Hawks courting Joe Smith?

Joe Smith gave the Hawks all they could handle as he and his Cavaliers swept the birds out of the playoffs in May. The Hawks are in the process of recruiting him to help solidify their frontline rotation.

Joe Smith (32) gave the Hawks all they could handle as he and his Cavaliers swept the birds out of the playoffs in May. The Hawks are in the process of recruiting him to help solidify their frontline rotation.

HAWKSVILLE - Who said the Hawks were done chasing big men this summer?

You didn’t hear it around these parts, at least not officially (from me).

Barring a last minute change of plans, veteran big man Joe Smith is scheduled to visit town on Wednesday, according to two of my best spies. And the Hawks are not out of the running for Ben Wallace, who has yet to agree to terms with Detroit (though, one of my best spies up north insists that it’s just a matter of time before Wallace returns to the Pistons).

A 6-10, 225-pound veteran of 14 NBA seasons, Smith showed he has plenty left in the tank against the Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals, averaging 4.8 rebounds, 3.3 points and 1.2 blocks in a little over 21 minutes per game. He’s got that “old man” strength that belies his seemingly slender frame. I watched him push the Hawks’ around in that series whenever he was on the floor.

Smith’s numbers (10.8 points and 5.5 rebounds) in the Cavaliers’ first round sweep of Detroit were even more impressive. He’s capable of that kind of production off the bench for a quality team, which speaks volumes for the type of veteran and pro that he has become since being the No. 1 overall pick in the 1995 draft.

Pair him on the frontline with Zaza Pachulia behind Josh Smith and Al Horford and the Hawks’  paper-thin frontcourt rotation suddenly takes on a different look. While it’s far from the “championship move” many have argued for around here, it’s certainly a move in the right direction (provided the Hawks are able to recruit him and sign him at some point between now and training camp).

The Hawks’ other big man options aren’t exactly ready to fade into the background. I mentioned Randolph Morris the other day and he’s shown well so far. Jeff Schultz caught up with him after Tuesday morning’s mini-camp practice for an interesting update on what he’s been up to this summer.

Another player to keep an eye on for a training camp invite is Othello Hunter. His minutes were sparse as a rookie last season, but the strides he made (physically and in his game) have been stunning to see from a year ago this time. It’s not clear right now what his future is with the Hawks. There are only going to be so many roster spots to go around. And without a guaranteed contract heading into camp, he’ll be gambling a bit if he comes to camp with the Hawks. But I like his game and what he brings in terms of a no-nonsense reserve that’s going to get to it whenever he’s asked.

I spoke with an Eastern Conference executive Tuesday afternoon that wanted to know what the Hawks were going to do with Solomon Jones. Funny, Jones asked me the same thing last week. I answered his question with the same question he asked me. He’s a restricted free agent, so you almost expect his summer to last a bit longer than most. Still, he’ll become an option for not only the Hawks but plenty of other teams looking to fill out the rotation with a long and athletic (even if he’s still a bit undersized) big that can play spot minutes when necessary.

Garret Siler has his chance to make an impression over the next 36 hours or so. He played well enough in summer league to get some looks from several other teams, so the Hawks will have to make a decision about what they want to do with him regarding training camp. One hilarious story that’s already made the mini-camp rounds is that it takes an entire roll of tape to properly tape up one of his ankles. I have to admit he is one of the largest human beings I can remember cutting corners in the hawks’ locker room during my time here. It’s on the floor, though, and particularly against Morris, Hunter and guys like Earl Barron, where we’ll be able to gauge Siler’s readiness for the rigors of the NBA.

There are still a few names left on the free agent radar, the most notable being Johan Petro. He hasn’t signed anywhere yet and could still be an option for the Hawks should things not work out with one of the other guys mentioned above.

Enough about these big men already. It’s time for some actual scrimmage action here shortly (the next time the Hawks have a mini-camp that has more drills than scrimmages in the first two days we should stage a non-violent protest in the name of the game). The blog will be open for business all night. I’ll be dipping back and forth between the blog and Twitter throughout the evening if you want to join the party.

922 comments Add your comment

ATMAN

July 21st, 2009
4:11 pm

Deep

July 21st, 2009
4:16 pm

let this happen

Deep

July 21st, 2009
4:25 pm

Come on Sund!!! This plus Crawford would be a big upgrade. Throw in a Marvin 5yr deal and resign Flip and I will shut up for this year….

