Trade season in full swing

The only place Josh Smith will have to worry about guarding Jamal Crawford next season is in practice, now that it appears Crawford is headed for the Hawks via trade.

The only place Josh Smith will have to worry about guarding Jamal Crawford next season is in practice, now that it appears Crawford is headed for the Hawks via trade.

HAWKSVILLE - One by one the texts and phone calls started coming in late Wednesday afternoon.

Hawks players wanted to know if what they were hearing was true. So did other team’s players, scouts, coaches and an assortment of other people.

“Are we really going to get Jamal Crawford?” one player asked via text. “Is this serious?”

“You really think this is going to happen?” another asked. “Man, he gets buckets. Major buckets. We could be explosive with him and all our other cats coming back.”

“This is a crucial move for them,” a Western Conference scout told me, “because it was obvious in the playoffs that they needed another scorer with some size that could create a shot.” 

Not a single player, coach or executive from anywhere that I communicated with Wednesday objected to the move for the Hawks. Not one person. 

Truth be told, they were going crazy about it, with one guy calling is a “master stroke” since the Hawks moved two for one without sacrificing draft picks now or in the future.

For years folks have complained around here about the Hawks not being active enough during trade season (the time before the draft through the start of training camp when all the league’s best wheeling and dealing is done). Well, you’ve got your wish.

And you can dissect it every which way now that it appears that Crawford will join the Hawks in exchange for Acie Law IV and Speedy Claxton being sent to Golden State (the only detail left is for Crawford to sign an agreement saying he won’t exercise the opt-out clause in his contract).

Of course, the Hawks aren’t the only team working the trade season to their advantage. Deals are to be had for teams looking to add and subtract players and salaries in an effort to retool for the coming season. LeBron James and Shaq appear to be headed for a whirlwind season in Cleveland. Mike Miller and Randy Foye will bolster the playing rotation for Flip Saunders in Washington after the Wizards pawned off a lottery pick and some spare parts for real players in a deal with Minnesota. And Richard Jefferson’s arrival from Milwaukee (for scraps) breathes new life into a San Antonio team that seemed headed for an eternal ice bath in the playoffs.

There will surely be more craziness to come, perhaps even during tonight’s draft. But make no mistake about it, the teams moving and shaking now are the ones positioning themselves for the future (immediately for teams like the Hawks, Spurs, Wizards and Cavaliers and not-so-immediately for the Timberwolves and Warriors).

I’m an advocate of bold moves. I’m a fan of bold moves that produce immediate results. And for a franchise that for the longest time was immune to them, the Hawks have a decent track record on their most recent deals of that nature.

In the summer of 2005 they went after Joe Johnson, then a restricted free agent in Phoenix, and immediately changed their fortunes (it didn’t happen overnight but going from 13 wins to 47 in four years started with that bold stroke). 1-for-1.

They swung for the warning track with Claxton the following summer, hoping like crazy that he could solve their point guard quagmire and deliver them to playoff contention faster than a rookie or youngster only to have that plan blow up in their face after Claxton’s knee’s gave out. 1-for-2.

They gambled on Mike Bibby being able to get them over the proverbial hump and into the playoffs at the trade deadline two years ago and cashed in with back-to-back trips to the playoffs, including home court advantage this season en route to a trip to the Eastern Conference semifinals. 2-for-3.

 

The Hawks' point guard of the future could be Jeff Teague.

The Hawks' point guard of the future could be Wake Forest star Jeff Teague.

The played roulette last summer with their own free agents, Josh Smith and Josh Childress, allowing the market to set the price on what they should be paid and lost one (Childress to Greece) and hung on to the other one (Smith, who signed an offer sheet from Memphis that the Hawks matched before the ink dried), and then followed that up by adding veterans Flip Murray and Mo Evans to help fill the void. Murray finished in the same spot in the Sixth-Man voting that Childress did the year before and Evans stabilize things late in the year when Marvin Williams went down with a severe back injury for the final month and half of the regular season. 3-for-4.

This deal for Crawford makes sense for so many reasons, as the digital tag-team duo of Mark Bradley and Jeff Schultz have already pointed out in separate takes on this latest roll of the red, white and blue dice.

Crawford certainly sounds like he’s pleased with the move, especially when you consider the situation he’s coming from in Golden State. And just like when the Hawks acquired Bibby and the skeptics wondered how he’d fit, things worked out because Bibby was a seasoned pro that knew what was expected of him when he came here and he delivered. I suspect Crawford’s situation will be similar in that he’ll come here realizing that this is his chance to shut up his doubters and prove that he can be a part of a winning operation.

