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 Horford (in particular) the Hawks have been looking for. His addition will give the Hawks a solid two-deep depth chart up and down the lineup, leaving three to four roster spots up for grabs for the likes of Randolph Morris, Garret Siler, Othello Hunter and whoever else shows for training camp.

Josh Smith, Horford and Zaza Pachulia will be happiest about the elder Smith joining the fray. They need the assistance, on every front. They were without a veteran assist last season, a deficiency that was magnified during the playoffs against Joe Smith’s old team (Cleveland), which disposed of the Hawks in four games in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

A versatile 6-10, 225-pounder, Smith plays bigger than his listed size. He always has, dating back to his days at Maryland, when he dominated the competition on his way to becoming the No. 1 pick in the 1995 NBA draft. This is yet another summertime coup for the Hawks, who have bargained shopped their way back to the fourth spot on the Eastern Conference food chain behind Cleveland, Boston and Orlando (last year’s order but not necessarily the pecking order for this season). Seriously, for all the cash spent in other places, the Hawks used a prudent, cost-conscious approach to bring back the core of a 47-win team, while also adding two key veterans in Smith (pending the completion of his deal) and Jamal Crawford, not to mention promising rookie in point guard Jeff Teague.

Joe Smith isn’t an acquisition on the level of Rasheed Wallace (Boston), Shaquille O’Neal (Cleveland), Vince Carter (Orlando) or even Hedo Turkoglu (Toronto) for that matter. But he’s exactly what the Hawks needed at a position of critical importance. He’s also a fantastic insurance policy at an even better price, should injuries to Smith, Horford or even Marvin Williams become a factor the way they did last season, when all three of the Hawks’ young frontcourt studs missed considerable time last season with injuries.

So with basically all the heavy lifting done now, how do you rate the Hawks’ summer to this point? Good, bad or something else?

519 comments Add your comment

Mystikal

August 18th, 2009
11:31 pm

Im thinking if we do sign another big man, we should try to trade Randmo for a 2nd rd pick, cash, pizza coupon, or whatever we can get for him rather than have sit on the bench again. We just got Siler, so he is getting a chance to prove what he can do. Randmo hasn’t done anything since he’s been in the league. And if in 5 yrs he hasn’t even earned the chance to get on the floor, maybe he just doesn’t deserve to be in the league.

KevinA

August 18th, 2009
11:34 pm

I will not say Crawford is better than Flip. I will not say Flip is better than Crawford. I will say that Flip and ZaZa came into the game down double didgets and brought the hawks back into the game many times.. Crawford seems to excel in the 4th qt. This is where he posts his best numbers. 2nd and trd qt results? Bench him.

Mystikal

August 18th, 2009
11:36 pm

Flip should buy some real estate in Atlanta. Even though he won’t play here again, he has so many supporters. He can open a store and sell his “What about Flip?” T-shirts. This site would keep in busines til November comes and they forget about him.

Big Ray

August 18th, 2009
11:38 pm

KevinA,

Yes, Flip shot better than the other guards. What does that mean, exactly? He shot better than JJ. You want him instead of JJ? He shot better than Bibby. You want him instead of Bibby? He shot better than Mo. Fine, but you can play Mo at the SF spot (where we used him nearly all season), but you can’t play Flip there, so what’s your point? Crawford shot worse than Flip did last year, and he also played more minutes.

This argument is getting so old. Of all the teams that both Crawford and Flip have played for, ask yourself this question: why has Crawford always played more minutes, scored more points, and been a starter far more often?

Unless he gets traded, he will be in a Hawks uniform for the next two seasons. Flip won’t. I’m not throwing Flip out, but the guy is a journeyman sub for a reason. I loved what he did for us last year. Properly used, Crawford will do even more.

You’d think we’d be happy about this…

Mystikal

August 18th, 2009
11:42 pm

KevinA

August 18th, 2009
11:45 pm

Ariose,
you may think I am on drugs but I was a Chills fan first. I think he would be the perfect replacement for Crawford, Evans and Flip. He would sign for 6 mil I am sure. That saves 6-7 million next year. Having Flip for 1 year gives Sund the flex to look for a Crawford deal this year. If Crawford proves to be an excellent fit and we have not yet signed JJ, that provides some cover.

