Summer of Sund II: Preemptive strike

With the aftermath of the draft still reverberating throughout the NBA, we now turn our attention fully to free agency, trade, and – in a few weeks – the summer league.  Draft Day featured so many trades that one wonders if NBA teams have anything left in the bag for the festivities that begin on July 1st. Have no doubts, surely there’s more to come.

Typically, some transactions will take longer than initially expected. Others will happen very quickly. For Hawks fans, there is one guy who needs to act with speed and resolution: General Manager Rick Sund. While a slow and deliberate pace may be his preferred method of operation, it could prove costly this summer. Just look at what happened on June 24th. Teams moved quickly, with a sense of desperation in some cases. Normally, there is a flurry of movement early in the free agency period, even as the League moratorium comes to a close (July 8th). Then things settle down. Will this summer prove to be different? It’s possible, but that may not be the point. It’s the total volume of what could happen in that first flurry that matters, I think. Or, it could be business as usual. But, I’m not so sure. What do you think?


“Franchisers” First

Hyping the free agent class of 2010 became so cliche that we’ve all probably gotten sick of it. All the same, the big names are where the most attention will be focused in the beginning. Lebron, Wade, Bosh, Stoudamire, Johnson, Boozer…these guys will be the headliners. The only name the Hawks need worry themselves with is Joe Johnson, the only franchise type they’ll be able to sign anyway.

So what will it take to keep Joe around? I think only one thing works. Offer him a max contract, or something very close to it. Otherwise, what exactly is his motivation for staying? Larry Drew may not have as much of an effect on the situation as management would like. Drew can only promise changes to the gameplan, and perhaps some changes in the locker room due to more accountability during practice. Would that be enough? Not without the money, it won’t. Back to the subject of the money, if the Hawks feel they really must keep Joe, they better make their offer quickly. When Johnson left Phoenix for Atlanta, he was leaving a winning situation, but he was quick and resolute in his decision to do so, even if the process took a while (we all know what happened). The Hawks will have to be the same in their efforts to keep him, if they really want to keep him. Do they really want to keep him, and how badly? I recall one whispered suggestion, from an ESPN writer I believe, that not all within the organization feel as married to Joe as you might think. Maybe this is nothing more than a small spark of swirling rumor. Or maybe not. We shall see.

Either way, Sund must act fast.


Options at the Ready

Every year, there is some big move, followed by smaller moves. The chances of a team overpaying ridiculously for that big move (and then having it not pan out) is pretty good. Sometimes it’s a couple of teams that do it, but usually not more than that. Then there’s a multiplayer trade that involves multiple teams, and those are interesting to analyze. And, of course, there is that shrewd move that kind of goes under the radar. How many of those shrewd moves are lucky happenstance (”hey, look what fell into my lap”)? Hard to say, unless you have the true inside knowledge of such situations. On the outside, it doesn’t matter “why”, sometimes not even “how.”

Several teams (five, I think) have cleared massive amounts of cap space to try and lure the more popular free agent talents away from their current teams. Somebody is going to win, somebody is going to get a consolation prize, and somebody is going to flat out lose big. And then there are the lesser winners and losers. For every team trying to strike it big in free agency, there is another team with smaller ambitions that makes a hit that really matters and actually fits. Those that swing and strike out? They often end up overpaying for someone they really didn’t want in the first place, and doesn’t fit them as well as the team needs them to. One prime example is the Golden State Warriors going after Corey Maggette for $50 million after striking out on Elton Brand. And what did Maggette do for the Warriors besides provide more of the same stuff they already had, miss 12 games, and partially stifle the growth of some of their younger players? This is precisely what the Hawks need to avoid.

If Joe Johnson goes, the Hawks don’t need to come up with a backup or alternate plan. They should have that already, if not two or three plans or ideas. What they need to do is  execute that plan. And they’ll need to do it quickly, as quickly as can be reasonably expected. Again, slow and deliberate won’t cut it. If Joe Johnson leaves Atlanta, and the Hawk can get nothing in return via a sign and trade, then they’ll have to turn to other, lesser talents.’s Fran Blinebury offers up a handful of the  older veteran players who will be available, as well as some of the up and coming crowd.

Of the more battle-tested vets, John Salmons probably makes the most sense for the Hawks. Not only would he be able to fill the better part of the scoring void that would be created by Johnson’s absence, but he would allow the Hawks to heavily consider trading Jamal Crawford for a needed frontcourt piece.

