Archive for September, 2009

Did Johnson makes the right call?

Did Joe Johnson make the right call on not signing a contract extension with the Hawks? Time will tell. But you can bet the topic will be debated daily until the end of this Hawks season, when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

Did Joe Johnson make the right call on not signing a contract extension with the Hawks? Time will tell. But you can bet the topic will be debated daily until the end of this Hawks season, when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

HAWKSVILLE – Much has been and will be made about Joe Johnson’s decision to bypass signing an extension with the Hawks and become a free agent at the end of this NBA season.

And rightfully so.

In the minds of us common folk, the idea of staring down $60-plus million more dollars seems laughable in these harsh economic times. But Johnson is not one of us (common folk), and there are at least $70 million reasons for that. He also has something professional athletes have maybe once or twice, if they are lucky, in their entire careers — LEVERAGE.

By playing out the final year of his deal he’ll become a free agent in the summer of 2010, joining guys like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in a deep free agent class that has as many as a dozen …

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All smiles at Hawks media day

Joe Johnson, Josh Smith and Mike Bibby are all smiles at Hawks media day Monday. The real work at training camp kicked off Tuesday morning.

Joe Johnson, Josh Smith and Mike Bibby are all smiles at Hawks media day Monday. The real work at training camp kicked off Tuesday morning.

HAWKSVILLE – You’ve never seen so many smiling faces the day before training camp.

It wasn’t just the players. It was the coaches, the front office brass and even a good portion of the assembled media.

You’ve never seen so many smiling faces on the eve of a camp, at least not recently. And these weren’t forced smiles. These were the genuine kind, the ones you see on faces of teams bound for the playoffs.

It’s strange, in a good way, the effect winning has on people.

“On paper we looked good,” Hawks captain and All-Star Joe Johnson said from a corner of the practice court Monday afternoon. “We look real good on paper, so that’s why you see so many smiles around here right now. We’re excited about what this season holds. But the real work starts (in the morning). When the sweat hits the floor, that’s when you know what you’ve really …

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Flip’s gone, time for camp

 

 

Flip Murray and Mike Woodson had a great year together, but that's history now. Murray has moved on to Charlotte and the Hawks are on the eve of training camp with a different mix of players.

Flip Murray and Mike Woodson had a great year together, but that's history now. Murray has moved on to Charlotte and the Hawks are on the eve of training camp with a different mix of players.

 

HAWKSVILLE – One last time, Flip Murray is gone.

It’s over. And it’s official.

Take one last good look at him in his Hawks uniform (above next to Hawks coach Mike Woodson) and then move on.

Charlotte’s gain is the Hawks’ loss, until you scan the recently released training camp roster and realize that guys that the man replacing Flip as the Hawks’ third guard is a player that by any measure is a far better player. Whether or not he’s a better fit on this team remains to be seen. But anyone making the argument for Flip over Jamal Crawford needs to clean the lenses on their BlueBlockers.

And don’t get me wrong, I think was extremely valuable to the Hawks’ cause last season. He was a great fit at the perfect time for a team that desperately needed a tough guy with a no-nonsense …

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Crawford makes a great first impression

 

 

Hawks fans are going to get a full dose of Jamal Crawford this season and it should be an exciting show.

Hawks fans are going to get a full dose of Jamal Crawford this season and if first impressions count for anything, it should be an exciting show.

HAWKSVILLE – From the minute Jamal Crawford hit the door Monday all eyes were on the Hawks’ newest addition (well, so to speak).

And he didn’t disappoint, not that anything he could have done would have disappointed the crowd of players, many of them his new teammates, hoping to get a glimpse of him in Hawks’ practice duds.

“They’re going to be (expletive) good this year,” said a visiting pro from another NBA team. “You throw JC and Joe Smith and this kid [Jeff] Teague, and they’ve got some wrinkles now that they didn’t have last season. They were already a dangerous team and now they’re really dangerous. And knowing these fans down here and what they like, they’re going to love the style this team can play. They’re going to love JC.”