Once again I am not so much a Crawford distracter but a 9 million opportunist thinker.

JJ and Al contracts? It could all happen next year and maybe part of the moves this year.

Big Ray

August 18th, 2009
11:49 pm

Evans couldn’t handle the ball like Chills used to. Evans doesn’t give you key offensive rebounds like Chills used to. Evans lacks Chills’ length on defense. Evans looks out of place at the 3. But….he’s a pro and we could always do worse in a pinch. Ariose is right, we need somebody with more length at that spot. Don’t know who fits the bill (pun intended).

KevinA

August 18th, 2009
11:58 pm

Ray,
the Chills sign was exciting to me until it didn’t happen. The Flip vrs Crawford is exciting to me until Sund chooses a direction. If Flip made 6 million I would say your right. The idea of Flip for 2 vrs Crawford for 9 I would think raise my type of ideas. The difference is a nice piece on anybody’s team or the extra cash of resigning vets like JJ and Al. Is what I am talking about so far outside the box? I would think this is normal conversation.

Why is conversational chat about possibilities so anti normal. Is this state so red? Maybe if you want to protect Harry the hawk lol.

Big Ray

August 19th, 2009
12:00 am

KevinA,

You are straight wildin’ out. I really like Chills, but a replacement for Crawford, Evans, and Flip? That’s three serviceable players for one. What are you trying to do cut Woody’s rotation down further ? Depth, man, depth! And no way does Chill give you what all three guys give you. No way. Love him, but NO WAY.

Ariose

August 19th, 2009
12:04 am

Ray, I agree. And by mo’s playmaking, I meant his handle.

Guys, I’ve said before that I think Crawford is better than Flip Murray(offensively). What worries me, is if he’s better for our team. I also have other concernes that I’ve noted on many occasions. I’m just ready to see the product. One thing is for sure, On paprer, this is the best/most talened roster we’ve had in a long long time. We’re not even done yet. Add guys like Siler, Carney, Gerald Green, and/or Korolev and we’re really serious then.

Big Ray

August 19th, 2009
12:05 am

KevinA,

I didn’t say any of this was abnormal (though you were the one who mentioned drugs, lol). There is a reason why nobody is paying Flip $6 mil, yet Crawford makes close to $10 mil. And I don’t know why Flip’s name keeps getting brought up in these talks, because we didn’t trade Crawford for him. We traded Acie and Speedy, who, together were making roughly $1 mil less than Crawford. Yet between the two of them, they couldn’t play enough games to come close to the production Crawford is capable of giving us. Take a poll and see how many people wish we could reverse that trade and go into the season with those two guys instead of Crawford.

Flip is a casualty of that deal, and of the drafting of Teague. Saving money is great. Insurance is never cheap. It’s that simple.

KevinA

August 19th, 2009
12:08 am

Ray I could be wrong but if Crawford is to get meaningful minutes he will have to out duel Bibby. Neither plays good defense so just guessing, Bibby will get the nod, being Crawford is the new guy. If Teague is a total wash this year things may take care of themselves. If Teague gets off to a hot start we may have chemistry problems right off the bat.It is all conjecture at this point. I know Woody will not like poor defense. I know Bibby will get more slack because of being a Woody fav. I don’t know, you tell me.

Ariose

August 19th, 2009
12:08 am

KevinA, I gotta go with Ray on that one lol.

Crawford > Chills by himself lol. Mo and Chills are a wash, and Flip Vs. Chills could go either way. All three though? No way, bye bye Chills, have fun in Greece hehehe…

Ariose

August 19th, 2009
12:10 am

Not Sure if Crawford is a better fit, but there is one thing i’m darn sure of:

Teauge > Flip Murray

Book it.

