An ensemble cast II?

Mike Bibby has played the role of ringleader before on a rising young team in the NBA ...

Mike Bibby has played the role of ringleader before on a rising young team in the NBA ...

HAWKSVILLE - Mike Bibby has been here before, at the controls of a team loaded with talent and options, a team still trying to rise up the NBA food chain.

He joined a loaded Sacramento Kings team in July 2001 and pushed them over the top. The Kings put together a league-best 61-21 season his first year and made the Western Conference finals, losing to the eventual NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.

Before Mike D’Antoni’s 7-Second Phoenix Suns there were the Kings, known back then as the “Greatest Show on Court” (a title actually bestowed upon the team the year before Bibby arrived, but upheld marvelously during Bibby’s prime with the franchise).

With a core group that included not only a young Bibby, but also veterans like Vlade Divac, Chris Webber, Doug Christie and up and coming talents like Peja Stojakovic and Hedo Turkoglu, the Kings had a roster primed to lead a franchise renaissance. And for a few years, even with some crushing injuries along the way, that’s exactly what happened. The Kings evolved from a league doormat into a power.

... it worked like a charm for the Kings!

... it worked like a charm for the Kings!

Bibby said he sees some of the same good qualities in his Hawks (of the past year and a half and the team that is taking shape this summer) as he did in those teams he played on Sacramento.

Sure, the dynamics are a bit different now. For starters, he’s 31 and in a totally different position (having oficially re-signed with the Hawks for three years and $18 million Monday). He’s the veteran now, paired with an ensemble cast of young talent including All-Star and captain Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Al Horford, Marvin Williams (more on him in a minute), Zaza Pachulia, Mo Evans  and newcomers like Jamal Crawford and Jeff Teague.

And while it’s certainly not as talented a group as Bibby played with in Sacramento, few were then or are now (when you talk about just sheer talent), even to this day, there is something there in the comparison.

“Different teams and different times,” Bibby said. “But when everybody cares about the same thing [winning] … you’ve got something. That’s all we talked about back then. And that’s all we talk about around here now. The way we finished last season, the only thing on our minds was getting a chance to come back together and go back at it. That’s the common thing about the teams we had in Sacramento and the team we have here right now. We’re all trying to win, that’s our biggest goal.”

That would help explain the motivation for both Bibby and Pachulia (four years, $19 million) to re-up with the Hawks as quickly as they did. Had they played things out a little longer there might have been bigger paydays elsewhere (though the deal might not have been as long, in Bibby’s case).

“The things that we have done these past two seasons, making the playoffs and playing well, it changes everything,” Pachulia said. “The love you get from the fans and from people, it all changes. My first two years here, I wasn’t sure if people even knew who I was, with all that goes on here in Atlanta. These last two years, it’s a complete turnaround. People stop me all the time now. The one thing that’s changed is the winning. When you have success as a team, everything else works out fine.”

Josh Childress is hours away from deciding if he wants to play another year in this jersey.

Josh Childress is hours away from deciding if he wants to play another year in this jersey.

That weekend news on a potential deal for Williams was not only premature, it appears to be wildly overblown. Neither side appears ready to compromise on a deal and this thing looks like it last for a while longer.

In fact, after hearing last week that things might be coming together on the Williams front, I got the feeling Monday that things aren’t nearly as close to getting done as I initially believed.

The fact remains, Williams has a sizable qualifying offer ($7.4 million), meaning he could play out the season and become an unrestricted free agent next summer – when quite a few wealthy teams will have money to spend.

The heralded free agent class of 2010 can’t take all the money. The other players in the free agent mix next summer, particularly those that are unrestricted free agents, stand to cash in as well.

Josh Childress could also opt to return to Olympiakos for a second straight year and try his luck in free agency next summer. He hasn’t made a decision yet, but has to make one by Wednesday.

According to my sources, the overall interest in his services this summer exceeds the level of interest from a year ago. But the same hurdles remain for any team trying to pry him away from the Hawks. He’s restricted. And any mid-level type offer from another team is sure to be matched.

The one sign-and-trade deal that has been on a low rumble throughout the past two weeks has been a proposed deal with Milwaukee, where the Hawks move Childress for a package that includes veteran big man Kurt Thomas (although, if I were the Hawks, I’d need a draft pick or something else to even consider this one).

