Dollars and sense

Long faces might be the norm if the Hawks don't do the right things this summer.

Long faces might be the norm if the Hawks don't do the right things this summer.

HAWKSVILLE – We apologize in advance for interrupting your viewing of the NBA Finals with hypothetical questions about the Hawks, but admit it, you’ve seen enough of the Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando Magic to last all summer.

But what if Mike Bibby moves on?

And Zaza Pachulia, too?

What if Flip Murray finds a new home?

And Josh Childress stays in Greece?

What if all these hypothetical scenarios we’ve been speaking of recently go up in smoke between the draft and training camp?

What if the Hawks can’t keep their team together because of finances, dumb luck and the aggressive pursuit of their free agents by other teams?

Like most of you, I’ve (foolishly) been operating under several assumptions the past few weeks. But after speaking with several NBA players, coaches and other sources around the league over the last week, it seems we’ve all been a bit too optimistic about the chances of all these guys reuniting next season.

“Unless I’m mistaken, getting all these guys in uniform for next season will cost a whole lot more than the Hawks are used to spending,” one Eastern Conference front office man told me Monday afternoon. “Check their roster and see how many guys they spent serious money on. It’s a short list. They inherited Bibby’s big deal and now that’s gone. They signed Joe [Johnson] and Josh [Smith] to their deals. Beyond that, there wasn’t a single guy on their roster they spent mid-level money on, not one, and that says something.”

When I asked him to elaborate, he had an interesting take what we’ve watched the past few years, the last two in particular.

“They got more out of their money than a lot of other teams these last two seasons,” he said. “That’s good while it lasts. It just doesn’t last forever. Sooner or later you have to pay to win in this league. The Hawks have gotten away without paying that price the past two years. They’ve done some things that their payroll suggests they shouldn’t have. But those days are probably over, because the teams they leapfrogged in the standings the past two years are not going to stay down forever.”

There's a good chance Mike Bibby and Josh Childress might never wear Hawks jerseys again.

There's a possibility Mike Bibby and Josh Childress have worn Hawks jerseys for the last time in their NBA careers.

That’s probably true. But maybe they just made wise decisions about how to spend. They didn’t spend the kind of money championship teams do, but you have to crawl before you walk. And the Hawks crawled for years.

One player pointed to last summer’s free agent season as proof that the Hawks didn’t exactly swing for the fences and insisted that their frugal ways will come back to haunt them eventually, perhaps as soon as this summer.

“They waited until the last minute on [Smith] and had to wait for Memphis to put something on the table to get a deal done,” he said. “They lost the other Josh to Greece and then filled the holes with role players. Let’s be real man, and I’m not disrespecting anybody but signing Randolph Morris, Othello Hunter and Thomas Gardner doesn’t translate into championship moves. That sounds more like a team worried about spending some real money. And to players, that’s the kind of franchise you don’t want to deal with when you’re a free agent.”

That’s the real question for the Hawks this summer. Are they going to spend the money required to compete at the level they’ve become accustomed to the past two years?

This summer is about dollars and sense. The Hawks have to spend their cash wisely or all the work they’ve done the past few years could disappear by Labor Day.

Keeping Bibby, if that’s what the Hawks intend to do, won’t be easy. Anyone expecting Bibby to work for anything less than the mid-level is dreaming. In a league where starting point guards are at a premium (and starters that shoot as well as Bibby command even more attention), the price usually starts at the mid-level and rises. The key in the Bibby situation will be the length of the contract. If three years works for both sides (and I can’t see why it would not), then I can see the negotiations having some legs. If not, get ready for a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable (financial) differences.

Pachulia clearly wants to come back here. He said as much during our conversation last week. But he’s been here before, in free agent land, so he knows what a player wants doesn’t always jive with the reality of his situation. Unlike when the Hawks nabbed him from Milwaukee four years ago, teams aren’t spending as freely as they were then. Still, Pachulia was a bargain four years ago at $4 million per season. He’s a bargain at that price now if the Hawks can swing it. But with the lack of quality bigs running around the league these days, that $4 million price tag might not be enough to retain Pachulia’s services.

Murray’s destined for a substantial raise from the $1.5 million the Hawks paid him last season. You don’t put together the type of season he did without seeing a surge in interest for your services. The Hawks have the benefit of being the one team in the league willing to take a chance on him last year. But sentiment crashes into reality and loses all the time in the NBA, particularly during free agency. If the Hawks want to keep Murray, a serious raise is in order.

Childress added to a bench that includes Pachulia, Murray, Mo Evans and whatever player the Hawks could take with the 19th pick in the June draft would be a massive upgrade over what they used during a 47-win season. But three different sources I’ve spoken to in recent days insist that they don’t expect Childress to return to the NBA this summer (he has until July 15 to opt out of his Greek contract or remain there for another season). The dynamics of his situation in the NBA haven’t changed from last summer. He’s still a restricted free agent and would be subject to dealing with a Hawks organization that couldn’t get a deal done with him last summer. So it was a serious miscalculation of mine to blindly assume he’d bolt Europe for the comfort of the states.