Much like Bibby was when he arrived, Crawford might be a short term solution to a problem in need of a long-term answer. There’s no doubt the Hawks are still in need of their “point guard of the future.” And that’s where the true beauty of this deal for Crawford has been a bit overlooked. The Hawks didn’t have to include the 19th pick in the draft to get the backcourt insurance needed if unrestricted free agents Bibby and Murray aren’t re-signed this summer (and Crawford’s arrival doesn’t necessarily signal the departure of either guy. In fact, the Hawks would be best suited to find a way to keep them all in the fold if they want to solidify their ranks).

They still have that draft chip to snag the guy they want and need. They have studied all their point guard options up close and personal the past two months. They’ve seen Jeff Teague, Ty Lawson, Toney Douglas and Eric Maynor in person, had them all in for workouts at Philips Arena and had a chance to ponder what each one would look like alongside Johnson, Smith, Al Horford and the rest of the gang.

Whatever happens, they won’t go into next week’s open of free agency from a position of weakness where Bibby and Murray are concerned. They’ll operate from a position of strength with a chance to nail down the present and future at the position all at once.

1,267 comments Add your comment

Ed

June 25th, 2009
3:19 am

My guess is the Hawks take Teague but my preference would be Lawson as there is just something special about him. Woody doesn’t like small PG’s so Teague has an advantage there plus I imagine they look upon him as a more explosive scorer.

Ed

June 25th, 2009
4:18 am

So James Johnson is your pick Sekou. He could be a beast but the weight gain translates to an obvious lack of concern for his own future.

matt

June 25th, 2009
4:49 am

wow, the draft seems so different with the hawks not being in the lottery. they need to shore up and hopefully find a pg. luckily this is a pg heavy draft and should have several options to pick from. i really hope we can get ty lawson. if not, jeff teague or brandon jennings should they be available be interesting options. alas, i really like maynor, as i feel he is one of the most complete guards and could contribute right away, but may not have quite the ceiling as the other 3 i have mentioned. all in all, it should be an interesting draft that could really keep the hawks among the echelon in the east if they can make this pick worthwhile in the future.

Marcus

June 25th, 2009
5:02 am

Great job. Getting a productive player/scorer in this trade for 2 players (Acie and Speedy) whose best assets are … sitting on their ASSE(T)S is a steal.
My only question is whether this changes the direction of the 1st round pick or is it full-steam ahead with whomever we originally coveted, presumably a PG “for the future”.

Marcus

June 25th, 2009
5:36 am

Sekou,
on your 6/25/09 mock, you have the Hawks taking Jeff Teague. Any reason why they take him over Eric Maynor (if all falls into place)?

buffalo bill

June 25th, 2009
6:04 am

how many years left on crawfords contract and at what price?

Wabe

June 25th, 2009
6:38 am

Please Mr. Sund,

NO BJ MULLENS! NO HANSBOROUGH!

It’s quite obvious if the Hawks take Mullens, he would be a developmental player. At this point with Woody, I don’t want the Hawks to waste another pick on a player who needs time to develop while Woody is at the healm. Just take a look back to the draft a few years back, the Hawks were slammed for taking another forward at the #4 pick, Al Horford. Most experts assumed the Hawks would take Mike Conley Jr. out of Ohio State and instead the Hawks passed on the raw but talented gaurd and took Horford – and then came back with the #11 pick and took what experts called the most ‘NBA READY’ POINT GAURD available in that years draft – Acie Law. We saw how the development process carried out for Acie with Woody calling the shots, and I would honestly conclude that Acie never had a chance here in ATL…

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Hawks tried landing Hansborough solely based on his ‘hard working attitude’. His talents are made out for the NBA either, but his ‘hard working ethic’ and the time he puts in to study the game is something teams like the Hawks looked at when they worked him out and they would be the type of team to take him based on that. I wouldn’t be surprised if they took Hansborough to replace Zaza – who i would assume will not be resigned if they take another big.

But please, BOLSTER THE BACKCOURT. Even if the Hawks finalize the deal for Crawford, the Hawks still need to surround JJ with some talented gaurds. The Hawks relied too much on two guys – Bibby and JJ – to produce solid numbers in the backcourt. I would go PG or someone to back JJ up, maybe a Wayne Ellington. If the Hawks can pull off a trade to move back a little and take a Wayne Ellington, maybe try and pull off a trade with Sacramento seeing that they and the Mavs seem to be chasing the same prospect – I think it would help add much needed DEPTH to the backcourt.

JJ, Bibby (if we resign), Crawford (if we finalize), Marvin Williams.