Crawford loves the idea of what this Hawks team could be. He was all smiles after playing a …

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Josh Smith’s fingers are fine

 

Josh Smith's left hand will be healed in time for the start of training camp Sept. 29. The Hawks forward needed seven stitches to close a gash on his hand after jamming it on the rim during a pickup game Tuesday.

Josh Smith's left hand will be healed in time for the start of training camp Sept. 29. The Hawks forward needed seven stitches to close a gash on his hand after jamming it on the rim during a pickup game Tuesday.

HAWKSVILLE – Hawks forward Josh Smith needed seven stitches to close a gash on his left hand between his index and middle fingers.

He suffered the injury on the Hawks’ practice court Tuesday while playing in a pickup game with several of his Hawks teammates and other pros in town working out in anticipation of training camp. Smith said he’ll be fine for the start of training camp Sept. 29, but he’ll spend the days leading up to that with his left hand heavily wrapped.

“It was a nasty gash,” Smith said Wednesday. “It was bad. I could see all the way through there. It was split open, like somebody took some scissors and just cut it right open. But it looked a lot worse than it really is. I’ve got to keep it wrapped up for the next 10 days and then I’m good to …

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Summer break Horford style

Al Horford (right) is eager to get things started for the Hawks this season. He's already in town and working out in preparation for training camp, which begins Sept. 29.

Al Horford (right) is eager to get things started for the Hawks this season. He's already in town and working out in preparation for training camp, which kicks off Sept. 29.

HAWKSVILLE – In the pantheon of awards Al Horford has won during his basketball career, being named Monday’s MVP of the John “Beans” Beckett Invitational probably doesn’t rank anywhere near the top (some people are into NCAA titles and stuff like that I guess).

But that didn’t stop the Hawks third-year center from celebrating a little bit after receiving the word of the honor as the crowd left the floor at the Hawks’ practice court.

“Yes,” Horford shouted in between laughter as he pumped his fist into the air on his way to the locker room. “Being 4-1 on my first day back is what matters to me.”

Jokes aside, and there were plenty of them delivered on and off the floor Monday, Horford’s glad to be back. His summer has been filled with work-related travel and activity, a summer break that probably felt more …

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When players are made

Hawks rookie point guard Jeff Teague is turning heads already, and training camp doesn't start for three weeks.

Hawks rookie point guard Jeff Teague is turning heads already, and training camp doesn't start for three weeks.

HAWKSVILLE - First impressions amongst your peers in the NBA can go a long way.

For Hawks rookie point guard Jeff Teague, the buzz traveled from an impressive mini-camp in late July all the way through Labor Day and until now.

And it’s not just his Hawks teammates that have noticed. His point guard peers around the league, at least the veterans that have been on the floor with him this summer (and mainly in the past week or so at the Hawks’ practice facility), have noticed. And they see plenty that they like about the former Wake Forest star.

“The one thing that sticks out to me is that he makes shots,” said former Hawks point guard Anthony Johnson, who plays in Orlando these days but still calls Atlanta home in the offseason. “That’s going to go a long way here in the system he’ll be in and really in his career. If you’re a guy that can get shots, that can make …

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That time of year

It's that time of year again for the Hawks. Training camp is just weeks away and Mike Woodson and his team are in the crosshairs right now.

It's that time of year again for the Mike Woodson and his Hawks. Training camp is just weeks away and the coach and his team are in the crosshairs.

HAWKSVILLE - For those of us pro basketball loyalists, we always know when it’s time to readjust the schedule to get ready for the NBA season.

Labor Day is my reminder.

I know that in the days immediately following the holiday players will start trickling back into town and showing up for voluntary workouts (go ahead and get your jokes about my Wolverines out of the way now so we can move on to basketball matters) on the track and at the Hawks’ practice facility.

It’s as much as a part of my late summer/fall routine as watching football on the weekend. So I’ll be making my way downtown all week to see who shows up and what kind of work they’re doing in anticipation of the start of training camp, which believe it or not is just roughly three weeks away.

The prognosticators already have an idea of what things will look like once …

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