I just can’t see moving a young player like Childress for a player that might not be in the playing rotation. The Bucks would have to add something to sweeten the pot for me. And even then, I still don’t like the idea of moving Childress to another Eastern Conference team.

I know. I know. That still doesn’t address the issue of the Hawks’ glaring need for more size and help on the frontline. Getting Zaza back was huge, yet there’s still a need for at least one or two more big guys – especially when you look at what Southeast Division rival Orlando has done in the last few days signing Brandon Bass and matching the offer sheet Dallas presented to Marcin Gortat.

There will be reinforcements on the way before the summer ends. There have to be if the Hawks plan on competing with the likes of the Magic, Cleveland and Boston in the upper echelon of the conference (and league, for that matter).

Restricted free agent Solomon Jones remains an option. Three years deep into his career, there is still untapped potential to work with there. Jones has matured nicely over the past couple of seasons and showed himself to be an able contributor when called upon (he was a mainstay in the rotation when Smith was hurt and didn’t disappoint). His familiarity with the Hawks’ program makes him an ideal fit, though he still lacks the ideal bulk (not that that has ever stopped him from delivering a hard foul). 

He might be on the thin side, but Solomon Jones proved in the playoffs that he won't hesitate to mix it up with the big boys.

He might be on the thin side, but Solomon Jones proved in the playoffs that he won't hesitate to mix it up with the big boys (as he did here against D. Wade and the Heat).

Randolph Morris is under contract and has one last shot to prove himself worthy of a rotation spot. When the Hawks convene their mini-camp next week we’ll get a closer look at blog-fav/human destroyer Garret Siler, whose work in summer league action has been impressive, so far.

There are other 7-footers on the market, guys with the size and experience to help the Hawks. Guys like Johan Petro and Mikki Moore are still out there. Petro (7-foot, 250) has been productive when used and still has enough of his career ahead of him where you can project him to do some bigger things down the road. Moore (7-foot, 225) is a veteran journeyman that knows how to fill his role, having done so for 10 different teams in his 11-year career (including a five-game stint with the Hawks during the 2002-03 season).

Any combination of three (of those five guys) gives the Hawks what they need in terms of depth at the position, which is all you’re looking for at this point … unless you’re talking about making a blockbuster trade for an All-Star-caliber big man (which for the umpteenth time I’ve been told is not going to happen).

57 comments Add your comment

niremetal

July 13th, 2009
11:01 pm

Wait…so we can’t trade Randolph Morris for Dwight Howard? Damn…

niremetal

July 13th, 2009
11:02 pm

My question, Sekou, is whether you’ve gotten any indication from Woodson that he’ll use a deeper rotation if Sund gives him the pieces to work with. Because if he’s dead set on an 8-man rotation, there’s really no point in adding a guy like Moore or Petro, except as insurance in case Zaza or Horford gets hurt…

doc

July 13th, 2009
11:02 pm

doc

July 13th, 2009
11:12 pm

for those of you doubting the seriousness of josh’ high ankle sprain more significant than the usual last season or anyone else’s including your own …. read this:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/08/how-to-fix-bad-ankles/?scp=1&sq=ankle%20health&st=cse

Samuel

July 13th, 2009
11:22 pm

Cuz,

I know you’ve become attached to these cats but I would do the Chills for thomas deal straight up. We need help down low and Thomas is a proven vet who can give us that. We got enough swing men.

“I still don’t like the idea of moving Childress to another Eastern Conference team”.

Cuz, come on man. Don’t think we’d be doing any extra game planning for that funky as_ jumper. Let’s just get what we can get and move on. Let the fro go.

Nookah

July 13th, 2009
11:23 pm

doc, you the man!!! You gotta teach me how to link man!!! I listened to the interview live but all I could do on the last blog was relate a few things that were discussed. LOL!!!

Go Hawks!!

niremetal

July 13th, 2009
11:24 pm

PS, I need suggestions on what else to read during my last month of freedom before I enter the “real world.” I figured y’all might know a few good sports books. My sports are basketball, tennis, football, and baseball (in that order). Here’s what I got already:

Seven Seconds or Less
Season on the Brink
The Breaks of the Game
Strokes of Genius
The Boys of Summer

Any other suggestions?

Melvin

July 13th, 2009
11:29 pm

Thanks for the link Doc. I think Chills is very intelligent and will weight all his options and make his decision at the 11th hour. Sounds like the Hawks has made their intentions known to him and he’s trying to decide to accept it or not. However, I think he’s ready to comeback to the states….