[...] is from Sekou Smith’s blog in the Atlanta Journal Constitution: And the Hawks are not out of the running for Ben Wallace, who [...]

MannyT

July 21st, 2009
4:26 pm

The plain ol’ Joes would be a good pair. Smith scores better inside than anyone we have so his skills would add another tool to the box. I like. In some ways, isn’t he the extreme upside of Solomon Jones? Skinny but skilled inside.

I’m willing to pass on Wallace. He seemed injured or old last season. Not sure which, but late in the career, it might be too much to expect him to bounce back.

Glad to hear that there is some action in the GM’s office this week.

BWAF

O'Brien

July 21st, 2009
4:26 pm

Sekou,

I have been one of the bloggers waiting (maybe impatiently) for the Hawks to sign an established front court player, so I am glad to hear they are recruiting. And Joe Smith is a step in the right direction.

Any news on if Drew Gooden is on the Hawks list of possible options (especially if Joe Smith doesnt sign here)?

UGA

July 21st, 2009
4:32 pm

Can we sign both Joe Smith AND a Ben Wallace or Johan Petro???

allan in texas

July 21st, 2009
4:32 pm

Come on down Joe Smith! You are more than welcome to join us. GO HAWKS!

JSS

July 21st, 2009
4:35 pm

Sekou, we can never get enough big man talk… Sekou, are we to take that you didn’t like Siler?

chuckw/deadjournalist

July 21st, 2009
4:35 pm

joe smith would be a perfect signing for this team (although i’m still pro-powe)

JSS

July 21st, 2009
4:36 pm

Only Schultz would be interested in what Morris was doing…

UGA

July 21st, 2009
4:38 pm

The Hawks need a veteran big, and Joe is big enough to play some 5 also. What a great sign he would be!

If it comes to it and we have to trade for somone, I wonder if these names would interest the Hawks (they would be what we are looking for as a 4th post):

Darius Songalia (Twolves)
Tony Battie (Nets)
Blatche (Wizards)
Nick Collison (Thunder)

Melvin

July 21st, 2009
4:43 pm

I will take Joe Smith on this team. He would fit in nicely behind Josh and along side ZaZa. Throw in Solo and Siler and we are done.

Sekou,
Any chance we will sign another swing man like Tim Thomas?????

rms

July 21st, 2009
4:50 pm

Hey Sekou, Whats your HONEST opinion of Teague and do you think he will get buried on the bench like the last PG did. Every one was so high on the last point guard of the future and look how that turned out. Secondly what are the chances of the Hawks getting some National T.V. games this season such as some TNT, ESPN, and ABC Sunday games, now that we seemed to established a winning presence here?

Hugo

July 21st, 2009
4:55 pm

I guess Wilcox has committed somewhere else. I am not sold on Smith. I wish someone would give more info on Siler and his progression. I am not into four or five yrs down the road waiting for a championship. It can happen NOW with Atlanta. Go Hawks!!!!!!!!

JSS

July 21st, 2009
4:55 pm

Sekou, I respect you; but please don’t ever link to a sorry Jeff Schultz column again!!! That was just unreadable!

Ariose

July 21st, 2009
4:57 pm

Former #1 overall pick of the 1995 NBA draft? HELL YEAH!!!! He’a a better shoter than Drew Gooden, and he doesn’t take plays off like Gooden does. He dosn’t solve the “Length” problem we have, but it’s a start. Besies, I think Siler cand give us spit minutes against the real NBA Bis like shaq….yao(now injured though) etc.

niremetal

July 21st, 2009
5:00 pm

We’ve needed someone to find a way to get Joe and Smith to play cohesively for awhile, so signing Joe Smith makes perfect sense from a phonetic standpoint.

And yeah, he’d be a nice piece to pick up too.

Let Siler walk. He looks like old RandMo and then some in terms of bad conditioning.

Sekou – how do Cenk and Sergei look?

[...] one of my best spies up north insists that it

Dan23

July 21st, 2009
5:02 pm

Joe Smith would be a quality signing. Ben Wallace although older would provide the defensive toughness needed. I would like to see him, Al, and Zaza fighting over boards. Give the guards alot of second chance points.

Big Ray

July 21st, 2009
5:04 pm

I’m interested in seeing what Siler can do, and what kind of impression he makes on our staff.

I saw some of what he did in the Summer League (you gotta love DirecTV and NBATV). He looked good. And BIG. Dude can move around some, and seems fairly motivated. We’ll see if he can separate himself from the rest of the minicamp crowd.