“I don’t know why he would come back,” a Western Conference scout told me. “There’s so much uncertainty in the league this summer. Teams are holding back because of the economy and plotting for the summer of 2010. Plus, he’s still bound by restricted free agency, which means he can’t really come back and shop around for the best situation. If the Hawks didn’t get a deal done with him last summer I don’t see any way they get one done now. No way.”

Two years into his NBA career no one is sure if Acie Law IV is the answer at point guard for the Hawks.

Two years into his NBA career no one is sure if Acie Law IV is the answer at point guard for the Hawks.

With Childress subtracted from the potential mix, that leaves the Hawks with gaping holes on the roster heading into the draft and free agency. And from all the conversations I’ve had, the Hawks are torn between using the 19th pick and Speedy Claxton’s contract (along with other potential considerations) to grab an established point guard or gambling that the player they deem worthy will still be available at 19.

Another split, from what I’ve gathered, is that there remains some debate as to whether any of the point guards available in this draft are better prospects at the position than Acie Law IV, who despite having spent two years on the roster still has to answer major questions about his readiness to not only be a potential starter but a solid rotation player.

The Hawks’ previous front office regime was notoriously unimpressed by point guards in past drafts. Chris Paul was “too small,” Deron Williams worried them because his “body looked too soft” and Rajon Rondo was a “reach” with the fifth pick, just to highlight a few of the explanations given for passing on three big time NBA starters at the position. That sort of faulty logic led the Hawks to draft picks like Shelden Williams (a reach if ever there was one) and botched free agent signings like Claxton (who was Paul’s backup when the Hawks whisked him away from the Hornets for a cool $25 million).

I won’t pretend to speak for Hawks GM Rick Sund, who has not indicated that he has any sort of prejudice against rookie point guards. But I also won’t assume that he’ll address the Hawks’ point guard situation in the draft.

There’s just so much work to be done in such a short period of time. For once, I can honestly say I wouldn’t want to be the Hawks’ general manager right now.

MY SPLIT SCREEN IS WORKING THESE DAYS. I’M WATCHING THE FINALS, TOO. I’m watching Orlando suffer through the same things the Hawks did when they faced Cleveland in the Eastern Conference semifinals and the same thing the Cavaliers did when they fell to the Magic in Eastern Conference finals.

Some teams just present matchup nightmares for other teams. The Magic and Lakers are about as evenly matched as two teams could be in the Finals. Spot for spot up and down the rotation there are compelling matchups (my man Mickael Pietrus did his thing again, pushing Kobe Bryant late, sinking two free throws in the final 30 seconds to help seal his team’s Game 3 win). You can’t ask for much more than that at this stage of the season, save for the somewhat tiresome Van Gundy family reunion going on every game night (Stan’s a riot from the national anthem to the post game presser but I’ve listened to just about all I can take from Jeff on the broadcast).

One thing I noticed that’s been bothersome I have to ask you to weigh in on. Is there a more disappointing player in all of these playoffs than Andrew Bynum? I know the Lakers’ big man has already had to battle back from two serious knee injuries in his young career, but he doesn’t have any bounce at all.

He’s a shell of the dude the Lakers refused to give up in any deal a couple years back and for the life of me, I don’t see why. I don’t see anything in Bynum that would make him untouchable other than he’s a legitimate 7-footer. And these days, that’s just not enough.

Shooters like Ellington could find themselves in demand on draft night.

Shooters like Ellington could find themselves in demand on draft night.

Like most people whose team of interest is already do for the season, my attention has shifted dramatically in the direction of the NBA draft.

I know it’s fool’s gold, thinking teams are going to find answers to all their problems in a shallow draft. But what else can we bank on?

Combining my two pet topics of the month, I came up with another theory that requires your input.

After watching the Magic shoot a blistering (and Finals record ) 62.5 percent from the floor to win Game 3, I wonder if some teams will have the guts to rethink their draft strategy and identify the best shooters available?

For a team like the Hawks that would mean giving serious consideration to a player like North Carolina’s Wayne Ellington with that 19th pick. If Ellington’s still on the board, chances are there won’t be a better shooter or offensive player the Hawks could take in that range. I know he doesn’t address a particular position need for the Hawks (point guard or center) but he does address a skill need (the Hawks are in desperate need of more quality shooters).

Some teams aren’t going to wait until the draft to start adding shooters. Philadelphia pulled off a trade Tuesday for one of the league’s best shooters, stealing Jason Kapono from the Raptors for Reggie Evans

Kapono, even in limited minutes, can change the game for the 76ers just by parking on the perimeter and posing as a deep threat. That’s a weapon teams will need, especially in the improving Eastern Conference. I suspect this won’t be the last trade of this kind we’ll see between now and draft night. Teams are going to be forced to explore every option they can to improve without adding salary.

Finally, and before I forget, the best NBA news of the week comes not from the Finals or the draft but from the real plague of the league – brutal officiating. We’ll have three fewer relics to pick on next year if this report in the Boston Globe is true.

Reportedly Jimmy Clark, Luis Grillo and Jack Nies are taking their combined 73 years of experience/service to the retirement village with them. Adios fellas, the hecklers will miss you.