Big Ray

August 19th, 2009
12:11 am

Ariose,

He is better, but this is a tired side argument. The good thing is that Flip knows this is a business. But for the combination of the drafting of Teague and the trade for Crawford, there is no doubt in my mind Flip would still be a Hawk, and not just for another year. But he’s a pro’s pro, and he understands this. He’s been playing for a job for years. He’ll collect a cool million or two elsewhere, and keep living his life. And I’ll be happy for him. I’d feel bad about it if we were making a run for a championship (because it would be like he’s being cut out of that), but we’re not.

As for Crawford, notice that I always talk about what the man can give us, not what he WILL give us. You are never more right than when you mention chemistry, and the need to see the product on the floor. I’m anxious as well, but I think things will work out fine. But until he does deeds in a Hawks uniform, he can neither be condemned nor extolled.

KevinA

August 19th, 2009
12:28 am

Ray,

The deal with Acie and Speedy is over. Sund did great. At some point it would be nice to move beyond that. It is a win/win/win. As a Hawk fan we need to think, what is next. What is possible. Is there anyone on the team that is more overpaid other than Crawford?

Another player that might help out our money situation in a down economy and shrinking budgets?

You responded with great comments on an earlier post. Crawford being a cover till JJ resigns, 2 mil for a redundant guard that won’t play, Teague getting his minutes cut, needing time till we work all of this out.

My point is resigning Flip for one year at two mil (If that is possible) makes good sense.
Just in case Teague ends up like Acie, Crawford is a bad fit.

Like some others I still think we need a defensive/pass first PG to fill Bibby replacement minutes. Maybe a better player than Evans for Marvin’s replacement minutes. And of course the elusive upgrade of ZaZa for a true banger.

Then there is the money crunch for a Al/JJ resign. All roads run through Crawford.

Ariose

August 19th, 2009
12:36 am

Ray, Amen

Flip will he alright. Hopefully he finds the Ideal situation for his services. Miami or Philly look to be the frontrunners. It’s unfortunate, but he knows the score. Besides, like many here have said, he wouldn’t want to just play scrub minutes here anyway.

Crawford is a Smart guy, I beleive he will mesh well. I’m worried, yes. But I have confidence that he will excel here in Atlanta.

I think Teauge could push for ROY if he avgs 18mpg…..seriously! Obviously it’s Blake Griffin’s award though….

KevinA

August 19th, 2009
12:38 am

My point was is that Chills can play the 1,2,3 spots. I have heard the gripe about Marvin at the three. You want to put Crawford there? With Bibby at point? Are you aware that Crawford has no history of defense?
Going forward, once again I have no problem with Crawford. Compared to our other players he seems the most venerable to trade talks for any kind of upgrade or $ savings.

Unless he plays awesome, given a decent chance, these types of moves would happen more towards the trade deadline or next off season.

KevinA

August 19th, 2009
12:43 am

Aroise,

This is why we have blogs. Chills>Crawford. For less money Chills/Flip> Crawford next year. You wanted that bigger bench – right?

KevinA

August 19th, 2009
12:45 am

Aroise,

If Teague plays those kind of minutes Crawford is cut to 13 min. Worth 9 mill?

Mystikal

August 19th, 2009
1:05 am

OMG, Flip Murray is on Orlando’s radar along with Jason Williams
~Hooshype

Mystikal

August 19th, 2009
1:11 am

Ariose

August 19th, 2009
1:15 am

KevinA, I doubt it, More than likely Mo’s minutes will be cut into. So will JJ’s. 40mpg Averge for 6+ years? Thats not healthy at all, we gotta get that man some rest. Crawford should still get what Flip was geting 25-30Mpg.

As far a Chills is concerned. He wanted 7-10 mill himself, and he’s NOT woth it. Flip and Mo proved that last season. If he was worth that much, Sund would have signed him in the past two offseasons. Chills did not want to come back here for what Sund was offering(whatever that was) so he left. That was his choice. But Chills is all about the $$ and i’d rather give 7-10 Mill to Crawford that Childress any day.

hawks_4_life

August 19th, 2009
1:21 am

vava74

August 19th, 2009
3:11 am

I think Aschburner can take it up his A$$!