At the same time, centers Brad Miller and Jermaine O’Neal could make sense for the Hawks as well, particularly if they are utilized properly (off the bench, in limited minutes - probably no more than 20). Miller has never been a major defensive force, but he’s of traditional center size, can contribute some on the glass, and is fairly tough-minded. In addtion, he brings  outside shooting capability, and is a good passing big man. Jermaine O’Neal is the better defensive presence and has a more effective post scoring repertoire. If he can be kept healthy and not overused, he could be a better option for the Hawks. Can either one be pryed away from their current teams, or would they stick around in a highly diminished role for a shot at contending for a ring, ala Zydrunas Ilgauskas? Speaking of Big Z, is he still attached to Cleveland? What happens if Lebron leaves? Is he worth pursuing a second time after spurning the Hawks (and any other suitors who didn’t have a chance at the time, either)?

The younger crowd presents some interesting options, especially if the Hawks want to mix more depth into the situation. In fact, that may be a smart option if it can still be quality depth. One guy I think the Hawks should look at the hardest on that list is Anthony Morrow. But like Wesley Matthews, he may be too hot of a commodity to pry away from his current team. But if Sund can steal another one from Golden State, this is the guy to snag (well, Biedrins comes to mind as well, but we’ll discuss that later). Morrow can shoot with the best of them and will grab rebounds as well, which is something we figure to miss at the guard position if Johnson vacates the ATL. Does he play defense? Not particularly well, but since he’s young, he can still be taught. My guess is that he would fare better than Jamal Crawford…Speaking of defense, my second favorite guy on Blinebury’s list is Ronnie Brewer. The ex-Jazz guard gets after it like Mario West, only he plays under control and is pretty efficient on offense. Basically, he could bring a lot of what we miss in Josh Childress. You know, good solid defense and over 50% shooting from the field, despite a funky-looking jump shot. If Joe leaves, I say try and sign both guys. What do you think?

Kyle Lowry might deserve some thought here as another point guard option for the Hawks, but it could be a very crowded backcourt if he, Teague, Jamal, and Mike Bibby are all in the mix. That, and Lowry is reportedly a bit of a bulldog in the locker room, and word is that he wants to be a starter. Adding him would certainly test Larry Drew’s skills as both manager and mediator. Is this a good idea, or a bad one?

So what do you think of the above players? Should the Hawks not even think twice about all of this and simply concentrate on offering Joe the sun, moon, stars, and essentially the rest of the solar system? How many of the above players should the Hawks go after if Joe is out the door? How many can they go after?

197 comments Add your comment

Matt the Brave

June 27th, 2010
8:48 am

Matt the Brave

June 27th, 2010
8:48 am

Yes, first! Woo!

Rex Davier

June 27th, 2010
8:48 am

First! This is my first first! :)


June 27th, 2010
9:05 am

Very few things will happen until LeBron’s situation is settled. In this unusual year, I think a few more free agents will be patient because they may want to be the 2nd star/max player on LbJ’s team.

After that deal is settled, all the runner-ups will make deals at high speed. Sund needs to be ready for that wave of opportunity. The claim at draft time was that the focus will be on veterans to fill out the roster. I am very interested in who if anyone gets the Hawks MLE. It has been sitting on the shelf for several years.

All the while, I think Sund needs to work on JJ with a plan that highlights the Hawks getting better via less splashy free agent pick ups. If he can sell that idea, maybe JJ re ups for compromise money (a little less than max, but well more than anyone else could pay him, like 6 yrs/$110-115 mil)

There are too many pieces for me to worry about who they bring in yet. Until the JJ thing is resolved, everything is skewed. Sure they need bigs for the bench, but how they play into the salary budget (minimums, MLE, traded star) depends on the JJ situation.

WWSD–Time to earn the paycheck.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by . said: [...]


June 27th, 2010
9:11 am

Great synopsis of what we have to look for coming up in July.

Lets sign JJ (pay the man… he deserves it) and look to pick up one of the ‘BIGS’ mentioned – Brad Miller or Jermaine O’neal.

There isn’t much more needed for this Hawks team… other than ‘Larry Drew’ tearing into their skin a time or two…. or three. And getting their attention!

Add the veteran help and lets move on to the next! 2010-2011 season!