514 comments Add your comment

Ed

June 10th, 2009
2:45 am

Sekou I am so with you on Wayne Ellington. As I posted recently he is much more athletic than he has been given credit for to go with his killer jump shot. Very nice blog, just don’t wait so long next time dude.

Ed

June 10th, 2009
3:08 am

One other thing, don’t you think the Hawks have to either extend Joe or trade him? He will be on the last year of his contract and the Hawks will once again be dealing from a much weaker position if they wait until he’s a free agent.

BarkingBulldawg

June 10th, 2009
3:33 am

thanks sekou…it has been too long but nice blog

hearing anything on marvin?

Najeh Davenpoop

June 10th, 2009
4:52 am

“After watching the Magic shoot a blistering (and Finals record ) 62.5 percent from the floor to win Game 3, I wonder if some teams will have the guts to rethink their draft strategy and identify the best shooters available?”

It’s not as simple as identifying the best shooters available. The system the Magic run wouldn’t work on teams that simply load up on shooters. Their system works because their two best shooters are taller than the people guarding them, and they have a monster rebounder to clean up the mess when they miss. (I still think it’s an ugly system that results in the worst kind of NBA basketball imaginable, but whatever.) Most teams don’t have that monster rebounder, and the shooters in this draft like Ellington are not the kind that can cause matchup problems with their height.

Najeh Davenpoop

June 10th, 2009
4:57 am

“Is there a more disappointing player in all of these playoffs than Andrew Bynum?”

Bynum’s just the tip of the iceberg… even if the Lakers win the title they will go down as one of the year’s most disappointing teams to me. When you have 7-time All-Defense selection Kobe Bryant, two 7-footers down low, and two athletic and versatile forwards in Ariza and Odom who can guard multiple positions well, there is absolutely no excuse to give up over 60% from the field to any team… let alone a team whose entire offense is based on spotting up for 3-pointers. If the Lakers played with half the discipline and toughness last year’s Celtics had, I don’t think they would have lost a game yet in these playoffs. It’s amazing how many stupid mistakes they make, particularly on defense, in every game, and Kobe Bryant is not excluded from that.

jdewayneatl

June 10th, 2009
5:05 am

I know Bibby is a nice shooter but I’m not sure if he’s the answer for the Hawks near future anymore. The guy can’t defend. I’d rather go after Raymond Felton. He’s not as good a shooter as Bibby but he has younger legs and won’t be as much a defensive liability. He could also open up Joe for the 3’s Bibby hit with his driving ability. Like everyone I’m hoping Childress comes back but wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t. And it has been said before that the economy may be what puts the Hawks on level playing ground with other teams in free agency. No one will be spending like in years past. Plus the Hawks are one of only a handful of teams with much space under the cap.

Everything may not work as planned or hoped but I don’t think we’ll go into the season without a roster ready to compete with the best teams in the East>

nunna yo bizznezz

June 10th, 2009
5:51 am

1st off,what is all this talk about having childress signing back with the hawks,like he would have made more of a differnce than us signing flip after he left..he went for the money,and felt that he had a better chance of winning in another country than if he’d have stayed here in Atlanta,let him stay where he’s at or trade his rights to another team who is drinking the childress “cherry punch”kool aid,like u and others who comment on these hawks blogs.

2nd,you wrote,”and I’m not disrespecting anybody but signing Randolph Morris, Othello Hunter and Thomas Gardner doesn’t translate into championship moves.”
with all do respect,how do u know?

you have a coach who is too lazy to teach and develope his bench..

hunter=young,energetic,rebounder/scorer,excellent passer/needs better coaching on defense,but has the biggest upside and asset that you can’t coach,and thats having a nose for always being around the ball to make plays..

gardner=shooter/scorer/decent on defense/team player/leader..

my reference’s for my opinion on their skills are:
college play/2008 summer league play/3 games in d-league this year/brief time in game 3 to help bring the hawks back against the cavs..

summer league and d-league play are no match for nba play,but they did what they were supposed to do in both league play,and thats outperform others on the court,by playing well above their competition..
we as hawks fans should be worried if they hadn’t done so..

randolp morris,my opinion is still out on him..

but my thing is,by the comment you made about them is unfair,because if they had the playing time to get familiar with their team,there is no telling how (because we would have had a deeper bench)many other games we would have won!!

hunter and gardner would have had more of a positive effect than a negative one,and we would have been a better team if we have played them..

nunna yo bizznezz

June 10th, 2009
6:12 am

BarkingBulldawg,
i would love to see us resign marvin williams,myself..
but,my problem is that he is injury prone,and the coaching staff still has not devoloped a system or playing style to accomadate he and joe johnson when the 2 are on the floor at the same time!!

it became evident and a bit frustrating when joe was out and marvin was averaging 30+ a game..driving to the basket,going to the line,rebounding,scoring from the perimeter,shooting 3’s,and playing hella defense..

if i were to tell u that there was a player in the nba with all of those skills in the nba,and the hawks had a chance at him but he is injury prone,most on here would jump all over him..

well,we do..

but,we don’t have the coaching staff to help develope his game to be intergrated with joe’s on the court at the same time..

instead,he will continue to be a junk point scorer,scoring 12-15 pts.per game,and having 8-10 rebounds per game..

