some columnist or pundit somewhere trying to think up something new and clever to say. No, this latest batch of preposterous possibilities comes from the free agents-to-be themselves (Dwyane Wade being the mouthpiece in this case). Or so it has been reported. Personally, I think the idea of the top free agents of this summer getting together to discuss their future destinations is either nonsense. Or could there be an unseen nugget of truth to Wade’s statements? Hey, don’t take my word for it, check out Atlanta Hawks beat writer Michael Cunningham, as he  weighs in on the matter and tells it like it is.

Speaking of Wade, here’s an interesting statement he made, adding an NBA players perspective on coaching, to the mix. The below excerpt is from the original article that started all this noise about the star free agents conferring together:

“I don’t necessarily get into all the coaches stuff,” Wade said. “I feel the coach is only as good as his players. There are some great, great coaches around who can squeeze a lot of life out of their players, like Jerry Sloan. Every year he proves that.”

Now while some of us fans would probably like to latch onto said statement and use it as a “fact” to bolster their opinion on the subject, let’s remember that this is how a player sees it (a different perspective). More specifically, this is how ONE player sees it, not to be confused with or assumed to be the opinion of all NBA players. But it’s an interesting statement all the same. I feel that his assertion that a coach is only as good as his players is both true, and yet incomplete. But then he goes on to mention how there are some truly great coaches who can do a lot with their players. Would that not suggest something different than the idea he posed in his first sentence, suggesting that the level of the players determines the caliber of the coach? I do think so. What might his complete thought be on the matter? I’m guessing you’d be hard pressed to get that, especially from a player of Wade’s level. He’s well paid and things are built around him. He either won’t have much to say out of caution, or because he doesn’t really care as much as you’d think. Or maybe neither idea is on the mark. You might get something completely different from a guy who is coming off the bench, and playing for his third or fourth team in his seven years of NBA experience.

So is either idea correct? Or is it a mix of both. Maybe Wade is saying that the average coach is only as good as the players you give him to work with, but the truly great coaches can do much more with what they are given. That makes sense to me, at least to an extent, whether I agree or not. It’s a perspective, not something written in stone. Then again, what if you give an average or mediocre coach a great player or two? Will that raise the ability of the coach to do what he is supposed to do? Does it change his knowledge of the game? Does it influence his ability to make in-game decisions, exploit matchups, counter the opposing coaches’ and teams’ strategies and tactics? Or are all of those things intangibles that a coach either has, or doesn’t have, and can either learn or not learn? Are the players merely average, worse, or better tools to work with in trying to accomplish a goal (winning)?

If that is true, then what makes a truly great coach who can maximize what he has, different than his peers? Hawks fans, and basketball fans in general – What do you think?

 

On A Side Note…

David Stern continues to keep what seems to me like an unnecessary choke hold on the Lebron Sweepstakes. Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon finds himself the latest victim of breathing a single word about even liking the idea of acquiring Lebron James. Predictably, Mark Cuban was the first (imagine that), and may not be the least. Tampering? What tampering? Saying you wouldn’t mind having Lebron James on your team is tampering? Wouldn’t anybody say that? And not that I’m complaining, but why did Cuban get a $100,00 fine, but Gearon only gets $25,000? Is Stern putting a price on the type of words you use, or can the ASG simply not afford as much? Okay, okay, the last was a low blow (and a JOKE, I repeat JOKE), that I couldn’t resist. What can I say, I’m just another fan suffering from the doldrums described in the first paragraph of this post.

 

Summer of Sund continues….

186 comments Add your comment

vava74

June 1st, 2010
11:59 am

Europe is not the best place to find a BIG.

The Gasol brothers, in particular Pau, are a rarity over here (Marc will get better) and the most that you can hope for is to find a lesser version of Okur (who is a rarity on his own due to his combination of size and mobility).

When they are big, they usually either immobile or lack skills. When they are skilled, they are either too small, too slow or too soft.

No rebounding, little D, good hands and good shooting is the norm.

Big Ray

June 1st, 2010
12:58 pm

Nire ,

Thanks! Had to ring the summer in right. :)

Vava ,

Well THANKS for peeing on our parade and telling us how it is with European big men! :lol:
Want to hear something funny? There are quite a number of American players that fit the same descriptions…

Big Ray

June 1st, 2010
1:04 pm

O’brien ,

I guess we’re talking in the theme of “JJ is going, how do we best recoup.” We can’t replace him, as we all know. Would I take Hinrich, Gibson, and some low first round draft pick (or maybe a 2nd rounder in addition)? Yep. Better than him just walking away. Perhaps the best we can hope for is a S&T that is equal in $, but unequal in talent exchange.