June 27th, 2010
9:13 am

i think if the hawks dont act with urgency and focus jj will do he same thing chills did and look elsewhere. the lack of urgency suggest they are only half-interested in him. it will also depend on what is out there. if their strategy is that the longer it takes for some teams to get their guy only to then fail and will then act in more desperation later is to their advantage for higher bids; then the longer the hawks allow him to play the field only hurts their own chances of resigning him. if the hawks know other teams interests and willingness to pay or know his true worth, then they might be able to wait. unfortunately, it is impossible to know for sure but sometimes they think they know more than they do and fall mightily.

Big Ray

June 27th, 2010
9:15 am

Matt the Brave

You’re the man.

MannyT ,

How did I know you’d say exactly that?


You think that’s all we need? Remember, we have only three “bigs” under contract right now – Zaza, Al, and Josh. And do you like the bench as currently constructed, outside of adding just one more big?

are you kidding me?

June 27th, 2010
9:28 am

hawks = epic fail……………


June 27th, 2010
9:29 am

well my first post was from the perspective of jj. the hawks know how much they have to work with and who they can consider as options if jj goes. if the twain between them is too large on first pass they better go to plan b in a hurry and leave jj at the altar is my best guess. what is it about birds on the hand, two or three might be better than on especially if the work hard and fill in the vacant spaces. i just dont want him to come back and say gee we tried hard to get jj and because of that there isnt much left out there, so we have done little. that is translated into “we dont care and it was all about saving money”. id rather they be aggressive and fail because of that than passive and reactive. there is that word at play again, proactive vs. reactive. they better have there pieces lined up and ready to fall if they are too far apart with jj, i dont think he is going to have to come down much to meet their offer but the other way around, the hawks have to pony up more.


June 27th, 2010
9:34 am

I’d say we’ve changed enough in the locker room – the head hawk on the bench! No need to get out of hand. We DID win 53 games last year…. With the same 3 ‘bigs’ and the same bench.

We couldn’t handle the paint pressure last season (O-lando & Clee-land)… Oh… and L.A…. remember that road trip.

The nucleus is there. Mechanical support is all we need.


June 27th, 2010
9:35 am

(Picture Perfect)

Can you please copy my post and paste it here from your previous blog and comment on it?
I was posting simultaneously and was a “child left at the bus-stop”. I still got my lunch – but
no seat on the bus!

I’m on blackberry – uggh!


June 27th, 2010
9:36 am

You want something different from me? Ok, then how about plan Atlanta-NEW-KEW-LER-Exchange. Both a fun poke at George Bush and a cool acronym (ANKLE)

Tell JJ you won’t resign him, but you appreciate his efforts. Because of that appreciation, the Hawks are willing to S&T him to a real contender that may not be in the cap space race…like San Antonio, Denver or Dallas (intentionally limited to Western Conference teams.)

Our goal is to get back a good player that can fill his void in a different way…like Tony Parker, an older Chanuncey Billups, or Caron Butler. At the same time, the Hawks put a little chaos into the free agent market while taking some control away from the big cap space teams. How’s that for getting smart and different with a side order of wordplay! :-P

Big Ray

June 27th, 2010
9:39 am


Just for you:


IF Sund and Pender-Draft careers were as ICONIC as Mr. Stevie Wonder and Mr. Ray Charles?
Then, newkid’s ANAL-ogies would not be so Anal – but, the Greatest Compliment ever!

There is no crsytal ball sitting on a GM’s desk – only a PC or a MAC! Which, can sometimes look like a
Kaleidoscope View -Finder, with all those pretty colors and prisms. Like a fan, the GM
can see what he wants to see – a fantasy and at times no reality!

Rather than gamble with house money in round 2, it’s better to have a strategy and a plan!
Our plan was stated, Pick the best talent available at #24 and round out the roster with
proven and measurable talent from the FA’s talent pool. And, there is a lot of that to be had.

Listen, even with LeBron, Wade and Bosh – their teams hasn’t won anything! Certainly, not even
Wade without an effective Shaq on his decline. Even there, Shaq was an elder statesman who was
Highly Motivated to win without Kobe and to find out from Kobe, “Tell me how my azz taste?”

I agree with the Hawks GM, we are still one of the youngest teams out here and now we
need to move away from the Youth – Movement. Looking at the Champions of history?
History does repeat Itself! And we have learned – you can not without veteran leadership!