And,if you have not noticed yet,im not a big fan of this coach nor his staff..

Big Ray

June 10th, 2009
6:48 am

Astro Joe,

I zigged, you zagged, LOL! When I chimed in after Melvin and RealSquawk, I thought it was a bit obvious what I was doing. The subject matter was something I think we both recognize as being beaten to death on this blog already. How many times have we battled over Smith and what he does/doesn’t do on the court? You and I alone probably own the record for the number of times we’ve tangled on the issue. How many times has “Joe Johnson sees double and triple teams” been a topic?

When I threw those two questions out there, it was for the purpose of illustrating what a relentless (yet tired) hot button the subject matter was. Even after having won ten more games and accomplished so much more, we still are talking about the same issues, because the same issues still exist, no matter how tired of talking about them we might get. And even though we say we’re tired of talking about them, we STILL talk about them!

Hence the comment “think before you answer.” I didn’t mean, think ABOUT your answer, but think before even BOTHERING to answer something that has been questioned here a million times before.

Here’s where things took a left turn at Albuquerque. I knew somebody would jump all over that post. I didn’t think it would be you, as I figured any regular who has discussed this ad nauseum would probably either bypass it or say “Oh for cryin’ out loud Ray, this AGAIN?” To which I would reply with a mischievous grin….

As it was, only Melvin seemed to get it by replying, “Do I have to think if my answer to your question is LMAO”

Sorry Joe, your post ended up as the second part of the smarmy joke I had planned. I really didn’t think it was going to be you who bit on that one, but it appears you are still in fine mid-season form, LOL! I really didn’t have more than a fleeting interest in the conversation between Melvin and RealSquawk (no offense, but been there enough times already).

However, the stats you dug up ARE very informative. Next time I’ll email the script beforehand, that way you’ll at least know ahead of time if you’re going to win “Best Supporting Actor” in a hit blog drama…

;)

JustaThought

June 10th, 2009
6:53 am

I think the commentator’s of the finals has already stated that Bynum has no left in his legs because he haven’t had the chance to really build up his strength in the knee since his return. Besides it’s his 1st finals, remember he was out last year when they played. I think both him and the coaches got him going half speed cause he has no left, and they are just getting what they can from the young fellow. I see other issues the Lakers will have to address for next season, especially the pg position. Fish is probably playing his last year (his play during these playoffs have been bad to say the least), and Farmer for whatever reason is not consistant at all.

JustaThought

June 10th, 2009
7:02 am

The Majic shot 60+ percent for the entire game but barely won the game. To think that Kobe is going to go scoreless a 2nd half again or play as horrible is “wishful” thinking. Orlando is skating on very thin ice.

Big Ray

June 10th, 2009
7:06 am

Sekou,

Some of us agree with you, and have been sending out these warnings since the early part of this last season. It’s all too true that the Hawks have gotten by on the cheap, something the ASG has accused former member Steve Belkin of.

Some will contend that these guys have plenty of money. Fine. Some will say that they have made the wise, sage decisions that smarter organizations make. All well and good. As you say, at some point, the rubber meets the road. I’d rather not find out the hard way. I am leery of the cheap-a$$ gamble moves. If they continue to work, then I have to shut my mouth. My gut tells me that’s not going to cut it anymore.

One of the things I believe the most is that other teams that we’ve vaulted past will catch us if we don’t make enough of the right moves. Why? Because some of them have made moves with an eye towards the future.

WHY we are still having questions at point guard is a mystery to me. And that’s just ONE ongoing issue. There are others…

Perfect off season

June 10th, 2009
7:26 am

Here is the Hawks perfect off season. Let Bibby walk. Sign Ben Gordon. Sign Flip. Sign ZaZa. Sign Marvin Williams. Now the big one. Trade Josh Smith, Speedy’s expiring contract and #19 in the draft for Stoudemire from Phoenix. New line up: PG – Gordon, Law SG – J.J, Flip SF – Marvin Williams, Mo Evans PF- Al Horford, ZaZa, C – Stoudemire, ZaZa This team could compete for it all. Built much like the Magic. Down low with Stoudemire and Horford and shooters like M. Wiliams, J.J. and Ben Gordon. The trade salaries work and the Ben Gordon would sign for not much more than the $10 million that Bibby played for last year. Your thoughts?

smartguy

June 10th, 2009
7:27 am

WHAT ABOUT OUR AFWUL, AWFUL COACH??

A Tribe Called Quest

June 10th, 2009
7:39 am

We all know Sekou’s upcoming blog:

“Solomon Jones is looking ripped as hell. Has added 20 pounds of pure muscle and is ready for the Hawks to resign him.”

“Scouts are saying that Smoove is looking stronger than ever and may be the MVP next year”

“Marvin is working on his African Studies Degree and has added 30 pounds of muscle

———
It’s very annoying to me that there is hardly any replay used in NBA games. It’s so obvious that in every game there are 3 egregious calls by the refs which should be reviewed. Why is most of the reviewing done in MLB? Nobody watches baseball anymore

Big Ray

June 10th, 2009
7:42 am

Niremetal,

We’ve discussed before that sometimes you just have to pay more for what you need. The Sixers have BEEN needing a shooter, and they need one more than they needed another rebounder. These guys rebound well as a team, and have done so WITHOUT Elton Brand. Speaking of which, with sure-thing low post threat Brand returning, the debut of Eddie Jordan as coach (with his Princeton style offense), and the running ability of most of this team….I doubt Kapono will have trouble getting some open looks and doing what he does best. Was it the best deal they could have done? Maybe, maybe not.