On the other hand, Sekou could be wrong (though I won’t bet against him). Either way, JJ isn’t gone yet. We shall see.

Astro Joe ,

Here’s a question: what will the expectations of Coach Vacant be if Joe Johnson isn’t around when the season starts? As you said, exceeding last season’s results will be difficult. Without Joe, you’d think those expectations would have to change.

Well, maybe not. After all, Coach Vacant can and will turn water into wine and NBDLs into NBAMVPs. As long as he doesn’t win COY. After that, the curse is on…. ;)

Astro Joe

June 1st, 2010
2:00 pm

Ray, I said this a few days ago, if Joe leaves, the season becomes a referendum on Sund. But presumably, Coach Vacant inherits a nucleus with an All-Star center who is getting better, a SMOY who will be playing for his next contract, a DOPY runner-up determined to make his 1st All-Star game and Marvin. We’ve seen a worse core in these parts. I’m thinking somewhere around 42-45 wins. Joe leaving ia a -15 wins and Woody leaving is a +5 wins (right?) so that gets them in my suggested range.

Astro Joe

June 1st, 2010
2:27 pm

Here’s what I don’t understand about this Forum of Phenomnal Free Agents that is supposedly happening in someone’s backyard… they can’t all play together and they most likely will mostly end up in the Eastern Conference, so what are they deciding? I doubt that any of them end up with the Clippers, so I will assume that they will most likely discuss the Bulls, Heat, Knicks and maybe the Nets. So exactly what is there to discuss as a collective unit? LeBron, Wade, Joe, Amare, Bosh and Boozer will more than likely be split over 2-3 of those Eastern Conference teams. It seems to me they can’t ensure any trip to the Finals because they could potentially be colliding in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

The part that would be fascinating is if they were to decide to sign short-term contracts. If they all decided to sign a 2-3 year deal, and keep freeing themselves up to form a different “tag team”. They could even consider taking it a step further and coordinate the expiration of their next deal with some other elite players like Melo, Dwight, CP3, Deron or Durant. It would essentially give them the power to move relatively freely from team-to-team in search of a title as opposed to being held “captive” by GMs who may fail to put the right players around then over a 5-6 contract.

Now THAT would be a powerful output from this mega-meeting. That would truly “change the game”.

Melvin

June 1st, 2010
2:58 pm

Astro,

Can you post the link to Sekou’s interview????

O'Brien

June 1st, 2010
3:35 pm

Ray,

As much as I would love to keep JJ, if I’m the Hawks, I would not offer him a 6 year max deal. 5 years, ~$93 mil (which is the most other teams can offer him) is the most I would offer him. But if we are going to lose him, I hope we can work out a sign and trade.

AJ,

I like ZaZa’s effort, but if the right deal comes along, I would trade him. If we can add a Brad Miller or Brendan Haywood, that would be good for the Hawks. It gives them plenty of options, and it gives us a better defender (compared to ZaZa) to throw at Howard.

I like Booker and Brackins. But I’d be okay with Gani Lawal too. In the second round, I like Dexter Pittman.

As for the free agent meeting, I’m not sure how that’s going to work. What happens when LeBron says he wants to play with Stoudemire, but Stoudemire says he wants to play with Wade, but Wade says he wants to play with Boozer? Then what?

I think JJ will be the consolation prize though, because I think Wade will get one of the bigs (Boozer has ties to Miami, and he lives there), and LeBron will push for Bosh or Stoudemire. If Wade gets Boozer, and LeBron gets Bosh (or Stoudemire), I think that increases the chances of JJ coming back to the Hawks.

Big Ray

June 1st, 2010
3:37 pm

Astro Joe ,

Interesting thoughts on the top free agents. I’m betting on the money, money, money, mooooooneyyy….mooooneyyyy though….

As for the team and Coach Vacant, I tend to agree with that prediction.

Big Ray

June 1st, 2010
3:39 pm

O’brien

Could be. Joe might find himself playing second fiddle (or third) to the top brand names yet again. And if it causes him to return to the Hawks, then perhaps it would be sufficient motivation to be better than ever before. Especially in the playoffs…

Astro Joe

June 1st, 2010
3:57 pm

Here’s the thing, that’s yet another reason to sign a short-term deal. Bosh, for example, may be willing to take a $3M pay cut for 2-3 years to win a title but after that, he wants a shot for a max deal again. (or consider another team to win a title). If a few of them will be “forced” to take something less than a max deal, I can’t imagine that they will make that sacrifice over 5+ years. The other thing is if those secondary guys (Joe, Bosh, Boozer and Amare), can get an off-court deal done, they could make up the salary cut from their team. If Amare is playing next to Wade, he couldn’t get a deal with Coke, Gatorade, sneaker company ABC or whomever to supplement maybe $3M loss in his annual salary? Surely those secondary guys are factoring in the increase in their own brand image if they become the Robin to Wade or LeBron in terms of endorsement deals. Heck, Big Z got a puppet just for being in the vicinity of LeBron.

