Archive for August, 2009

Look who’s talking …

Say it loud. Scream if you have to. Joe Johnson's on Twitter folks, and he's sharing. And he's not the only resident of Hawksville talking up a storm these days.

SAY IT LOUD! SCREAM, if you have to. Hawks' captain and All-Star Joe Johnson has suddenly become a Twitter machine. But he's not the only resident of our tight-knit community in a talkative mood these days. Hawks coach Mike Woodson is, too.

HAWKSVILLE - Whoever thought that late August and early September would be a quiet time for the Hawks didn’t count on Twitter changing the game.

Hawks captain and All-Star Joe johnson, known around the NBA as one of the league’s more subdued stars, has suddenly taken the gloves off on his Twitter page. He hasn’t mentioned anything about that extension the Hawks offered and whether or not he’ll be agreeing to sign on for another four years after this one, the final year of a five-year, $70 million deal.

But he’s sharing plenty of other things with anyone interested in following him. In fact, he’s sharing more than I can remember him giving up at anytime before now (and he might be sharing a bit too much for some of our more sheltered …

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Still talking about Joe!

I promise, this is the last time you'll have to see this picture of Joe Smith wearing a Cavaliers uniform here. Next time, he'll be wearing the same uniform as Josh Smith.

I promise, this is the last time you will have to view this picture of Joe Smith. Next time, he'll be in the same uniform as Josh Smith.

HAWKSVILLE - More than a month has passed since the Hawks’ interest in Joe Smith was revealed to the world in this space.

I doubt any of us thought it would take this long for the resolution to come. I mean, school has already started. The Michael Jackson autopsy is done (someone’s going to jail for this one). The NFL season is upon us. Cash for Clunkers has come and gone. College football is just days away.

And still, we wait for Joe Smith to be signed.

But I believe the day has come. Today has to be Joe Smith Day in Hawksville. It has to be. If things play out the way they are supposed to my name will be intact – check the Twitter feed for my name-change challenge – and we should be able to move on from this saga and back to whatever else we amuse ourselves with this time of year.

And speaking of amusement, if you haven’t seen this …

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True or False in Hawksville!

What's Joe Johnson going to do, take the extension or leave it? Hawks fans want to know.

What's Joe Johnson going to do, take the Hawks' extension offer or leave it? No one knows because the Hawks' quiet All-Star and captain isn't saying.

HAWKSVILLE - While we wait for this week’s transaction(s) to be completed, why don’t we dive into a quick game of True or False-Hawksville style.

True or False, Joe Smith is going to sign with the Hawks?

True. And it could happen any day (if you haven’t leaned by now how critical that phrase is around here, I can’t help you). So what’s the hold up? Well, these contracts don’t work themselves out magically. They have to be negotiated and fine-toothed by agents and attorneys and whoever else has a stake in them. It’s not rocket science on this one, a one-year deal at the veteran’s minimum (of $1.3 million). I’d tell you to be patient and that things will work out but you’ve been doing that for weeks now. Again, the deal could be finalized any day now, so stay tuned.

True or False, the Hawks are interested in adding Jason Hart to …

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Another Joe, another Smith?

Foes a year ago, Josh (left) and Joe Smith (no relation) will team up on the Hawks' frontline this season.

Foes a year ago, Josh (left) and Joe Smith (no relation) will team up on the Hawks' suddenly improved frontline this season.

HAWKSVILLE - There’s room in the Hawks’ locker room for another Joe. And certainly enough room for another Smith.

And if the early reports are true, ESPN’s Ric Bucher reported it first Friday afternoon, veteran power forward Joe Smith will indeed be joining the clan in the ‘ville on a one-year deal, possibly as early as this week.

The Hawks aren’t confirming or denying anything, per their policy on all free agent matters this summer. Sources indicate that Smith has indeed agreed to join the team but that no deal has been finalized yet and nothing has been signed. But it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that barring a last-minute catastrophe, this deal is going to get done.

It’s the answer to many questions for the Hawks up front. Smith is the veteran, spot up shooter, rebounder, locker room leader and wise voice for youngsters Josh Smith and Al …

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The gang’s all here!

With the starting five (plus a few more) back and under contract for the foreseeable future, the Hawks have at least given themselves a fighting chance to compete with the big boys.

With the starting five (plus a few more) back and under contract for the foreseeable future, the Hawks have at least given themselves a fighting chance to compete with the big boys (photo courtesy of my main man and former AJC photographer Pouya Dianat).

