So far, not much is going on with the Atlanta Hawks in terms of free agency. As we all know, Joe Johnson has been re-signed, and Josh Childress has been signed-and-traded away to the Phoenix Suns (with a $3.6 million trade exception and a 2012 second round pick are what was recouped). While the return on Childress is less than exciting, it’s still better than nothing. So, what else is going on? Nothing. Or maybe something. It’s hard to tell right now, and the summer is still young. But who wants to hear that?
The Trade That Wouldn’t Go Away
While no one may be sure where this first started, the speculation on a trade that would bring Shaquille O’Neal to Atlanta and send Marvin Williams to Cleveland has yet to be completely dissolved. The AJC’s Mike Cunningham thinks it may be a dead issue, but some folks think differently. Follow those opposing views to the latest semi-sourceless twitter noise and one simply does not know what to think.
It could be that Shaq wants more money than the Hawks want to play, and a more prominent role than is good for the team. Of course, that is little more than speculation as well. And yet, what DO the Hawks think of Marvin Williams right now? Would they look to move more than one player for the purpose of getting more than a big center who while well past his prime, is still highly effective in certain situations, even if he’s all but guaranteed to not play 82 games? Are the Hawks really thinking about letting Marvin go? Do they really want Shaq enough to make a deal for him? Should they even be thinking about this? Do you want them to make this deal, or something like it?
If not Shaq…..
Some feel that Shaq is the best this team can do to add a center to the roster, to help out Al Horford and Josh Smith. Others feel that the Hawks could find better, and ultimately cheaper options at the pivot. Brad Miller floats in and out of discussion, but he could very well decide to stay in Chicago or go to a more “acceptably credible” contending team. However, the inevitable comes into play. What if the Hawks don’t go after Miller, or a young PF type like Anthony Tolliver, or any other of the somewhat more popular names floating around? What if they wait around for a player who simply would like to draw a paycheck while staying glued to the end of the bench? Could there be a Kwame Brown in our future, and are you okay with that? Rick Sund (and ultimately ownership) has talked about filling out the roster with veterans, but what level of quality are the Hawks seeking? Coach Drew and starting center Al Horford are looking for help, but what they would like to have may not at all be what ownership is willing to pay for. There is a line between trying to be shrewd and being flat out cheap. Which side of the line will Sund (and ultimately his bosses) prove to be on?
While it’s very easy to say that summer is far from over (and you’ve got to be tired of hearing this anyway), the fact is that players are flying off of shelves and several teams are making move after move. The analogy of the grass being greener may not apply so much as the idea that others aren’t letting it grow beneath their feet, regardless of the color. The Hawks seem to be, but we just don’t know the facts, the things that go on behind the scenes. At the same time, there isn’t a whole lot of reason to have more than a modicum of faith. Or is there? Again, it’s very hard to say. Waiting around for the proverbial dregs of the league makes a person question if the Hawks are expecting improvement with practically nothing more than a coaching change. I think we all agree that this is less than sufficient to effect significant change. However, this is how things might go. So….If the Hawks go “bare minimum”, are you okay with it, and who would you like to see them snatch up? Should Randolph Morris or Jason Collins be kept around? What about Joe Smith? If not any of them, then who?
A Few Summer League Notes
As I write this, the Hawks vs. Bucks summer league game is still in progress (4th quarter), with the Hawks holding a commanding 20 point lead. Highlights include a nice bounce back performance from Jeff Teague, who has had his struggles. Teague took control of the game by playing mostly solid defense, penetrating, and creating opportunities for others, as a point guard should. Jordan Crawford didn’t have a big scoring game, due in part to playing a number of minutes as the point guard, but he still showed an ability to get to the free throw line, make some good passes (3 assists), and snag a handful of rebounds (6).
While the highly active and larger tandem of Keith “Tiny” Gallon and Larry Sanders gave the Hawks fits, it was nice to see the activity level of the hustle-rific Alade Aminu, who never gave up on a play. Aminu fought the heavier and stronger Gallon nearly every play he was in the game, even succeeding with some blocks and rebounds. As with most prospects, consistency is the issue at hand. Hendrix was also a mildly bright spot in an otherwise spotty frontcourt. Beyond that, there wasn’t a lot to talk about, but it was nice to see the team settle down on the offensive side of the ball, and really dig in on the defensive side. As mentioned in past posts, if the rotation players give such an effort, this team will terrorize opponents. Lester Connor appears to be quite serious about the defensive effort.