But they needed a shooter, and they got one. Evans was giving them 3.3ppg/4.6rpg in 14.4 mpg, while shooting a not-so-hot 44% from the field. I don’t think that was too big a price to pay.

Sure beats signing whoever’s left on top of the scrap heap during the 11th hour. Stay tuned for THAT show….

A Tribe Called Quest

June 10th, 2009
7:49 am

We have to address our center needs?

Can Woodson or Sund please finalize our center position? Is Horford a center or PF? Is Smoove a PF or SF? Are we going to get a real center? I know Sund likes Horford at center

What a mess

Willie Coyote

June 10th, 2009
7:52 am

I believe Sund will seek a sign & trade for Marvin. The question is what will they try to get for Marvin, a PG or center? The other problem will be whether they can get enough quality in return to justify letting MArvin go; that’s questionable in my humble opinion. It’s also questionable if they will have enough to sign Marvin with all the other guys they have to sign.

Speaking of the other guys, they need to sign Zaza & Flip definitely. If Bibby is the best option then they need to make the effort to retain him but they cannot break the bank or get caught in a bad long-term deal with a guy who’s on the downward slope of his career. I don’t see Childress coming back and giving up that much money even if he is unhappy in Greece.

Unfortunately, I don’t see any moves the Hawks can make that make them championship caliber (playoff appearances are nice but if you never compete for a title then …). If they can replace the dead weight on their bench with some who can contribute, then that will be a good step towards challenging for a division title but they still need an impact guy at 1 or 5 to get any further.

niremetal

June 10th, 2009
8:01 am

At some point, someone will have to explain to me how acquiring the last year and a half of Bibby’s monster contract and refusing to overpay for Smoove qualifies as “on the cheap.”

Assuming the Hawks maintain payroll this year, they’ll be fine. Bibby will be getting at least a $7M paycut, Speedy gets a $500k paycut because of his frontloaded contract, and that can be used to give the necessary raises to Marvin, Flip, and Zaza without increasing payroll. I admit that they need to do something else to have a real shot, but I really think that “something else” could be done just be acquiring one decent player for near the mid-level, a move that would be payroll-neutral if we find a way to trade Speedy’s expiring contract.

Anyway, I’ve seen no evidence that the ASG rolls on the cheap ever since it became clear that Belkin wasn’t going to be able to buy them out. Anyway, for anyone who is interested, here’s a recent article based on an interview with Gearon, talking about the Spirit’s finances.

glw

June 10th, 2009
8:05 am

I do agree that Atlanta will try to operate on the cheap if they can, not sure all those guys will be back. I think Sund will build his team with a solid 9 man rotation and fill out the rest of the roster with young players. IF the right move comes along, I think he might pull the trigger either a trade or a free agent signing.

Here is my take:

Zaza Pachulia might have to be top priority simply based on the fact that teams overpay for big men. Zaza is probably worth no more than the 4 million that he was signed for previously. But because the Hawks are size deficient, his value is enhanced and you probably have to overpay. Since most teams are capped out, most likely a playoff contender that needs that missing piece (rebounding, interior toughness) will most likely use its full mid level exception to sign him. If I am Sund, I go after him and try to lock him up early, I would start out with something like 4/20 million and hope he likes Atlanta. If Zaza leaves, then a backup plan must be formulated. Assuming they pass on a big man in the draft, there are other options. Solo can always be brought back and be developed as a backup center which might not be a bad idea, he has better offensive game than Zaza, and will continue to get better I think, and could be had probably cheap, 3yr 6-7 million. As insurance, I would look to bring in a journey big man like Magloire.

Mike Bibby and/or Flip Murray

The Hawks must bring back at least one of them, maybe both if the price is right. Neither is great defensively, but at least one is needed for his offense. Should the Hawks decide to go after a restricted free agent (Sessions, Jack) or seek a trade, I think one of these guys doesnt come back. Whomever comes back, they will be used as a combo type guard. Murray has an edge in that he is a little bit of a better fit for playing both guard spots. Also you must figure in the fact that the Hawks will most likely draft a point (Lawson, Maynor, Mills). And then there still is Acie Law in the mix. Sund will have to figure that by keeping both you limit the growth of any younger players. Woodson has proven he will go with the vets every time. So he might be tempted to take away one of his crutches.

Marvin Williams and/or Josh Childress

I think this is more clear cut, it will be one or the other. Both are restricted, so the Hawks have right of first refusal. A year ago, I think most would have agreed that Childress was the keeper. But Marvin’s improved his offensive repertoire. I think Sund will play a wait and see game much like what he did last year with J Smoove. Marvin’s play improved, but teams tend not to overpay for small forwards that average 14ppg. Most likely it will be Sunds call, either to let him play out and be unrestricted next year or go ahead and lock him up long term. With the addition of FlipMo last year, Childress wasnt missed as much as was first feared. The Hawks hope for a sign and trade, but again, the market might be a bit bullish this year.