Our window of opportunity is still open and we want to win NOW and sooner rather than later.
I am all in for that concept. As far as the draft, only time will tell who are the Winners and Losers of the 2010 NBA Draft experience. Because of so many teams clearing “Cap and Trade” space?
A lot of otherwise better talent has fallen to the bottom of the first and top of the second rounds.

I think we did well to get Jordan Crawford, but only time will tell us that.

steve brown

June 27th, 2010
9:40 am

Trade Jamal Crawford? What are you nuts? Did he piss you off somehow? Johnson is gone as Kovy was gone. The fast move is a sign and trade at JJ’s request, everybody wins.


June 27th, 2010
9:41 am


Big Ray

June 27th, 2010
9:41 am

MannyT ,

Oh, I wasn’t rattling the saber at ya, but nicely done! I’m sure that would elicit some interesting responses as well…and it’s also something I don’t think the Hawks would have the creativity (or the stones) to do. But off the grid, nonetheless!


June 27th, 2010
9:43 am


Very innovative, however I would not play that game with Joe. He is shrewd, pragmatic and
has a very sensitive ego! I wouldn’t play that game of insult and posturing – the Hawks will
only end up losing – “The Crying Game!”. That is, IF they really want this man!

Nice strategy though – just not in this case. -smiles-


June 27th, 2010
9:44 am

@Ray–no worries. I just have to show that I do parallel processing on topics sometimes. There is rarely one right answer.

Big Ray

June 27th, 2010
9:45 am

Trading Jamal is insane, but Joe going is a foregone conclusion that we’re okay with? Am I in the twilight zone?

Of course, I could have gotten the names and jersey numbers backwards this whole time. Perhaps Jamal is the 4 time all-star who averages 20, 5, and 5…and Joe is the sixth man of the year.

I know this much: neither one impressed me much in last year’s playoffs, and one of them has an expiring contract that other teams may find attractive. The other is an unrestricted free agent who isn’t going to sit around.

Big Ray

June 27th, 2010
9:47 am

drmaryb ,

That’s the not-so-often asked question. Do the Hawks want Joe that much, or are there levels of “existence” they are prepared to accept? Most people will say they have no choice, especially considering that the franchise has been losing money left and right. There could be more at play here than we think, however. And there often is.

No, I’m not trying to promote a conspiracy theory. Just trying to keep my eyes open to “alternate realities”, so to speak.


June 27th, 2010
9:47 am

@drmaryb–the ANKLE plan wasn’t a game. It was a “We don’t think he’ll stay” option that gives the Hawks something versus nothing. If I were in Toronto, I’d probably have this as Plan A for Bosh…because I think he’s way more gone than Joe.

btw…I started to link your post that Ray redid above, but I posted it to the old blog instead of this one. :oops: Shame on me…but it all works out in the end. I know how tricky it can be to blog from a Blackberry.

Jay B.

June 27th, 2010
9:52 am

JJ should to be re-signed but won’t return to Atlanta if Josh Smith is here–that’s how serious the issues are between them.

Plan A-So, if you want JJ, give serious consideration to a sign & trade involving Toronto by sending them Smith, Jeff Teague and Josh Childress for Chris Bosh and Jarrett Jack.

Plan B-If you want to keep Smith and Childress, you would do well to remember that JJ is on record having stated he would love to play with Chris Paul. So send JJ to New Orleans for Emeka Okafor and James Posey.

With Plan A, you get someone who wants to be the face of a franchise in Bosh along with Horford, Williams, Johnson and Jack as starters and your bench has Bibby, Crawford, Evans, and Pachulia. Plan B turns Horford into the face of the franchise along with fellow starters Smith, Williams, Childress and Teague with a veteran bench in Bibby, Crawford, Posey, Okafor and Pachulia; a team that more closely resembles the Detroit model Sund seeks to emulate–no superstars but solid, talented and balanced.

Of your suggestions, while I like Ronnie Brewer’s game, I’d rather have Childress. With that said, the Hawks need help in the frontcourt more than in the backcourt. They currently have 2 Crawfords and Evans, want to re-sign Johnson, may add Childress, and we can’t forgot Mario West is still lurking around. That’s six guys for 1 spot! I know Chills, Evans and JJ can swing to the 3 but then you’ve got 7 guys for 2 spots.

I’m not sure that Collins, Morris and Joe Smith were given a legitimate shot to show what they can do. Bringing them back–and letting them play–may not be the worst thing the Hawks could do. IMO, Joel Anthony, formerly of Miami is a better choice than Miller (age) or O’Neal (injuries).