HAWKSVILLE - If continuity means anything in the NBA these days, the Hawks have done right by their own this summer.

Marvin Williams touched on it last week during a conversation we had the day before he signed his new contract, and again this afternoon in a teleconference with the media to discuss his new deal. A day after my initial talk with Williams, Al Horford and I discussed continuity briefly while he took a break from his work with the Basketball Without Borders program.

Dating back to last summer and extending all the way through training camp this year, the Hawks (if they can come to terms with captain and All-Star Joe Johnson on an extension) will have spent millions to keep their core in place for the foreseeable …

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A closer look

The Hawks' pursuit of veteran big man Joe Smith will not end until he signs with them ... or someone else.

The Hawks' pursuit of veteran big man Joe Smith (left) won't end until he signs with them … or someone else.

HAWKSVILLE - We’re going to start today’s journey with the answer to the most asked questions surrounding the Hawks these days.

Until you read, see or hear of veteran power forward Joe Smith signing elsewhere, the Hawks still have a shot at landing the free agent big man.

That’s truly the best (and only real) hope available on that front. 

I certainly think it helps the Hawks’ cause that they’ve already completed negotiations and come terms with all of their in-house free agents, in case you missed it Marvin Williams was the latest late last week. Because now they can focus all of their attention on filling out the frontcourt rotation with the necessary extra bodies needed as they head into training camp.

As I detailed Sunday, the Hawks plan to take a closer look at several big men over the next few weeks to see who might fit best. It’s a wise move, what with the …

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Extension talks for Joe

Joe Johnson in a Hawks uniform for a few more years sounds pretty good to most folks. The Hawks are talking to Johnson's camp about an extension.

HAWKSVILLE - Might the Hawks be interested in keeping captain and All-Star Joe Johnson off of the robust free agent market of 2010?

It seems so.

Multiple sources have confirmed that Hawks general manager Rick Sund is on an extended trip to the left coast, and part of his itinerary includes time in Los Angeles for face-to-face talks about a contract extension with Johnson’s camp (I mentioned this on Twitter late last night after hearing for sure that this was going on). A three-time All-Star, Johnson is heading into the final year of the five-year, $70 million deal he signed in August 2005 (which if traced back, you will realize was the rebirth of the franchise that has since made the playoffs in back-to-back years).

With superstars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh headlining next summer’s free agent crop, several teams are …

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Hawks ready for prime time?

Philips Arena better get ready for a few close ups this season now that the Hawks are scheduled for seven nationally televised games this season.

Philips Arena better get ready for a few close ups this season now that the Hawks are scheduled for seven nationally televised games this season.

HAWKSVILLE - Mike Woodson has been asking for it since he got here.

He’s was selling the Hawks as a potential prime-time player when they were stuck in the mud of a 26-win season. “Win,” the sixth-year Hawks coach would say often, “and everything else takes care of itself.”

Everything else seems to be falling into place these days. And that includes the Hawks’ position as true “prime-time players” during the 2009-10 season (the schedule was released this afternoon). The Hawks will be on one of the league’s network broadcasts a whopping seven times this season (matching their combined total from the previous 11 years). Six times they’ll play on ESPN and once on TNT.

After going without a single nationally televised regular-season game during his first four seasons at the helm, Woodson’s Hawks clawed out two appearances last season, …

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Once again it’s on!

Josh Smith (left) and Al Horford need some help in the Hawks' frontcourt, and they need it now.

Josh Smith (left), Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia (not pictured) need some help in the Hawks' frontcourt, now not later. The Help Wanted sign has been up for months.

HAWKSVILLE - You disappear for 10 days (or at least try), and you expect things to change a little bit.

And they did, in many places.

Lamar Odom finally rejoined the Los Angeles Lakers, making them the odds on favorite to defend their title with both he and Ron Artest in the mix with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

Tyson Chandler (Charlotte) and Emeka Okafor (New Orleans) traded places, each giving their new teams an interesting jolt as well as some financial flexibility (now for the luxury tax-strapped Hornets and in two years for the on-the-market Bobcats). It’s hard to tell who made out better, though pundits from both cities – John DeShazier in the Big Easy and Scott Fowler in Charlotte – are claiming victory, proof that there bi-partisan punditry extends all the way to the NBA.

Hakim Warrick was tossed aside by …

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