Our lack of past success make it is so easy to criticise the Hawks and put little hope in our improvement.

No one puts their names on the line previewing a Hawks good year but we have proved them wrong several times when we reached the playoffs when we were marked as lottery bound and last year when they predicted that we would not reach the playoffs again.

We have a very good year with several key injuries.

JJ had a poor showing in playoffs because he was playing injured (Sekou already mentioned here several times that the ankle injury mid way the season was not fully healed) and the whole starting five was not there (Marvin was, for all due purposes, OUT) and the Al went down as well.

Further to this, we got atrocious bad calls against us: just remeber the first game against the Cavs, Lebron got away with everything he wanted and J-Smoove got several quick fouls out of nowhere that completely killed us.

I am sick and tired of coward “journalists” and pessimist fans. To everyone who has a chance (I don’t since I live in Europe), get your butts in the Phillips Arena a pull for these guys AND for Woody.

They have improved every single year and there is no reason for us to think that this will not happen again.

We are still a disfunctional team but we have shown flashes of brilliancy as well. Just keep cool and things will happen.

Big Ray

August 19th, 2009
6:03 am

No…..Teague playing 18mpg won’t cut Crawford to 13mpg. Why….oh, I give up.

Hoops

August 19th, 2009
8:05 am

Maybe this thought will stop the Flip talk:

THE HAWKS ALLOWED FLIP TO WALK FOR CRAWFORD! CRAWFORD can do all things that Flip could do, even better!

Now, let’s move on.

Sautee

August 19th, 2009
8:17 am

KevinA,

About this: “The deal with Acie and Speedy is over. Sund did great. At some point it would be nice to move beyond that.”

Were you TRYING for irony?

Most of the rest of the blog was beyond this in July, LOL. ;-)

Doug

August 19th, 2009
8:29 am

Yahoo: Like I have said and which you refuse to respond to …your savior is unemployed…none of 30 teams have sought out his services…and when they do he will be paid mid-level or worse. The market has established his value. You, obviously think that all 30 GM’s …like me…”hate” him because he is from Shaw College…and you refer to ANYONE else as “dummy”!!!!

Clyde

August 19th, 2009
8:33 am

The Hawks would not have gotten the 4 seed without Flip. He was clearly our best player of the bench last year. The question is will Crawford stay healthy. Flip played in 80 games last year Crawford played in 65.

Khao$

August 19th, 2009
9:23 am

Man, when will this Joe Smith thing become official? It seems like it takes forever to get guys to the signing table with the Hawks.

Daniel

August 19th, 2009
9:25 am

Khao$- I was wondering the same thing. Now, in truth the rest of the signings this off season have moved very quickly. But, I keep hearing its done, then its not official, then its done, and so on…
If the reports are true that it is just a one year vet min. What is there to negotiate?

Khao$

August 19th, 2009
10:16 am

^^That’s my point. To me, it just seems it takes a while for our contracts to be finalized (although media outlets suggests terms have been agreed on). It was that way with Bibby, Marvin and Zaza. They eventually do get done; that’s the good part. However, in a town where the Furcal/Griffey and the Belkin/Joe Johnson things took place, you can’t help but be a bit cynical.

Doug

August 19th, 2009
10:21 am

Clyed: You are right on both counts…Hawks would not have gotten 4 seed w/o Flip last year and he was their best bench player. As to # of games played…in the previous four seasons Flip averaged 59 games played…so who knows what next year will bring….but if you can find one GM that would rather go to war with Law-Murray than Teague-Crawford…well they will soon be unemployed!!!

doc

August 19th, 2009
10:59 am

Anakin Joe

August 19th, 2009
11:02 am

Yeah, I’m beginning to worry about the Joe Smith deal too. If it is truly one year for the vet’s minimum, what else is there to discuss? His jersey number?