Gilk

July 13th, 2009
11:33 pm

Why no discussion of unrestricted big men Chris Wilcox or Drew Gooden or Ike Diogo?? I will not be impressed with either Petro or Moore … certified journeymen! Solo is not a viabile option to me either. I wouldn’t mind Kurt Thomas in a sign & trade for Chills, but I don’t think such a deal can be done until Aug (due to league rules).

mountain_jim

July 13th, 2009
11:45 pm

Well how much did the Hawks (supposedly) offer Andersen, what was the scoop there?

doc

July 13th, 2009
11:45 pm

just here to help guys.

Ice

July 14th, 2009
12:00 am

Gilk, I’m with you. Why are we not talking more about Chris Wilcox? The boy is tough, athletic and will give a major boost off the bench in place of Smoove and Horford. He kills us every time we play him, so the Hawks brass have seen him first hand. I commend what we’ve done so far, but to see all the other free agents signing without breaking the bank, lets get moving on this before it’s too late. I don’t think we’d have to overpay for him, and we’d be able to match these other teams physically and athletically with Wilcox coming off our bench. STOP WAITING AND GET THIS DONE!!!!!!

Samuel

July 14th, 2009
12:14 am

Thanks Doc,

Couple of things really stuck out with me:

1. He talked of Greece a lot in the past tense.
2. He said that playing over there was much closer to college than the NBA.

How can a serious “baller” go back to that.

Ariose

July 14th, 2009
12:20 am

Doc, Good stuff, Nice Toe-stepping action ;-)

I think Chills will accept any S&T at this point. I can just tell. Coming back home, re-opend his eyes.

jhan

July 14th, 2009
12:22 am

Chills kept talking about the Euro League in the past tense. Sounds like he thinks he’s coming back to the NBA.

HawkKingBibby

July 14th, 2009
12:23 am

Hoopshype is reporting that Greek papers are saying Chills has chosen to stay in Greece.

Ariose

July 14th, 2009
12:24 am

Doc, I read up on high ankle sprains as soon as Smooves happend. I was shocked by all of the long-lasting effects that in can have in the future. You really have to make sure those thinks heal. Sometimes they never fully heal.

If you remember correctly, Smoove was shooting pretty well before he sprainde his ankle. Once he came back, his shot just wasn’t the same. I have no doubt that the sprain played a part in that.

Sekou Smith

July 14th, 2009
12:25 am

Steamboat, I just don’t like the idea of trading an asset to a direct competitor. And it’s not like you are getting something of equal value for Childress. This isn’t a normal trade. And who did K. Thomas help last year? And everyone loves to gripe about Josh and Al being undersized … K. Thomas is what, 6-9 in heels? No dice, man.

The rotation has to expand given the proper players Nire. That’s a given. And if not … well, you know how that goes in the final year of a contract.

And when you’re talking about these journeyman bigs, Gilk, what’s really the difference? You don’t want to see any of them starting for you full-time. And if they are, that means someone more valuable is injured. To me, you need guys that fit and know their role. Beyond that, they are basically all the same. That said, I’d take either Gooden or Wilcox in a heartbeat.

jim, I don’t know what the offer was. Clearly it wasn’t enough to get Andersen to say yet. But he’d have to take a pay cut to come to the NBA regardless. I

SB

July 14th, 2009
12:25 am

It did sound as if it was in the past. He said ” It was a good experience” not it is a good experience.

blue hawk

July 14th, 2009
12:38 am

come on, DAVID ANDERSEN people!!!

bringing him over won’t break the bank. and whoever big you bring in won’t break up the frontcourt of Smoove and Hoffa anyway.

let’s just once and for all bring him over and give him a look. at it’s worst he’ll end up being a trading pawn for the future and at it’s best we have some type of Luis Scola Euro bigman.

and RANDOLPH MORRIS!!! come on, give the guy a chance, he is at the very least a serviceable big and if ever he taps his potential them we have another worthwhile big in our hands.

stop looking outside, and start looking at what’s already readily available.

Gilk

July 14th, 2009
12:39 am

Ice, I couldn’t agree with your take more. I am a bit biased on Wilcox though … I am a Terps fan!