Potential trades

There will be plenty of trades as teams want to clear space for next summer and might be willing to part with certain players. Chris Bosh looks almost like a sure thing that he will walk and the Raptors might deal him to get something in return. Amare could be on his way out. Atlanta would be good suitors, they would have to part with either Josh or Horford to get one of those and maybe some expiring contracts for next year (Evans, Law, Claxton).

niremetal

June 10th, 2009
8:07 am

Ray,

You know me – I love guys like Reggie Evans who play tough, smart basketball and leave all on the floor whenever they’re out there. I think every team needs at least one scrappy guy like that in their frontcourt, and it just pains me to see the Sixers give up their only one for a guy as soft and one-dimensional as Kapono. I admit that the trade looks good on paper. But I think Evans is one of those guys whose value doesn’t show up on the stat sheets.

darrell starks

June 10th, 2009
8:21 am

Sekou im say this i recently am a season ticket holder because i saw improvement of the team and it was hard for me to come and support the hawks because of bad management, money was never and issue with this team back then its just they made bad decision on players, but every since ASG took over its seem like its not about the fans its about money and trying to be cheap,so far they have bin lucky for the succes of the team once i see ASG trying to cut payroll and be cheap i will not renew my tickets point blank period.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!

dap01

June 10th, 2009
8:25 am

Thanks Sekou, what you lack in quantity, you make up with quality. Lots of good stuff.

The Hawks organization is cheap, leaderless, directionless and they have sub standard coaching. We went through many years of lottery and we have a group of forwards to show for it. Everyone knows that PG and Center are the hardest positions to find. We have one PG and yet our coach chooses to simply have a slow, no defense PG shoot threes so that he does not have to have the responsibility to develop a PG.

Woody has a poor offense and poor player development because he has nothing to offer. There is no evidense of him having anything.

Perhaps Sund has a plan, as of yet I can not tell that he does. He says that he is looking for wins and that is all. I hope that he surprises me.

The Hawks need help at PG and at Center and a shooter off of the bench.
Once we have a balanced team, perhaps we can coach them to another level.

I read as much as possible about the Hawks, I love pulling for the Hawks but being a Hawk fan is painful.

darrell starks

June 10th, 2009
8:27 am

This year the hawks payroll was 68million and ranked 22nd in the league and they made the most out of nothing if they want to go to the next level they will have spend more money.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!

A Tribe Called Quest

June 10th, 2009
9:06 am

niremetal,

we had to wait for another team to offer Smoove before we did. That means we are so d*mn concerned about money that we can’t even come up with an offer on our own for a team star, so we had to use poor Memphis in order to get it done

the problem isn’t that our owners are cheap…The problem is that no good FA’s come here.

Can you believe the only “good” FA to come here in years is Joe, who we had to give the max deal to, plus he was the 4th best on PHX (which is why he wanted to leave)? The only FA’s we have gotten are Lorenzen, resigning T.Lue, ZaZa (no one knew who he was), Speedy, and 9-12th men so bad that they wouldn’t make another roster.

That’s the problem

Sekou Smith

June 10th, 2009
9:13 am

Nire has a good point when looking at the Hawks’ payroll bill since Bibby arrived. They took a temporary hit and got the desired results. But does that kind of strategy lead to long term success? I think there’s a feeling around the league that the Hawks were a bit lucky the past two years (courtesy of their timely rise while other teams in the Eastern Conference slid down the food chain). We’ll see if that’s the case this season.

Filling out a roster with four or five projects is fine for a 13-win team. For a serious contender, those spots have to be occupied by veterans that can hit the floor and produce on a moment’s notice. Look at Orlando’s bench. Those are quality vets on that bench (save for Jeremy Richardson, who has worn a Hawks uniform twice in between stints in Miami, Orlando and the D-League). Same goes for the Lakers, Denver, Cleveland and any other team serious about chasing a title.

I don’t have a problem with how much the Hawks spend, everybody is looking for the best bang for their buck. It’s how they spend that would be my focus now and in the future.

Astro Joe

June 10th, 2009
9:24 am

Good stuff Sekou. I definitely like the concept of the “best shooter available”. That also suggests that the Hawks need to bring back Marvin, a young shooter who will likely become more consistent in the next year or two.

Here’s the one thing I don’t understand about the Childress situation… is it better to come back this summer or next summer? If I had a choice of going to a party with Denzel, George Clooney and Terrance Howard or going to a party with Mo, Larry and Curly, I’m choosing the latter party because I think the odds of me pulling a dime piece grow exponentially. So why would Chill return to the NBA when LeBron, Wade, Kobe, Amare (maybe), Bosh & Joe (among others) are in the Denzel/Clooney role of pulling the best offers next summer? Seems to me that if stays this summer, he needs to plan on staying until his Greek contract expires in another 2 summers. That, I think, is what he and his agent need to contemplate.

And like Ray said, many of us have been complaining about cats like RandMo, Hunter, West & Gardner occupying almost 33% of the roster positions for several months now. Throw in Solo and you in fact have a third of the roster full of potential/hopeful/maybe/someday. That just does not seem like a team built to win a title.