Anakin Joe

August 19th, 2009
11:04 am

Just looking at the link name, doc, I think this is one of those “wait until I’m at home” links. WTF, are you trying to get me sent to HR jail? That’s :twisted: :D

Daniel

August 19th, 2009
11:17 am

Anakin Joe- I think that is a very fair question. Hey, Sekou! What’s up?

gwite

August 19th, 2009
11:58 am

Joe is probably reexamining his motivations for for choosing Atlanta over Cleveland. Maybe a nerve was struck by the article suggesting that would be proof that he was the ultimate first draft pick bust, and a loser who didn’t even want to win.

doc

August 19th, 2009
12:22 pm

no man aj, i wouldnt do that to you. it is just simply brit reading the top ten for letterman. dont expect content though except for pie for everyone when she becomes president. not sure what kind of pie. heh heh

JerryWest

August 19th, 2009
12:35 pm

We could use a big defensive minded point guard who could guard a shooting guard. Some Knicks fans including their previous coach Isiah Thomas think that Crawford can play good offense/defense as point guard, but gets overpowered while defending big shooting guards. We don’t want Bibby/Crawford as 1-2 on the court. Wade could score 100 on that due if JJ is out.

Chillz/JC backcourt would have worked well. JC’s great ball handling ability would help Mo stay on the court, but Bibby+JC+Mo 1-2-3 is just scary small. It should be obvious to Sund by now that Mo doesn’t fit in to this team anymore. Could we buy Mo out next year?

doc

August 19th, 2009
12:44 pm

gee jerry, i thought we already had that in jj if need be. i mean how much bigger do you need or are you suggesting jj isnt that good a defender? if so beware the wrath of nire!

jerry, durn you are going to get me on my chills high horse here soon if you keep that up. he would have still fit this roster, too, or allowed us to move marvin for something else is my guess. there rod i said it now you can like me and agree with me like you do ray now.

Daniel

August 19th, 2009
1:01 pm

jerry west- I don’t disagree with your assesment, but NEVER use Isiah Thomas’s personell assesments to back up your arguments.

Hoops

August 19th, 2009
1:11 pm

The Hawks are 6.9M under the L. tax before Joe Smith signs for the Vet. Min. @ 1.3M. When Joe signs that gives the Hawks 5.6M to use on the last 2-4 positions. I figure they will sign the other 2-4 players during training camp. I see the Hawks inviting West, Siler, Hunter, & Korolev to camp along with some other hopefuls. They may invite Jason Hart as well.
What other players do you see the Hawks inviting to camp?

Melvin

August 19th, 2009
1:11 pm

Daniel

August 19th, 2009
1:32 pm

thanks for the link Melvin. Nice to see joe get some recognition.
Hoops are you counting Randolph Morris?
Probably invite Gardner, also.
They clearly won’t use that whole 5.6 mil on the last guys on the bench, which is nice to have some flexibility to take on salary if a good trade presents itself during the season.
I like Korolev to make the team, as many have mentioned we could use another long SF type on the bench who can shoot.
I seriously doubt Siler makes the team, probably gets a d-league contract.
Hunter/West/Hart(other pg) will be scrapping for one spot between them.
Morris is the monkey in this whole bench works. More specifically his 800,000 contract. Were it not for that contract, he probably doesn’t even get invited to camp. Do the Hawks keep him because of the money? Do they just eat it? Do they get some team to pick up his contract for a bowl of chips. If Sund gets someone to take Morris off our hands and gets something in return, even just cash considerations, he would be a miracle worker.

RMan

August 19th, 2009
1:33 pm

Sure is quiet here…..

Big Ray

August 19th, 2009
1:42 pm

Snzzzzzz…..

Daniel

August 19th, 2009
1:44 pm

yeah, not a lot to talk about. just waiting on Joe Smith to sign on the dotted line.

Ken Strickland

August 19th, 2009
2:17 pm

I’m confused, really confused. There have been constant complaints by some of our fans about the Hawks seeming unwillingness to spend the money to get the FA’s we need. Yet, some of the same complainers have complained about the amount of money the team is paying Crawford, the contract MWilliams signed, or the possible numbers that might be offered to JJohnson. WHERE’S THE LOGIC?