Thanks Doc as well for that interview link. After listening to it, I have changed my tune. Why don’t we sign Marvin for 5 yrs. $40MM and give Chills one of those 5 year full MLE type contracts for $34MM (yr 1 salary = $5.85MM then escalates 10% per yr)? This is the kicker though. Dump Mo Evans’ $2.5MM expiring contract for a 2nd round pick just like Detroit did today with Affalo and Sharpe to Denver. He duplicates Josh C. and Josh is younger.

If you use http://www.HoopsWorld.com and roughly calculate next year’s salary (including $6MM for Bibby, $4.75MM for Pachulia, and a bit over $1MM for rook Teague), you still have about $3.5MM to spend (if you assume ASG will spend up to the luxury tax level of $69.92MM). I would offer this as a 1 yr contract to Gooden, Wilcox, and David Andersen and see which one bites first.

Now this 12 man roster is one that I would be very interested to see compete against the rest of the East. Plus you have to think that the younger Hawks will continue to improve year to year. We have a lot to look forward to as Hawks fans … exciting times!

Samuel

July 14th, 2009
12:43 am

Never herd me emphasizing measurements. I don’t give a sh_t. I’ve seen what Thomas can do and i’ve seen what Chills can do. They are pretty much “tit” for “tat” if you asked me. Both journeymen and nothing more. Not sure why SA didn’t play him more last year. He pretty much did what he always does. 17min- 5 boards, 50% FG, and 82% FT and 5 ppg.

All I know is that every year he’s a pretty sought-after big for some reason. Still have yet to see or hear anybody beating down the door for Josh Childress. Chills averaged 8 points a game against “EURO PUNKS” and NBA wannabes. Actually, I’d say Thomas had the better year.

I would also rather have Wilcox but we don’t have him yet. We all agree that we need more bigs and Randmo don’t count.

Nookah

July 14th, 2009
12:52 am

Chills’ comments really creates some intrigue. It means Wednesday has some value now . LOL. Hawks fans have something to look forward to regardless of the outcome.

Sekou, I agree with you. If we are getting Kurt for Chills, he had better come with a draft pick and a 1st round too. Why would you S&T a guy to a direct competitor (Sekou’s words)?

Mr. Sund, after signing Marvin and deciding on Chills, please let us have Wilcox or Gooden (as Sir Alex Ferguson of MANU says…”we’re done dealing for the offseason. We won’t spend money on overvalued assets”…………that’s for the soccer fans).

What percentage of FA’s are signed by a team that it’s fans are clamouring for? Any stats on that? I bet the percentages are very low. That may not auger well for Wilcox..lol

Go Hawks!!!!

Deep

July 14th, 2009
12:54 am

Chills friends on twitter think he’s going back. He sounds like it too. Damn he sounded so close on the fan.

Nookah

July 14th, 2009
12:54 am

Samuel, you’re being mean to RandMo…lol

Go Hawks!!!

niremetal

July 14th, 2009
12:55 am

Ariose,

We failed – Chill is going back to Europe:
http://twitter.com/sekousmith01/status/2627220088

Sekou Smith

July 14th, 2009
12:58 am

On the phone with Chils, he’s going back.

Deep

July 14th, 2009
1:00 am

Damn…… oh well Wilcox and Flip

Samuel

July 14th, 2009
1:01 am

SB

July 14th, 2009
1:04 am

Sekou……………..Was their anything the Hawks could have done to keep him?

niremetal

July 14th, 2009
1:05 am

I blame Anakin Joe for this. He waffled firm on his offer to give Chill a year’s supply of afro sheen if he re-signed with the Hawks. That’s why Chill stayed in Greece.

Ariose

July 14th, 2009
1:05 am

Nooooooooooooo!!!!!!! Danmn You Childresss!!!!!!!!! We’ll get you next Time!!!!!! Bwahahahahahahahahhhaahahaha!!!!!!!!

Time to resign Flip and get Gerald Green(800K!!!!!)

I bet chills was part of the reason they weren’t being considred.

Trade Chills AND Andersen rights for picks….

KC

July 14th, 2009
1:06 am

Smart move by Josh Childress. The Hawks still keep his rights next year also. They don’t expire. Next year we might get something of value when there will be lots of movement going on.

niremetal

July 14th, 2009
1:06 am

Can’t trade Chills’s rights Ariose. He’s a free agent – just a restricted one. We can’t trade him unless we sign him first. And since he isn’t opting out of his deal with Olympiacos, we obviously won’t be able to sign him…

Ariose

July 14th, 2009
1:07 am

ROFL Nire, heheheh We shoulda thrown in free afro shape-ups for a year lol.