Astro Joe

June 10th, 2009
9:29 am

Oh and the notion that the Hawks performance was better than their investment is exactly what each and every business owner desires. If the ASG received an unexpectedly better ROI, then others shouldn’t hate on them. But any wise business owner doesn’t assume that the sun will shine forever on their business. That’s why this summer will be critical. We’ll see if they continue to gamble that they can get Maxima-level performance from a Dodge Neon type investment.

bali

June 10th, 2009
9:38 am

great article. who was the talking head that crowned Jeff van Gundy as the expert basketball commentator. Seems like someone would realize how grating it is to indure 3 hours of listening to Jeff. The college game is worse thoughwith Dickie V………..

Astro Joe

June 10th, 2009
9:39 am

Melvin, from the last blog. Joe had a miserable playoff series this past season. I attended game four of the Celtics series, so while I recognize that he wasn’t great in that entire series, he was incredible in game 4 (and I was sitting next to a loud and obnoxious Celtics fans and Joe gave me more than enough to clown him throughout the game). I’ve said it before, the Hawks are an ensemble cast. Five guys averaged double figures during the regular season. We shouldn’t expect to go in the playoffs and have Joe (or any single player) produce at an elite level. We’re not built that way.

Astro Joe

June 10th, 2009
9:47 am

Last thing and then I need to go across town for a meeting. It is hard to believe that the 7th PG in a draft could be better than the 2nd PG in the draft. Maybe it is a “system/fit” issue. Acie seemingly excels when he keeps the ball like a traditional PG. But our offense is more like what we see with the Lakers, in the sense that the PG isn’t the primary distributor and is mostly needed (at least in the half court sets) as a shooter. So if the 7th PG chosen is more of a short SG with PG dribbling skills, then he could, in theory, be a better fit in our current offensive scheme. That sounds a little like Toney Douglas to me (but not at #19, trade down 3-4 spots and grab him).

Daddyrich

June 10th, 2009
9:47 am

1) Offer Marvin and Pachulia about $6 mil per season for 3-4 years
2) Let Bibby walk unless he will sign for about the same as Marvin and Pachulia
3) Offer Flip 2 years at 3mil per
4) Draft Ty Lawson if he is there at 19 if Flip or Bibby dont sign
5) Sign a decent big man for around the mid level or trade for one using Speedy’s expiring contract (5 mil)
6) Childress is staying in Greece because he is in the same situation as last year. We can talk about him again next summer.

Rick Sund has a tough job ahead this summer. He also has a suspect draft history. He may use the pick to get a veteran in a trade since he is weak at scouting talent.

Aaron

June 10th, 2009
10:08 am

The Hawks, like 80% of the teams in the NBA, are NOT going to go over the luxury tax.

I’m not exactly sure what you are implying they should’ve spent more on over the past few years. Until this past season, they’ve not had a team WORTHY of spending money on. And, when it was finally time to add quality depth, they added Flip and Evans, two players who had a significant impact on the team.

As far as the draft, I can easily see the Hawks taking a catch-and-shoot guy like Ellington or Thornton. That is, if they’re still committed to Acie Law. That’s the real question of the offseason to me – what to do with Law.

Jones

June 10th, 2009
10:11 am

Interesting that they are supposedly considering trading for a veteran point guard. Who in the world could they be after? Most of the legit starters worth persuing are either untouchable or free agents (Bibby, Kidd, Miller, Sessions). At a glance I only see two available, and both have bad contracts: Hinrich and Baron Davis. Any idea who they might be considering, Sekou?

gtm

June 10th, 2009
10:20 am

“If I had a choice of going to a party with Denzel, George Clooney and Terrance Howard or going to a party with Mo, Larry and Curly, I’m choosing the latter party because I think the odds of me pulling a dime piece grow exponentially.”

The other way to look at it is what ladies are showing up if the Stooges are all there is to pick from? Teams are creating cap space for 2010, and only one of them is going to sign Lebron. After all the big signings are done, maybe there will still be more money available then than this summer.

Clyde

June 10th, 2009
10:31 am

***Yawn*** This blog has got boring as hell. Anyone down for a trip to Rio? And will we have a draft party this year?

Sekou Smith

June 10th, 2009
10:44 am

Clyde, your hate knows no bounds. I love it. I’m down for Rio. Keep the draft party.

Hinrich has to be on the short list for every team hunting a veteran PG Jones. So does Sessions. Jarrett Jack will surely get some looks. You figure all those guys will give you more, faster, than any rookie (drafted at 19) could.

The problem with that list Daddyrich is that the draft comes before the free agent feeding frenzy. So whatever the Hawks do has to start on draft night.

MannyT

June 10th, 2009
10:45 am

Sekou, with apologies to Dennis Green…

We aren’t who we thought we weren’t? Then who the heck are we?

Good topic. Phil Jackson has the triangle, Stan Van Gundy has the umbrella (Howard holds up the middle, surround with 3 pt shooters,) and the Hawks have…ISO Joe? Here is how I see the root of our problem.

BK had an idea of what this team should be. He selected players to fit that long, lean, everyone is similar size thing. However, that did not work for Woody and we know who survived that Philips Arena cage match.