Depth – must add depth to this group. I’m not sure if guys like Flip will be back IF we finalize a deal for Crawford, but it’s obvious even with the addition of Crawford, we still need help in the backcourt!

Wabe

June 25th, 2009
6:40 am

I meant Hansborough’s talents AREN’T made out for the NBA.

HawkKingBibby

June 25th, 2009
6:44 am

This trade reminds me of the one BK hoodwinked Philly into when we dumped Big Hog Robinson on their behinds. Now we are having slop dumped on us. Crawford is just like Hog he refuses to even try to play D. How is that going to mesh with Woody? Bibby is a bad defender but he at least gave effort on defense.

Kevin

June 25th, 2009
7:26 am

Maynor is the real deal!

mountain_jim

June 25th, 2009
7:44 am

Get Jack, not Bibby, to get tougher defense from the PG position and save dollars for a big defensive Center in FA.

chuckw/deadjournalist

June 25th, 2009
7:48 am

Sekou –

Will you be blogging at all during the draft?

I’m shocked to still see four letters with B. Jennings at 19. If he’s there, he HAS to be the pick. He’d be the ultimate swing for the fences pick.

After sleeping on it, I do like the Crawford move, but let’s not put this in focus as a game changer yet. It will be a great move if:

- A quality point is signed/resigned/acquired trade
- A quality center is signed/resigned/acquired via trade
- A back-up power forward is signed/acquired via trade
- Three additional rotation players are signed/resigned/acquired via trade

Right now the roster looks like this – based on players under contract and assuming the trade goes through:

1) ?
2) Joe Johnson
3) ?
4) Josh Smith
5) Al Horford

6) Jamal Crawford (if the trade goes through) (1/2/3)
7) ?
8) Mo Evans (2/3)
9) ?
10) Draft Pick ‘09
11) ?
12) Randolph Morris
13) ?
14) ?
15) ?

So before everyone goes all happy-happy, take a look at this roster. No quality back-ups at 4 or 5. A huge hole at the 1. No starting 3 (because that’s sure as hell ain’t Mo Evans). And no rotational depth.

Is it better with Crawford and without Claxton and Law? Yes. Is there still too many unknowns to think this team could with 47+ game in ‘10? In my opinion- yes.

chuckw/deadjournalist

June 25th, 2009
7:52 am

And before anyone points it out, I left out Marvin Williams on purpose. While he is restricted, there isn’t a guarantee that he’ll be back. Feel free to slot him in as the starting 3 – but it still doesn’t address the majority of the issues (although it does solve one of them).

chuckw/deadjournalist

June 25th, 2009
7:59 am

And because I feel like it – as a comparison – here’s the roster IF all significant current free agents were resigned (which they won’t be):

1) Mike Bibby
2) Joe Johnson
3) Marvin Williams
4) Josh Smith
5) Al Horford

6) Jamal Crawford (if the trade goes through) (1/2/3)
7) Flip Murray (1/2)
8) ZaZa Pachulia (4/5)
9) Mo Evans (2/3)
10) Draft Pick ‘09
11) ?
12) Randolph Morris
13) ?
14) ?
15) ?

I left Solomon Jones, Mario West, Thomas Gardner and Othello Hunter off. It’s amazing how little anyone mentions Solo on here.

rainman

June 25th, 2009
8:08 am

I still think our best chance to get a quality defensive center would be Marcus Camby.

Sekou Smith

June 25th, 2009
8:18 am

There will be a blog dedicated to the draft up later Chuck, no question.

Teague over Maynor is just an educated guess based on all the conversations I’ve had with folks in the know. I think Teague’s better myself. More explosive and has a chance to be a more dynamic scorer and player in the NBA … just my two cents, though.

tribe called quest!

June 25th, 2009
8:31 am

excellent excellent excellent excellent move!!!!

we gave up NOTHING for a player who has a sick crossover move patented and can score 50 in any game! so bibb is guess is obviously gone. lets keep flip. holy cow is jamal starting for us???? forget shaq. this is an outstanding move. YES

Clyde

June 25th, 2009
8:31 am

Jeff Teague and Jamal Crawford ain’t gonna help our soft interior defense. When they drive right past them Horford is just gonna move out the way like usual.

Mike is back

June 25th, 2009
8:32 am

Sekou, I just want to say I like the trade…Crawford can lighted up…the writing was on the wall for Acie. I like Teague too. If it was to go down like this in the draft with Siler in the second round…need less to say I would be a very happy camper…I’m all about the team…FOLK!!

tribe called quest!

June 25th, 2009
8:36 am

Come on we traded NOTHING for a sick and prolific scorer.

i am not worried about cleveland getting shaq. as chad ford said, all lebron has around him are veterans. they are not built to beat the celtics and after this coming season, everyone on the team will be 40 and it’ll fall apart

tribe called quest!