Ariose

July 14th, 2009
1:10 am

Wilcox, Green, and Flip LETS GO SUND!!!!

Samuel

July 14th, 2009
1:10 am

Guys,

Let it go. He’s still gotta come through us. 2010-11 is gonna be our year.

Sniper update:

DNP

Meeks 20pts, Jennings 13 pts,14 assist, 7 steals. Can you say Russia.

Ariose

July 14th, 2009
1:12 am

Samuel, thanks for the update. I’ve been trying to keep tabs on Acie.

Gilk

July 14th, 2009
1:15 am

Even though Chills goes back to Grease, Hawks still have to stick his $4.8MM qualifying offer (to keep his rights) into their salary structure … ah damn! I say take remaining money (assume a bit under $3MM) and offer to a young vet big who has some potential of not being a certified journeyman …. such as Drew Gooden or Chris Wilcox. Use vet min. on Mario West and call it a day.

niremetal

July 14th, 2009
1:17 am

Gilk,

Chills’s cap hold is irrelevant since we’re over the cap regardless of whether or not we renounce him. This does not affect our ability to spend the full mid-level. And since he’s not under contract, Childress doesn’t count a dime towards our luxury tax figure.

Samuel

July 14th, 2009
1:17 am

Ariose

July 14th, 2009
1:18 am

Salim can’t play in summer leauge play. You only get three years max I beleive.

Acie not doing so hot. On the flipside MArcus Williams(who got cut by the warriors last season) is thriving on his summerleauge team(Memphis). He and Acie have similar games…not a good fit+ they are giving all the minutes to Curry, Morrow, and Randolph.

E-Dawg

July 14th, 2009
1:18 am

oh well……Adios Chillz………now lets sign wilcox and marvin and bring aboard Garret Siler……then we can fill out the rest of the roster with low salary players like Mario and Solomon………whats your thoughts guys?

Samuel

July 14th, 2009
1:24 am

Ariose,

He is playing. Just not doing sh-t. 6pts and 2pts. Just face it man. Dude sucks.

tim

July 14th, 2009
1:27 am

We NEEDS to get David Anderson.

BTW: Anyone else heard the rumor that Detroit is pushing hard to trade Rip Hamilton (plus draft picks) for Joe Johnson?

Najeh Davenpoop

July 14th, 2009
1:28 am

Sekou, I wouldn’t sell Kurt Thomas short. He may only be 6′9″ but throughout his career he has successfully guarded taller, stronger interior players and shown an ability to knock down the mid-range jumper with regularity. I’m with Samuel — don’t give a sh*t about measurements, only about results, and Thomas has always been able to body up opposing PFs and Cs.

I agree that the Hawks shouldn’t trade Childress for him unless they get a pick in return as well, but keeping in mind that any reserve big the Hawks acquire would only be slated for 15-20 minutes a game, Kurt Thomas’ toughness and experience would be a solid addition to the team in those limited minutes. Dude’s per-minute averages were more or less in line with his career stats last year, so it’s not like he’s washed up.

And as for trading within the conference… I think it would be awful hard to pull off deals in any league if you shut yourself off from dealing with half the teams out there.

Of course all of this seems irrelevant now that Childress appears to be going back to Greece, but whatever…

Ariose

July 14th, 2009
1:29 am

Sam, I know lol. MY BOI SALIM HAS NO PROBLEM GETTING BUCKETS THOUGH!!!!!

Najeh Davenpoop

July 14th, 2009
1:31 am

“BTW: Anyone else heard the rumor that Detroit is pushing hard to trade Rip Hamilton (plus draft picks) for Joe Johnson?”

Dumars is smoking that good sh*t if he thinks he’s getting a player of Joe’s caliber in return for Rip. He has painted himself into a corner by signing Gordon — at this point he has no choice but to move Rip, and I’m sure teams know this.

[...] Sekou Smith’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution Hawks blog: According to my sources, the overall interest in Josh Childress’ services this [...]

Ariose

July 14th, 2009
1:35 am

LOL @ POOP!!! That type of rumor doesnt even deserve mention. Pure blasphemy.