Along comes Sund. He slow plays the hand. It makes sense because he came in at the tail end of last season. Now that he has had time to check under the hood, he is on the spot to make some decisions…that Woody can tolerate.

If not, I expect coach vs gm part 2…Which is stronger, the Sun or the Wood?

Bottom line, it’s kinda of tricky to determine which free agents you really want to fight for if you don’t know the style you want to play.

BWAF

HawkKingBibby

June 10th, 2009
11:04 am

Sekou, who would you rather have as Hawks point guard next season if salaries were all equal? Bibby, Hinrich, Sessions, Luke Rid ( who I think Sund will go after), Jack, Andre Miller or Acie ( I know he is much cheaper but he is on our team so I had to throw him in there)? Please choose only 1 and tell us why. Thank you.

SSI FAN

June 10th, 2009
11:04 am

Despite the denials by Sund and others, the financial condition of ASG has to be considered. There is still the pending lawsuit with Belkin and the uncertainty as which side will prevail. (Remember when Stern said the ownership issue would be resolved in February of this year. Well the trial court hasn’t ruled yet and then there will most likely be an appeal which could take several months to be decided.) Remember the article saying that one of the owners could not make his contributions toward operating losses and would have to give up part of his ownership interest.

Also consider the undisclosed fact that ASG has engaged Goldman-Sachs to locate a purchaser for the Hawks, Thrashers, and the arena.

A Tribe Called Quest

June 10th, 2009
11:13 am

How can people put Hinrich and Sessions/Jack in the same sentence? Hinrich makes like 8 mill a year–Jack will never make more than 3 or 4 mill…Easy choice

And why are teams so scared about going over the cap/luxury tax? These owners are supposed to be RICH MILLIONAIRES. $5 million for them is like us spending 20 bucks on a steak dinner. It’s neither here nor there

MannyT

June 10th, 2009
11:13 am

Astro, gtm hit the nail on the head.

Just remember, the average gal at an NBA party is probably hotter than almost all the babes at a Stooges party…and not all of them will leave with a baller.

Chills should stay in Greece. Your scenario skips over what he experienced last summer. First, as a restricted free agent he will have limited options. Second, because more teams are clearing cap room for your Ocean’s Eleven all star free agent class, there should be more opportunity to get a better offer from a team that finishes with honorable mention status in the superstar sweepstakes. Third, a potentially better economy in 2010 means a higher salary cap and higher MLE, thus more potential for a better deal.

BWAF

Sekou Smith

June 10th, 2009
11:26 am

That’s too easy HawkKing. I’d take Bibby. I know what I’m getting with him as a starter (I won 47 games with him and made it to the Eastern Conference semifinals with him leading the way). I’m gambling with everyone else, even a veteran like Andre Miller, because I don’t know how he’ll mix with this team. Hinrich would be my second choice. I know he’s a good defender and is a decent shooter and is tough as nails. Sessions would be my third choice, because I can see big things from him down the road. But I don’t know if I’m ready to turn over my 47-win team to a guy that I’m not completely sold on.

That’s just what I think, though. Had this not been a multiple choice test but a fill in the blank, I’d have given you another answer.

GeeMack

June 10th, 2009
11:34 am

Sekou being that The Clipper will be Having a fire sale to get rid of at least one of the big men they have. Is there any way we can get Chris Kaman?

[...] to Sekou Smith, NBA teams will be willing to spend even less money this summer: “Three different sources I’ve spoken to in recent days insist that they [...]

UGA

June 10th, 2009
11:36 am

What are the chances we sign Bibby and nab a Hinrich/Jack/Sessions?

If we spent around 68 million last year and are sitting around 40 now, hopefully we can get Speedy’s deal out of here and keep these guys….

Reggie

June 10th, 2009
11:44 am

Sekou

Any chance the hawks try to move up from the 19th spot to get one of those point guards? If it was me I would move up & see if I can get a guy like Jrue Holiday or Jonny Flynn.

TheHawksFan

June 10th, 2009
11:51 am

The Hawks had the most “Cost Effective” season of all the teams in the NBA. A shooter and BIG remain the Focus. But the Economy is REAL make no mistake. Look for ALL the teams in the league to carry less players. If thew Hawks can “Hold the Course” with a couple of adjustments in hand they will still be ok. BUT everybody wants a Championship. Only way to do that is to add one of the best. Kobe Howard King James, Mello D Wade, because you can bet that 1 of the fore mentioned players will be in the Finals for the next few years. Bosh Stoudermire and the rest wont get it done. To BEAT the best you have to be the BEST. So if not STAY the COURSE!!! Add a little FAVOR and you never Know!! GOOOOO Hawks!!!

darrell starks

June 10th, 2009
11:56 am

First we dont need to waste money on jarrett jack or no hinrich or session or bibby thats waste money in my opinion put that money to good use and sign flip zaza and solO first.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SWAT Native

June 10th, 2009
12:01 pm

SSI Fan,

I agree with you. I was thinking this morning that perhaps the biggest priority offseason move for the Hawks is to finally resolve their ownership situation, and that may make the rest of the moves going forward that much easier.