June 27th, 2010
9:55 am

Imagine Jamal in Phoenix where defense is optional. Would they be willing to give up a couple of younger pieces with low salaries (Lopez/Dragic) to make that last big push? To make the money work, we’d have to take Barbosa, but he seems to be available lately.

Not saying it should happen, but I would not be upset if Sund could pull it off. Nash & Hill are not getting any younger. Their window is closing fast.

steve brown

June 27th, 2010
10:00 am

Big Ray or whoever you are please get yourself some help, you have made this about your brain’s obvious damage rather than the Hawks.


June 27th, 2010
10:02 am

(Clear Point)

Aaahh! Big-Blue – I feel so special! Thank You baby for the technological advances at your disposal!
I’m gonna wear this blog out and hog the ball – all day! Lol! Mmmmwah! (Big wet kiss!)


Thank You for the link on the previous blog! How do you do all that fancy stuff with your
keyboard? I loved your first blog re: Lebron being the lynch pin in the FA. Its pretty clear to me that
Dwade isn’t going anywhere, with all the drama in his life and wife – he will choose less change and stability over … Starting Ove! He will recruit his helpers!

LeBron stays in Cleveland as well! What more could Cleveland have done to accommodate his
Rich Talents! They even cleared the decks with the GM and HC. That, MannyT is LOYALTY
Personified and Unparalleled!

Either Joe goes to Miami, Chicago or stays! I think he stays! The G4 – Summit was all about the
Emotions and Embarrassment of losing and some sour grapes as well! Everybody has
calmed down now and it will be Home sweet Home for most great players!

Kobe will die a Laker and there is something Regal about: I DID IT MY WAY!
Also, Joe has moved his entire family here, so they will have a whole lot of selfish and
Hanger -On’s input as well. From what I hear, they all LOVE living in the “A”!

Let’s hope so! Hawks gotta pay more – well, because it’s Atlanta and NOT Los Angeles!


June 27th, 2010
10:07 am

The Hawks are going to have to make that trade for Chris Paul maybe Jamal Crawford expiring contract and Josh Childress and future draft pick. Joe Johnson appears to be heading to New York.

Ultimate Lakers Fan

June 27th, 2010
10:18 am

Atlanta Wake Up! My hometown fans should revisit your focus. The team is full of athletes with a big soft spot in the middle. Defense will take this time to the next level.

When this team focuses on playing defense, they will move forward. I love the pieces but Joe is not the answer. Save the money and move on!

Good team with poor fan support at games
Team’s best player disses the fans

What should occur;

1) JJ : Sign and trade him. I wouldnt pay a dime to see him play after he dissed the fans of Atlanta who pays his salary. Also, he holds the ball to dang long. Yes, he’s a great scorer but he slows the team down Forget u JJ!

2) Need for big men in the middle: Trade JJ and get some talented veterans or young hungry talent.

3) Possible point guards to trade for
a) Chris Paul Did Atlanta pass on him years ago?

b) Tony Parker Speed to go with the athletes on this team

4) Find a leader for this team:
Boston : KG Lakers: Kobe ( Last 3 NBA champions)

Atlanta: ???? Can’t be Joe. He doesn’t care.

Hittman Jamillion

June 27th, 2010
10:18 am

Well,first on jj do u give him twenty mil. It a be like rashard lewis though jj better than him cause he can create his own shoot and create 4 others. I look at the roster and see 4 good players jj al josh jamal a team usually only goes 8 maybe 9 deep. So logically we need 4 more good players. Jordan is a star thats under the radar much like wade was at marquette .Teague is here 2 run point so thats 6 pieces. What 2 do with zaza mo bibby marvin etc. I say trade jj cause jordan gonna be better alot better if given the opportunity. Brad miller is a good option. I just don’t know if u can put jc out there less u put a big out there who can score i do jj marvin 4 dirk or marvin za za 4 turkolou then keep jj sign miller bring back chills. Matter fact i like this sign brad miller,get turk he spread the floor well brewers good if not bring chills back. I say keep jamal a play point back up& jc back up jj.brew/ chills 4 turk n brad 4 al this championship team all day. And without breaking the bank. Plus it’s do a


June 27th, 2010
10:26 am

All of your moves outside of signing Joe will not make an impact. If the hawks EVER want to build a contender they should be in the conversation for players that will make the team better. Joe wants Max Money even though he is not a Max type of player. He is not a leader and actually prefers to play #2 to a leader. If the Hawks want to make a move to the next level then it will have to make bold Moves. I am sorry Salmons, Heyward, Brad Miller, Morrow are all typical moves the hawks generally make. Think BIG ATLANTA….or continue being the normal Status Quo franchise…


June 27th, 2010
10:31 am

Slamming Doors!