Of course, I don’t like any of this (even though I do find it fascinating). I like the idea that when they finish all of this plannnig and scheming, that an old school guy like Kobe will be waiting in the wings to rip apart this notion of a New NBA Order.

Astro Joe

June 1st, 2010
3:59 pm

Melvin, here’s the Sekou interview. He talks about the Hawks at the very end.

http://www.680thefan.com/audiovault/rude_awakening.php

vava74

June 1st, 2010
5:51 pm

OB,

To swap Zaza (position in the roster) for Brad Miller is preposterous.

Zaza is still young (26) and Miller old like hell (34).

Zaza has holes in his game but you simply do not swap 3 more years of solid, if un-spectacular contribution for a one year rental of a melting iceberg who’s outside shooting (his previous forte) is slipping fast.

Ray,

Let me continue with my peeing: even though Zaza is not the complementary big we need to cover Josh and Al’s shortcomings, he would EASILY average at least 15 and 9 in Euro bball.

Check out all that you want and you’ll see that there aren’t any real C’s averaging that at any real level of competition in Europe.

The euroleague rebounding leader was a 6′8” PF/C (!) averaging 9,5 rebounds per followed by Maric from Partizan averaging 8,4rpg.

To fish for C’s in Euroleague ball is like fishing sharks in your garden pond.

O'Brien

June 1st, 2010
6:03 pm

Vava,

What about losing Zaza and inserting Haywood then?

This offseason suggests to me that sund should have fired soot 2 years ago rather than giving him an extension.

Because we have no idea how these players will look under a different coaching staff. So its hard to predict which player will improve under the direction of a new coach.

Will JJ play well without ISOs? Will Marvin improve once his role is better defined? Will the new coach get Josh to cut down on his jumpshots and reduce his turnovers? What will Teague look like when given more minutes?

Unfortunately, we don’t know these answers, so the players can be harder to evaluate.

O'Brien

June 1st, 2010
6:05 pm

* I meant sund should have fired Woody 2 years ago…

Daniel

June 1st, 2010
6:09 pm

Nire- I can’t talk much about the French Open, but I am pumped for the World Cup.

Vava- How are you feeling about Portugal’s chances? Do you guys still love Ronaldo? Or has fallen out of favor in his home country as well?

dr.maryb

June 1st, 2010
7:09 pm

Given this ailing economy & Fans being forced to choose between paying their mortgages versus taking a family of four to a basketball game, the next years attendance numbers may decline even further.

How much Max-Money is there really available. Especially, if the G-4 Summit players are trying to get a team to sign two of them. How does one player tell another that he should take less to play with the other?
For Joe & others this could certainly be their last big deal. And, with these guys big uncles, cousins, parents ,d Grand-Parents looking for a piece of the pie? That pie gets eaten up pretty quickly.

Cory Blount is 41 years old and is out here slinging weed, smoking BLOUNTS and doing time.
Zach Randolph is allegedly already drug trafficking to get a jump on retirement it seems.
Eddie Curry in NYC is up there doing a TV episode for “REPO” by, not paying $500K for a fleet of Benzes.
EtC

These guys need money man! At the end of the day it’s more about the money than winning Championships!

LeBron is already eluding to going back to

dr.maryb

June 1st, 2010
7:13 pm

Given this ailing economy & Fans being forced to choose between paying their mortgages versus taking a family of four to a basketball game, the next years attendance numbers may decline even further.

How much Max-Money is there really available. Especially, if the G-4 Summit players are trying to get a team to sign two of them. How does one player tell another that he should take less to play with the other?
For Joe & others this could certainly be their last big deal. And, with these guys big uncles, cousins, parents ,d Grand-Parents looking for a piece of the pie? That pie gets eaten up pretty quickly.

Cory Blount is 41 years old and is out here slinging weed, smoking BLOUNTS and doing time.
Zach Randolph is allegedly already drug trafficking to get a jump on retirement it seems.
Eddie Curry in NYC is up there doing a TV episode for “REPO” by, not paying $500K for a fleet of Benzes.
EtC

These guys need money man! At the end of the day it’s more about the money than winning Championships!