Got news for those who want Siler in favor of RandMo. RandMo is under contract, for the next two years I think.

I’d like to see Joe Smith come here. Ben Wallace was talking about retiring, and last I heard, nobody was really trying to stop him…gimme Joe all day long.

Big Ray

July 21st, 2009
5:09 pm

Nire,

Have you watched Siler play? He doesn’t look like RandMo to me, though summer league isn’t exactly high level competition. He gets up and down the floor a little better. He is active on the boards on both ends. I’ve been afraid of him being another RandMo, but after watching him play some, I’m leaning towards him being better than what RandMo showed us last year. Speaking of which, I wonder how ol’ RandMo has been doing? We won’t know if he’s improved at all until training camp, and that’s still only a preview. I won’t get my hopes all up like I did last year.

Ariose

July 21st, 2009
5:11 pm

Mike Woodson Mic’d up at the Mini-Camp(From today’s Action):

http://www.nba.com/hawks/video/2009/07/21/WoodsonMicd.nba/index.html

JSS

July 21st, 2009
5:12 pm

Nire, were you there today at all? Remember he’s coming off playing 2 games over the past weekend and a cross country flight to get back for this camp… Not trying to get into an argument with you, but I’m interested in trying to understand your train of thought….

Ariose

July 21st, 2009
5:15 pm

Nire, Sergi can’t scrimmage because of some FIBA paperwork that needs to be cleared up. After practice yesterday, he did do some drills. Micah Heart said he has an efortless shooting stroke….very good shooter.

Ariose

July 21st, 2009
5:15 pm

niremetal

July 21st, 2009
5:20 pm

Ray,

I saw a few summer league clips of Siler. And honestly, I saw very little difference in terms of mobility compared to what I saw from RandMo when he was at Kentucky and playing for the Knicks. Even now, RandMo is just nine months older and has better frame for an NBA big man.

Dude needs to drop some fat, and then we’ll talk about signing him. Right now, it looks like his body fat is around 16 or 17. There’s a reason no one drafted him.

We already have one borderline-prospect big man who has conditioning issues. No need to get a second. I’d much, much, much rather have a young 3rd string PF like Hunter.

Ariose

July 21st, 2009
5:28 pm

Hunters shot looked Broke in those clips. In ever clip he’s either getting Blocked or bricking a J…..BTW he’s like 6′8 right? No thinks Gimme the 7-footer please.

Ariose

July 21st, 2009
5:28 pm

cp

July 21st, 2009
5:29 pm

Joe Smith, Hunter, and Siler and im good. Give me Hunter on the bench over RandyMo and Mario.

UGA

July 21st, 2009
5:31 pm

Would everyone be happy if the roster filled out as followed:

Re-sign Marvin, Solo and Flip. Add Joe Smith. The end.

O'Brien

July 21st, 2009
5:36 pm

Give me Joe Smith, Johan Petro, and Solo, and call it a day. We already have RandMo under contract, so I would pass on Siler. And I agree with Ariose. I’ll pass on the 6′8″ Hunter.

I still say the Hawks need to add a 3rd string PG (not Flip, sorry Ariose). And it would be best to sign a 3rd string PG before camp, so they can get familiar with Woody’s (no) offense.

If Bibby gets hurt, we would be forced to play Teague major minutes (and I dont know if he’s ready), and use Crawford as our backup PG/backup SG. The 3rd string PG would not get many minutes, but at least if Teague or Bibby gets injured, they could provide spot minutes.

Tyger

July 21st, 2009
5:43 pm

Underwhelming…

Although I’m a big Mighty Joe fan from his days back in College Park MD, he wasn’t what I had in mind. If he only replaces Solo, then that’s fine, but I was looking for someone with a lot more girth, i.e. Drew Gooden.

And for God’s sake, why would we sign 6′6 Lil’ Ben Wallace??? Surely, back in the day, he was a man-child, a beast, but now? Hopefully, that’s just PR fodder for other negotiations.

Stuart

July 21st, 2009
5:44 pm

Sign Marvin, Solo, and Smith. That can at least give you what you need-

Tyger

July 21st, 2009
5:45 pm

Garret Siler runs like he’s moonwalking, his knees go up and down, but he’s mostly running in place.

Melvin

July 21st, 2009
5:47 pm

Agree with Ariose and Big Ray. Bring in the big kid Siler. In the highlights I saw, he look very mobile for a guy his sizes.