When a door closes? God opens a window!

If joe walks, the window of opportunity is still open! When you’re in love with a beautiful woman, and she breaks your heart? Date her sister!


June 27th, 2010
10:50 am

Ultimate LA Fan

Very nice points of view up there. Great plan B perspective!

Steve Brown

A few words from the Holy Bible that aren’t very nice and pretty! But, like Ragu? It’s in there!

If you own an ASS? If you can GPS where Hell is?
Then, mount your butt upon an ASS and go straight to HELL!

Blue-Ray is a child of God and only gets surly when you attack his character!
You did that! Now, leave us alone!

All we are doing is having some healthy, decent – conversation.
(-Cedric the Entertainer-)

Don’t worry Blue-Ray, I got me some GNAT – BE – GONE spray left over from the last time I exterminated cdog.


June 27th, 2010
11:09 am

@drmaryb—-I’ll share the fancy linking when I get back to a real keyboard this afternoon. You can google it using “wordpress href” it’s a pain to bring up the symbols on a blackberry.


June 27th, 2010
11:22 am


You are such a class act! Thank You baby-boy. Mmmmmwah!

Hittman Jamillion

June 27th, 2010
11:40 am

I read about the josh josh teague 4 bosh and jack that still doesn’t make this team better. I look at a players total game as a third option josh has great stats he average more steals assists blocks n was on the all defense team true bosh avg six more points but he takes mo shots. Bosh doesn’t make us better neither does jack. And the 2nd trade makes us worse. I don’t think u trade jj less u get a player who creates a mismatch 4 oppossing teams. Thats why i like the scenario i proposed earlier. Turkolou doesn’t wanna be in toronto get him 4 mw brad miller trade chills 4 brewer. Cut lose the dead weight bibby zaza mo etc


June 27th, 2010
11:45 am

Hey what about Jordan Farmar he was a great roll player for the Lakers Championship run.

Big Ray

June 27th, 2010
12:34 pm

Steve Brown ,

I could be reading you wrong here, but….are you trying to say you disagree with me? By the way, I heard that brain damage is contagious. Which means you might have gotten my brain damage just by reading what I wrote. Blogging is dangerous, man!

Big Ray

June 27th, 2010
12:46 pm

Ryan ,

It’s a bit of a tricky situation when you’re talking about adding another point guard. Bibby is seriously on the decline and should be coming off the bench, probably by the halfway point of the season, provided Teague is ready to shoulder the load. And though it’s perhaps not preferable, Jamal can handle minutes at that spot as well. I’m still not sure what to think of Farmar’s game. Would he be a good fit here? Even harder to say when we have yet to see Larry Drew’s system.

On the one hand, you can’t completely ignore a guy who played for a championship team. On the other hand, I’m not too impressed with a cat who couldn’t keep Derrick Fisher on the bench, and doesn’t shoot particularly well from the field. He can hit the three, but not any better than a few guys we already have. He stinks at the charity stripe (career 65% on FTs), plays passable defense, and doesn’t do much in the way of assists. Naw, not really interested. Career backup…


June 27th, 2010
1:01 pm

I’m sorry I’m late to the dance on this one and much of what I have to say may already have been said. But, here’s my proverbial two cents.

I think the Hawks should let Joe Johnson go (preferably by a sign-and-trade). I am not convinced, however, that he is eager to leave to be a second fiddle to anyone as many have suggested. Remember, he left Phoenix because he wanted to be “the man” and not the fourth option. If he had stayed in Phoenix, he would have been much closer to a ring than he has been during his tenure in Atlanta. Instead, being “the man” was more important to Mr. Johnson than getting “the ring”. So why would he look to hook up with D. Wade and Stoudemire in Miami or Lebron and Bosh in Cleveland or Chicago? Instead, if Atlanta loses Mr. Johnson, I suspect it would be to NY where he could be “the man” on another downtrodden team while making as much money as anyone outside of Atlanta can pay him.