June 25th, 2009
8:37 am

Is jamal an automatic bench player for us or do we start him at the 2 and joe at the 3 and let duck walk? or do we resign marvin and let jamal be our 6th man? gonna miss flip if he leaves us

Sekou Smith

June 25th, 2009
8:42 am

All that stuff is possible tribe, that’s the beauty of the deal to me. You can in any number of directions with this one.

Mike is back

June 25th, 2009
8:42 am

I didn’t think it was a guarantee that Bibby would come back for that mid-level stuff…not when you a BIG TIME SHOOTER like that…there just not many PGs that can shooted on a dime like’em.

Sekou, have you heard anything about the head winds surrounding his negotiation…Crawford would definitely help filled the void.

Rock Preston

June 25th, 2009
8:42 am

tribe called quest!

June 25th, 2009
8:43 am

jamal crawford scored 50 points in a freaking game. how many players in the nba have done that? who cares about his defense? i don’t recall the lakers being an amazing defensive team throughout the year. \get the best possible pg in the draft who can HOPEFULLY play well \come on sund, get us a good pg\ and resign our bigs

KevinA

June 25th, 2009
8:43 am

Sautee has it right, if the front court dosen’t recieve more touches and if we don’t take advantage of our young studs, there will be chemestry problems.

A couple of weeks ago I was in favor of trading for Jefferson. The Spurs did. Which trade do you like better? Crawford is a good player but shoots like JJ, Bibby and Flip. Their shooting percentage is not good enough to go to the next level.

Everybody keeps talking about signing another big. ZaZa and Solo don’t get enough minutes now because of Woody rides his starters so much. Why would a big want to come here if he dosen’t start.

We keep talking about a deeper bench, why would a good player want to ride the bench. With the addition of Crawford will Flip and Evans be happy? If we added Charlie V, would ZaZa be happy?

Is this the real reason Chills didn’t resign?

If a better big man is needed and If Crawford is to stay, why not package Flip, ZaZa and draft picks together for an upgrade on a back up center.

chuckw/deadjournalist

June 25th, 2009
8:47 am

tribe called quest! –

i hear ya on crawford and 50pts, but keep in mind two ex-hawks who put up 50 in a game before coming here:

willie burton
tony delk

no comparing the three as players, just saying that flukes happen.

NekiEcko

June 25th, 2009
8:49 am

I think that Hawks may have another deal going for tonight draft or later on in free agent period. I think that this trade will work wonders more than Crawford can 1/2.

1. If you can bring everybody back including Marvin, find a way to bring Chill back from Greece (I know that it wont happen but man can dream right) and bring David Anderson as well, you can have a very deep bench that can spell major relief for the starters and much more. Plus more pieces to move around if need it.

2. It shows that ASG is committed to try to get the Hawks over the hump into ECF, and it is now or never for Woody next year, Win or Go Home

For the draft tonight I think is going to be Eric Maynor as our pick, but Jeff Teague is a close second but if Brandon Jennings drops down to us, I will take him in a heartbeat but you will have to keep Bibby until Jennings is ready.

hawksfan

June 25th, 2009
8:54 am

Sekou, is there any particular reason why you bolded Horford’s name along with the point guards?

darrell starks

June 25th, 2009
8:55 am

Jamal crawford will be the best move asg have made since they took over.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!

chuckw/deadjournalist

June 25th, 2009
8:58 am

financially, this doesn’t change this year much, and ownership will not go into taxland. if more two of the four bigger free agents are retained i will be shocked. realistically, marvin and bibby will probably make similar salaries as will zaza and flip. i just don’t see the ownership putting another 12M on the cap (assuming 7M for bibby/marvin and 5M for filp/zaza). that’s why i think that unless marvin signs an offer sheet early, we’re in for a long, slow summer with the hawks waiting for other teams to make a move first. why overpay if you don’t have too?

darrell starks

June 25th, 2009
9:02 am

who will be there at 19 ? ty lawson i hope.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!

darrell starks

June 25th, 2009
9:05 am

Please no jeff teague.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!

Dan

June 25th, 2009
9:05 am

I think we should figure out a way to either get Tyson Chandler or Marcus Camby….trade for Childress and maybe a draft pick

Anakin Joe

June 25th, 2009
9:07 am

Sounds like we plan to outscore teams, especially if we’re looking at Teague (described as an indifferent defender).

I’m expecting Sund to add front court players who won;t require touches, guys like Chris Wilcox and Stromile Swift. Guys who will be content rebounding and getting the dunk off dribble penetration, but won;t have a single play run for them.