Nire,
Agree that Siler is a project but I read somewhere that the kid has lost a ton of weight and continuing to go down on the scale. Sounds like a guy that’s willing to put in the work to me. I prefer him than Hunter. Hunter didn’t do anything worth mention in Vegas. Besides, he’s a undersize PF.

Najeh Davenpoop

July 21st, 2009
5:48 pm

I’m not jumping for joy at the idea of signing Joe Smith, but for what it’s worth he is a veteran who will provide some depth. I would like someone who rebounds better, but at this stage in the game beggars can’t be choosers I guess.

SHOOT THEROCK

July 21st, 2009
5:50 pm

DEEP,I AGREE ! IF SUND DOES THIS THEN HE’S HEADING THIS TEAM IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION !! HOW EVER THE ONLY THING THAT WILL SHUT ME UP IS………..FIRE THAT”NO COACHING CLOWN” WOODSON…….NOW!!!!

Melvin

July 21st, 2009
5:52 pm

O’brien,

If we re-sign Marvin, we still need a backup SF with size. So give me Tim Thomas, Joe Smith, Solo and Siler. Keep in mind, RandMo is under contract so he will be back next year as well. Look like I’m approaching 15 players and we know the BASG is not going to carry that many on the roster so somebody has to go. Hey Mo, I need your playbook…

Jarrett Storm

July 21st, 2009
5:54 pm

I will take Joe Smith for sure. Marcus Camby would be better, but we need a veteran big man. We only have ZaZa, Big Al, and J Smoothe to play the 4/5

Tony

July 21st, 2009
5:55 pm

Get joe smith and flip and this team is ecf bound!! holla!!!!

Mr. GO HAWKS!

July 21st, 2009
5:56 pm

I think Theo Ratliff is still a possiblity.

Westurd

July 21st, 2009
5:56 pm

How are we going to compete with the moves Cleveland, Boston, and Orlando have made…..and keep in mind Boozer might be heading to team up with Dwayne……

Someone please answer that….Joe Smith and Jamal aren’t the answers

Deep

July 21st, 2009
5:56 pm

I know Smith isn’t as big as what was possibly out there, but he can come in with ZaZa or even maybe Siler\ Randmo and bang up some other teams a little bit while Al and Josh rest. That plus Teague and that kid from Turkey can supply us with a three point shot from the outside that we have been missing off the bench.

JSS

July 21st, 2009
5:59 pm

Well, I see this is going descend into name calling instead of worth; so I’m going to leave this alone until they make a decision…

tim

July 21st, 2009
6:01 pm

I just hope Woodsen doesn’t ignore these big guys if they do make it on the team.

People keep saying to resign Solo even though Woodsen never played him last year.

Woody falls in love with his veteran players a bit too much and just doesn’t give many of the bench guys a chance.

UGA

July 21st, 2009
6:02 pm

I agree with most of you all. Joe Smith, Petro, and Solo as the bigs, suits me fine.

Who would be the PG we go after??

I’d suggest Bobby Jackson. Just me, he’s cheap and he’s a vet. I’d love Flip back (he helped win us many of games) but with Crawford where would he play??

ILL-logical

July 21st, 2009
6:05 pm

The two things that Woodson’s “system” doesn’t do are develop young players and feature the front court in the offense. So why would any quaility ,vet big or a young rising talented big want to play here? either way you lose w/not its minutes ,touches or

In re Siler: if Mr. Sund is smart he will hire a “consultant” a la Mark Price to work with whichever bigs are the roster to develop their skills and abilities. We would not be having these anxiety attacks if some player development had occurred over the last three years but that was then and this is now. Maybe now that R Morris sees his futuer on the line he will be more receptive to some consultant help and become part of the solution long term.

404atlhoops

July 21st, 2009
6:05 pm

Ben Wallace is done. His whole game is predicated on energy and hustle. However, I do think Joe Smith is a solid pick. Although Smith has a lean frame, he is a quality NBA big and can provide additional leadership. I’ve never been a fan of Solo and would rather have Randolph Morris get his minutes in the frontcourt rotation. I thought Morris should have played more last season given the Hawks lack of size in the paint. Other than Zaza, Morris is the only other true center on the roster.

CaVs2010

July 21st, 2009
6:08 pm

yeah..you guys are still going to suck signing joe..he doesent make THAT much of a difference..lol..