I would prefer to see Mr. Johnson leave the Hawks and have the Hawks pick up some strategic pieces like Brad Miller, Jermain O’Neal, John Salmons, etc. and build through the sum of their parts for the next couple of years. That team wouldn’t necessarily compete for a Championship but taking a small step back (and getting rid of “iso-Joe” – the player and coach makes this only a small step back) to create a more complete, balanced team would actually put them closer to the elite-level.

In 2006, if anyone had suggested Atlanta would be closer to the Super Bowl in 3 years if they got rid of Michael Vick and built a new core of players concerned more about the team and each other than the next party, the person making the suggestion would have been hung in effigy and run out of town all the way to Little Rock. The real core of the Hawks does not start with Mr. Johnson, but (in order of importance): Horford, Smith, Teague, Childress (YES CHILDRESS), and Crawford (age and Iverson-itis make him 5th on this list). A little house cleaning is actually in order (of importance): Bibby, Williams and Johnson.

The Hawks need to employ the Knicks, Heat, Bulls strategy of building a competitive team in the short term (compete for the 4th – 6th seed for the next 2-3 years), clear some cap space with the welcomed subtractions of Bibby, Williams and Johnson while positioning themselves for a real upgrade when opportunity presents (e.g. Chris (trade in 2011 or UFA 2012) Paul (the point guard we should already have), Carmello (FA-2012) Anthony (imagine Anthony at 3, Smith at 4 and Horford at 5) or dream of all dreams, Dwight (FA-2013) Howard comes home (imagine Howard at 5, Horford at 4, Smith at 3).

I understand the excitement of earning the #3 seed this year after so many years of futility. We saw, however, how fleeting that feeling of 82 games of excitement can be in just 4 agonizing playoff games. If Atlanta is ever going to become a competitive team when it matters (the playoffs), they need a sound TEAM with fewer holes to be exploited by real championship teams. I don’t see locking up so much money in a two-guard who is more interested in being “the man” than winning “the ring” as looking like such a sound strategy three years from now. Any of the scenarios I mentioned, I believe, gets this TEAM closer to our mutual goal – THE RING! It’s working for the Falcons. Why wouldn’t it work for the Hawks?

Big Ray

June 27th, 2010
1:03 pm

Jay B ,

Well, you’re not the first to suggest that Joe’s problems with this Atlanta team involve Josh Smith.

Your first trade scenario is workable, I think. I don’t know if Toronto goes for it, but they might, seeing as how Bosh could walk on them without them getting anything in return (as Joe could do to us). In this case, both teams come out having not lost too much. The addition of Bosh means we could still be a 50-win team. Defensively, it makes us worse. Offensively, it makes us potentially more dangerous. I say that because there is no guarantee that what looks good on paper, turns out good on the court. Ask the Sixers about that (Elton Brand).

A big question comes with that, though. Bosh can’t/won’t play center, and that keeps Horford at center. How will this work with Horford? He’s the ultimate team player, but that means we’re still going up against all opposing centers with a guy who could be a natural power forward. And that weak side defensive help that keeps many teams worried about going to the hoop? The only time we’d see it would be when we play against Toronto…

The second scenario is also possible, but probably a worst-case scenario. Okafor most likely isn’t going to want to come off the bench, and the Hawks might be better served starting him at center, while moving Al to the 4 spot. That brings up the age old idea of moving Josh to the 3, where he doesn’t belong. Either that, or he goes to the bench (if you think his attitude has been bad in the past…).

This could be a dilemma that the Hawks just don’t need. Now, if Okafor or Smith is fine coming off the bench to play 25-30 mpg, then maybe it’s a deal. However, it doesn’t make our frontcourt much bigger than it already is. You’re right that it more closely resembles the Detroit model. The question is, does that make this a 50-win team that has a legit shot to make it past the 2nd round of the playoffs? I don’t know.

As for James Posey, is he still able to give solid, serviceable minutes as a wing defender and spot up shooter? If so, he’s worth the acquisition. If not…bad trade.