KevinA

June 25th, 2009
9:07 am

PS I did like the trade. Getting rid of the Speedy contract was smart. Acie under Woody was not going to work. Crawford becomes the new Flip. A nice up grade.

As stated Woody won’t play more than 8. If playing time is a ship, will Flip and Evans be jumping off to get more playing time on another team? If we find a better back up center, don’t you think ZaZa will want off the ship to?

If we keep Bibby or trade for another starting pg, how happy will Crawford be? Where do Chills and Marvin fit in? AAhhhhhh so many questions and so few minutes to spread around.

darrell starks

June 25th, 2009
9:08 am

WITH this trade it only make sense to bring back marvin to balance it out.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!

mudcat

June 25th, 2009
9:13 am

It is being reported at Yahoo Sports that it was WOODSON who didn’t like the Crawford for Law-Claxton trade. Could this possible be true? Is Woodson really that big of an idiot?

tvsportscaster

June 25th, 2009
9:14 am

Sekou, I still believe if he’s available because how you mentioned they went gaga over him during the workout, that if Hansbrough is available the Hawks will probably take him. We’ll see though, none of the point guards really knock my socks off.

tvsportscaster

June 25th, 2009
9:15 am

mudcat, Woodson was skeptical of the trade because he was worried about Crawford opting out of his deal, which Crawford has already now assured him he will not do.

tribe called quest!

June 25th, 2009
9:15 am

Good point anakin. wilcox is a very nice piece who was borderline-allstar material a couple years ago.

and to people who think we can resign everyone and bring back chillz and get david anderson, come on. we dont have the moeny for that

Mz. Hawkdafied

June 25th, 2009
9:16 am

I think the trade for Crawford is a good move for the Hawks. I was surprised when the Knicks let Crawford go. I remember him with the bandage on his shoulder lighting the Hawks up. Boy was he making me mad because he was so good and scoring on the Hawks like it was so easy. I’m not so sure about the guy’s defense cause I was so blinded by all the points he was scoring. LOL

darrell starks

June 25th, 2009
9:17 am

We have our starting point guard bibby is gone.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!

Anakin Joe

June 25th, 2009
9:19 am

ESPN’s Hollinger gives the trade a thumbs up because we gave up nothing (I certainly agree) but expresses these concerns about Crawford (again, I agree):

“I’m in Nelson’s camp in my distaste for Crawford — though he is one of the more talented one-on-one scorers in the league, this was probably all Golden State could get for him due to his contract and his inability to defend, pass, or take quality shots. In nine seasons in the league, he’s yet to play on a team that had a winning record or made the playoffs. He’s picked up terrible habits on those forlorn squads, becoming a pure gunner who needs the ball in his hands to create lots of shots at average efficiency and defending with as little effort as any player in the league.

Yet it must be pointed out that Atlanta gave up absolutely nothing of value here, and his arrival allows the Hawks to go in a couple different directions in the backcourt. The best alternative would be to bring Crawford off the bench in the sixth man role that Flip Murray filled a year ago. Murray, like Crawford, is a one-dimensional scorer who can play either guard spot, but Crawford is a bigger, more effective version of the same player, albeit one who likely will give up as many points as he scores”.

tribe called quest!

June 25th, 2009
9:27 am

Flip did cost 15 % what jamal crawford will cost…oh well. who cares if he cant play defense? name one starting pg we’ve had over the last 5 years who has played defense. royal ivey?

darrell starks

June 25th, 2009
9:27 am

Jamal can play the point he is 6′5 and aggressive player thats we need i no he is a shoot first past 2 but he will be a playmaker at the point that will make every one better.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!

doc

June 25th, 2009
9:34 am

aj, didnt we have that in bibby, but it was one who gives up more points than he scores?

Daniel

June 25th, 2009
9:34 am

Great move for the Hawks. Not only does it give a solid scorer in exchange for two non-players, it also improves our negotiation position with Flip and Mike. Two questions.
1) How does the impending Shaq trade affect Zsa’s market?
2) I have seen Toney Douglas all over the place on draft boards, any chance he makes it to 49?

Daniel

June 25th, 2009
9:36 am

darrell and tribe-
I hope that the Hawks have no intention of using Crawford as our starting point guard. He is much more likely to fill the Flip role with better offensive output. We could still keep Flip, because his salary just went WAY DOWN with this move.

darrell starks

June 25th, 2009
9:38 am

Sekou do you have any report on woody not agreeing with the trade if so his a$$ is gone next year sund will get rid of him quick how can you not like this trade as a coach its not like he is a genius being a coach.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!