LeBron is already eluding to going back to Cleveland, Wade ain’t leaving Miami, Joe and those two all play the same positions! Of those 3, however Joe is more likely to walk. Dirk stays, Bosh & Boozer probably walks.
But, outside of Flash & the King, the Tier 2 guys aren’t gonna take pay cuts, I just don’t see it!

These teams are ALL strapped, if you ask me.

vava74

June 1st, 2010
7:28 pm

Hi Daniel,

In general I completely stopped watching football about 7 years ago.

I simply got fed up with all the corruption that ruined the portuguese championship (FC Porto has been a mafia type organization since the late 70’s – with wiretaps on payments to refs, even invoices of travel expenses paid to refs revealed in all its “splendor” and little to no penalty).

It would take me 10.000 words just to describe the “surface”, but I can tell you that this has been the work of an evil genius “Pinto da Costa”, who built an empire with a combination of $30.00 hookers and trips to Brazil (I assume then at some stage compromising photos are part of the package as well) used to get favorable decisions by refs, league officials, police, judges, you name it…

The same happened in other championships where I had some “sympathies” like for instance Italy where finally 4/5 years ago Juventus got caught for what they had been doing for more than 20 years and Inter (a clean club) finally got the chance to simply play to win a fair series of championships and here is the result now, the first italian team to win the “triple crown” (scudetto, coppa and coppa dei campioni/champions league).

AC Milan had already been relegated for corruption in the early 80’s and got caught as well this time, jointly with AC Roma.

The same crap happened in the World Cup played in Korea and Japan when Korea got “lifted” by absurd calls against Spain and Italy (Portugal complained with no reason when they lost their match), as well as Brazil who, in the playoffs got a 0-1 clean goal by Belgium magically erased as well as many many midfield calls controlling their matches…

All because Nike and Brazil are worth gazillions on the Japanese merchandising market.

Again in Germany: Argentina – my favorite national team due to the fact that my parents lived there and brought home a sympathy for that country – scored a completely clean goal against Germany in the semi finals which was overruled (either as the game ended or in overtime – i can’t remember – and which would have been the deciding goal).

In relation to Portugal, I generally hate the national team since it represents most of the things I hate about our football.

In this case, it starts with the head coach – which is a complete idiot – and goes on with the portuguese players’ general attitude which usually shifts from being excessively presumptuous to having a complete lack of confidence on field when the goings get tough.

This year, after a few years drought and against all pressures and schemes, my favorite club, Benfica won the championship playing beautiful football. The work of a coaching genius makes wonders with almost the same players which in the year before looked like zombies.

Nonetheless, in total I watched less than 90 minutes of live action and just followed at a distance.

The roster had at least 2 players who deserved the call up to the portuguese national team (apart from the one which was indeed called), but they got snubbed because the HC is a major f*ckhead and hates Benfica because he got snubbed, was never invited to coach there and was trying to lick ass in order to get hired by Oporto who had the HC’s position vacant.

So, if they lose all 3 matches during phase 1, it will make my day.

As for Ronaldo, he is really, really good (easy within the top 3), but on the national team he tries to do more than he should and ends up playing like crap.

In club play, in spite of his high profile life with dozens of women per week, he is the ultimate professional, taking care of his physique and working out long hours, so he deserves my respect for being able to balance both things in an almost inhuman way.

And I sincerely didn’t realize that he had fallen out of favor anywhere. Maybe slightly less popular, but in Spain he had a tremendous season and is highly regarded.

In a nutshell: I will probably only watch a few minutes here and there.

vava74

June 1st, 2010
8:11 pm

Przybilla would be the guy I would bring in if we could get him since he would always work hard and has a good mentality to be a 20/25 minute backup.

Haywood doesn’t.

O'Brien

June 1st, 2010
8:21 pm

Vava,

Pryzbilla is an injury risk, so I would be concerned about signing him. I like nenad Kristic too, but he has been injured 3 of the last 4 years.

Big Ray

June 1st, 2010
9:40 pm

Vava ,

Try American Football on for size. Or don’t. I love it.

I hear the hookers cost a lot more than $30 though…..

vava74

June 2nd, 2010
9:44 am

Ray,

American football is entertaining enough for me to follow it “mildly”, however, the pace of the game is tailor made to cram in commercials and allow you guys to get up pick up more beer and pee, making it annoying/boring for me to watch most of the time.

I think that the rules should be changed in order for it to flow much faster, with only a maximum of 10 second stoppages between downs and 15 second stoppages when possession shifted.