I Heart Atlanta

June 27th, 2010
1:07 pm

ok my dream offseason would be resign Joe, bring back Childress sign AL Harrington, and sign Jermaine Oneal, stay away from brad miller he is soft, if not Oneal sign Haywood but would we have enough money to even all this? if Joe bolts get Ray Allen


June 27th, 2010
1:24 pm

I say go get RUDY GAY… He would be a lot less then Joe and a lot younger . We should front load the contract or sign and trade with Marvin and/ or Josh Childress. Rudy, Josh and Al would give the Hawks a young front court for years to come and with Teague pushing the ball they would be a match up nightmare. if we could trade Marvin and keep chills the hawks would look like this:
Josh Childress
Rudy Gay
Josh Smith
Al Horford
these guys can stay together for at least 5 years.. all 5 play def and all 5 are athletic


June 27th, 2010
1:24 pm

I would make an aggressive move for Haywood, but considering his distaste for the role he played in Dallas, he might not want to bite unless he’s guaranteed some serious minutes (and he would still be competing with Zaza down the stretch I’m certain of that)….I want to see what rook’s come out for Rookie Camp and will come along with us for the Summer League ride…There are a few bigs of note available, but the last thing this crew will do is pay to win, so might as well bury our heads in the sand and wait for July 12th to see what comes of it….


June 27th, 2010
1:29 pm

In my humble opinion, I would live with this team for the next 2-3 years while we seek the opportunity to add a REAL franchise piece to this puzzle:

1st team: 2nd team: 3rd team
PG – Teague Bibby West
SG – Ja. Crawford Evans Jo. Crawford (with more playing time than Teague got)
SF – Williams Childress
PF – Joshn Smith Joe Smith
C – Horford Pachulia R. Morris

This team will NOT win a championship. Neither will this team with Joe Johnson plugged in. This team will, however, compete for the 4th-6th seed every year, possibly win a first round match-up and be competitive in the second round. It would also focus Sund on adding the right piece (i.e. Paul, Anthony, Howard) over the next 2-3 years to push the team over the top.

Again, in my very humble opinion, doing anythng else would only be a frustrating, expensive band-aid that will create false hopes of competitiveness.


June 27th, 2010
1:33 pm

The teams didn’t come out clearly

1st team:
PG – Teague
SG – Ja. Crawford
SF – Williams
PF – Joshn Smith
C – Horford

2nd Team:
PG – Bibby
SG – Evans
SF – Childress
PF – Joe Smith
C – Pachulia

3rd Team:
PG – West
SG – Jo. Crawford (with a heck of a lot more playing time than Teague had)
C – Morris

tyrone shoelaces

June 27th, 2010
1:37 pm

Lets face facts. We know the Hawks limitations, i.e. ownership in flux, lack of cash, etc. We are powerless but to trust Mr. Sund. He probably does’nt have a magic bullett like last year’s Crawford deal, but if he can persuade J-Chills to return and replace ISO-Joe with John Salmons and add a big who is not completely stiff, we can get the four seed in the east. I believe LD’s offensive plans will dramatically improve ball movement, WHo knows, we might even run a frickin pick and roll once in a while…

Big Ray

June 27th, 2010
1:38 pm

Thoughtful ,

You’re never too late to throw in your pocket change. :)

It’s never an easy call when you’re talking about parting ways with the best and most individually accomplished player on your team.

Could this be what the Hawks need, to get better in the long run? It’s possible. Likely, it will say less about Joe Johnson himself, however…and more about the decisions and asset management the organization went with after acquiring him.

A sign and trade would potentially be a “small step back.” However, losing him altogether would be a disaster asset-wise, at least. How much of a step back it turns out to be is anybody’s guess, as well as how long it takes to recover.

Again, I think it goes back on the organization moreso than it does Joe.

Big Ray

June 27th, 2010
1:44 pm

clarkekent ,

I think acquiring Rudy Gay requires a sign and trade. I think Memphis is scared of losing him, and would require somewhat heavy compensation if doing so. And what does Gay want, to stay in Memphis, or to move on? Adding him does keep this team quite athletic (and certainly more potent than it currently is with Marvin Williams). The other question is how much Gay would make. I’m thinking it’s closer to what Josh Smith makes, and we have to pay Al Horford next year. Hmmm…

I heart Atlanta ,

Does Brad Miller give you any less than Joe Smith did?


June 27th, 2010
1:48 pm

Yo Ray,
Given that most of the teams competing for Joe’s affections are really limited in terms of what they’re holding, what are the odds of a three-team sign/trade scenario to fill the gaps we need to address? I mean, as much as I’d be fond of taking a S/T for David Lee to push things around, it doesn’t seem likely with a Chicago team with either an overpriced Brad Miller available or a secured player like Joakim Noah…..


June 27th, 2010
1:53 pm

I would see if NO would take Josh Smith for Chris Paul and maybe that would keep Joe here and try get a Brandon Heywood.