That would make it a lot more exciting in my opinion.

As for the hookers: the right hand guy of the real football mob king is the owner of many bordelos, so the funny thing is that the club does not even have to spend the $30 of whatever they charge normally. It’s on the house.

So, there you have it, an empire built on a simple diversion of available means within your organization.

I can assure you that this is 100% true and not, by any means, an exaggeration.

In some of the wiretaps the middle men which made the arrangements discussed over the phone if the referees had requested milk, milk with coffee or coffee, as a code for the hookers’ skin tone.

All amidst a few good laughs. There were also wiretaps about fake newspaper articles and clear instructions to both reporters and players on what to say to allow the disciplinary organs apply more lenient penalties to FC Porto players or the contrary against the clubs.

Apart from the refs, the league’s delegates which job is to turn in a report after the games on the refereering were also “bought” and always produced positive reports on the worst refs. Etc…

Astro Joe

June 2nd, 2010
1:08 pm

I’m pretty sure that during the World Series, baseball operations pretty much shut down so that nothing (like a coaching change) can detract from their big event. Does the NBA do something similar? I just wonder if a team can announce their new head coach once the Finals start tomorrow… or if Stern mandates that nothing happens away from the game to detract fans from the actual series.

O'Brien

June 2nd, 2010
3:11 pm

AJ,

I think teams can still announce their coaching hires. But my guess is they would announce it on the days they don’t have games.

JJ has to be leaving, right? Because does anybody see the hawks offering him 6 years $120 mil? I think they will offer him the 5 year $95 mil Max.

And if you’re JJ, why stay with the hawks when you can make the same money somewhere else (especially if he joins another big name free agent).

I think our best chance at retaining JJ is if Lebron pairs up with one of the free agent bigs.

Say Wade pairs up with boozer or stoudemire (in Miami) , and lebron pairs up with bosh or stoudemire (in Cleveland, new York or Chicago ) , what does JJ do?

Doc

June 2nd, 2010
3:18 pm

We now have an instant big Ray classic tostart the summer.

Dude write a few books and retire.

Good stuff man.

WWSD

Doc

June 2nd, 2010
3:21 pm

Moving on up baby, first I phone entry for me

way cool

maybe now nre will give me a break n puncs and caps

:-)

Remarkable

June 2nd, 2010
4:31 pm

Is anyone else concerned about this “Free Agent Summit?” How I read this is, “We are all going to get together and decide how much money we all want to make, which team several of us might want to make into a winner (such as when Boston signed Garnett and Allen), and which team(s) gets shafted.” This sounds like collusion to me.

niremetal

June 2nd, 2010
4:55 pm

Doc,

maybe now nre will give me a break n puncs and caps

Sure, but no pass on misspelling “nire” and “in” ;) . On an unrelated note, shortening my handle to nire actually removes the meaning behind it (my 3 favorite bands in 7th grade were NIRvana, REM, and METALlica), although it’s a useful shorthand so I don’t mind.

Sautee

June 2nd, 2010
5:58 pm

And here all these years I thought it was doc, not Doc.

Corrupted by an I-phone. Sad, really. ;-)

jeremiah

June 2nd, 2010
6:06 pm

you do need to get wade

jeremiah

June 2nd, 2010
6:08 pm

you need to get wade and johnson

doc

June 2nd, 2010
6:58 pm

nire, i liked nirvana, rem but metallica not so much. ;-)

doc

June 2nd, 2010
7:00 pm

oh my, have to go back and correct that one sautee.

thanks man, dont want anyone thinking i am going big time. heh heh

obviously, back to trusty macbook pro punching them out one finger literally at a time.

Sautee

June 2nd, 2010
7:03 pm

doc,

Yeah, don’t let that “thumb” thing make you lose your blog identity. ;-)

Big Ray

June 2nd, 2010
7:49 pm

New blog up…

W. R. Terrell

June 7th, 2010
12:49 pm

The HAWKS are lookinmg for a coach, one with experience who can perhaps take them to the next level. Why look when the best coach they can find is amongst the Atlanta faithful. I am a Dominique Wilkins fan since he was a collegian at the University of Ga. Who else knows the spirit of Atlanta HAWKS basketball moreso then Mr. Wilkins. He was the emdodiment of hustle, hardwork, lunch pale, bring it on every night even when the “fat lady” was screaming. That never say die kind of mentality. Add TREE ROLLINS as an assistant along with Steve Smith. There’s your winning combo folks. The kind of players that gave it all, that battled 48 minutes and more if necessary. Why look when we already have the best around.