Pondering the fourth quarter and a three-game slide

Greetings, all-

Hope you are well. Four things for you to hopefully ruminate over.

1. After I finished the story I wrote for Sunday’s paper about the Hawks’ fourth-quarter woes, It occurred to me, perhaps some of you have already noted this, that the Hawks haven’t won a close game since beating Dallas, Dec. 5, 13 games ago. After that, they either won by blowout (seven games) or lost close (four games) or lost to Denver by 20 (a game that could have been close, but it wasn’t going to happen).

Perhaps the multiple blowouts cost the Hawks some of their late-game sharpness?

2. The Boston Globe checked in with the Hawks, which had one interesting nugget. Citing an NBA source, the story said Joe Johnson approached the Hawks about an extension last summer, “but was told that since his salary cap number is higher than his actual salary, he would be best served to wait until unrestricted free agency and re-sign.”

As best I understand it, if that were true, it’s kind of a different spin on what happened over the summer. Sekou reported that Johnson decided to not sign an extension and play out his last year. The two versions could both be true – the Hawks told him it would be in his interest to wait, and Johnson decided to do that.

However, it would fly in the face of the rhetoric I’ve heard about Johnson’s decision – none of which, I should say, I’ve heard directly from Johnson – that he wants to play out the year to see what direction the team is going, and if he’s not satisfied, he’ll bolt. If he went to the team about an extension, that would obviously be an indication that his first choice would be to stay.

3. About the Hawks’ three-game losing streak, and the furor it has stirred up with some of those on the blog. If the Hawks had somehow managed to get out of Cleveland with a win (Anderson Varejao doesn’t make the 3-pointer, the Hawks score on the other end) and not paid for Nate Robinson’s fury (all it would have taken would have been one more point from anyone), they would be on a two-game winning streak and their record would be 23-9, a half-game behind Orlando.

Obviously, they’re not, and the Hawks would have the same fourth-quarter problems they’ve been having just without having paid the price for it.

But my guess is, but for a pretty lucky 3-pointer in one game and a single point in another – you probably feel a whole lot differently about the team right now. You could argue that more went into those two games than that, and your problem is more than just the two losses, but how they happened. And you’d be right. But I’m just saying that if the Hawks had managed to pull those games out, and all it would have taken would have been one play more in each game, you (and I) would be looking at this team differently than we probably do.

4. An interesting take from Peachtree Hoops about Mike Woodson and Johnson.

If you were Woody and your team is off to the best start in decades, they have won with one strategy, and your job literally depends on it, who are you going to give the ball to? I know Al Horford and Josh are the in vogue choice on the blogosphere and the talk radio, but is that because our job does not depend on it?

5. My story today about Jason Collins.

501 comments Add your comment

JeJe

January 4th, 2010
10:58 am

Great. Let’s be unclear about the salary cap for Joe so he can bolt us for New Jersey this summer.

Good job, ASG! Maybe you can delay giving Randolph Morris his 2 yr $50,000 extension too since that number is so ungodly high when it comes to the NBA

Coach D

January 4th, 2010
11:00 am

JeJe

January 4th, 2010
11:01 am

And that Varejao 3 was not “pretty lucky.” I think 99.9999% of the Hawks fans watching the game knew that shot was going in. Just like the Ilgauskas 3 the night before. Unknown/role players have career games and hit clutch shots against us…Nothing new

Astro Joe

January 4th, 2010
11:07 am

Sund has stated before that he likes to have players on a one-year contract… it keeps them focused and often results in a highly successful season. I bring that up because the adviae to Joe may have been in Joe’s best interest but how would uit benefit the Hawks? If they thought that a motivated Joe would be better than a “relaxed” Joe, then that is the answer. And Sund is on record as saying that a one-year deal is often advantageous.

Hawks need a good showing tonight. And I do think that the blowouts from a few weeks ago hurt our late game execution. Last season, the Hawks were pretty good in late/close games (as I recall). But Woody has also screwed up by going to the 4-corner offense much too early in the 4th quarter.

rms

January 4th, 2010
11:08 am

The Flash

January 4th, 2010
11:25 am

Watching yesterday, two things down the close jumped out. First, the Hawks were content to go to JJ consistently. Put it in his hands and let him create. When he could for himself, wonderful results. However, when the defense managed to force it out of his hands, twice in the last few minutes the Hawks ended up with the same 12 foot shot the first from the right baseline the second from the left by Josh. Josh went one for two. Clutch for him, but not the shot that you want.

I think that there is more than enough scoring/shooting talent on this team to run an offense down the stretch that does not seek to ride JJ’s shoulders. I think that running regular offense tires defenders both physically and mentally and gets the synergy of the team going at a high level which translates on the other end. In short, as good as JJ is, I think it a misstake to put the game in his hands down the stretch as if this team had no other options.

ILL-logical

January 4th, 2010
11:25 am

The long and short of it is that Hawks fans are spoiled. Maybe because of the lack of success that Atlanta’s other pro franchises have exhibited or maybe the great starts that the Hawks have enjoyed the last few seasons where they flirt with greatness until the rest of the league adjusts to the team’s approach.

For whatever reason, the angst runs deep here and the inevitable losing streaks just makes things worse. But there are some serious issues looming for the franchise:
1. The ownership group has stabilized its infighting but the financial picture is still far from bright.( Thanks to the Hawks staffer who offered the data showing the revenue growth )
2. Woodson’s coaching philosophy/ approach/ methodology is NOT going to bring a championship to the Hawks’ franchise. While it is clearly unrealistic to expect a championship this season with the current staff and roster, the future is fast approaching and the Hawks are no longer the youngest and most talented team in the NBA. Check out the Grizzlies and the Thunder, they are now the teams on the rise.

The Hawks need a coach who can develop Josh into Gerald Wallace instead of trying to make him Rasheed Wallace and who can develop Al into a Chris Bosh type of player. With limited ability to attract the requisite super star, player development is the only hope the organization has but the team must have a coach who not only develops players but builds his system around what the players do best not force them into a style that limits their growth and development.

3. Joe is probably gone and we will get nothing but memories from his tenure. The pieces that the current roster needs-a young, athletic , defensive minded rebounding machine of a center and a pentrating point gurd who can actually defend his position- are not avaiable via a trade for Joe because everyone knows he is walking and they can get him on a long term basis if they wait.

So maybe the moaning and groaning is a bit premature but it is not like it isn’t warrented in the long run.

GeeMack

January 4th, 2010
11:27 am

Great Stuff Ken.

The JJ contract. I’m with Joe play it out. If the Hawks are serious about competing for a champioship re-sign if not bounce. Joe is at a stage in his career where his next contract is his last big one. If you can with another elite player on a champioship caliber team thats what you go after.

Concernign the losing streak the Hawks picked the wrong time to start losing concentration in the 4th quarter with MIA, Bos & Orl. on the menu this week. The streak could easily reach six straight or 6 out of 7 losses. Plus Bos is reeling and we missed prime oppurtunities to gain some ground and get in 1st place.

These losses are mounting and the Hawks are 100% healthy.

JeJe

January 4th, 2010
11:36 am

“Sund has stated before that he likes to have players on a one-year contract”

Why does it matter what he states? He has accomplished nothing in the last 20 years. His teams haven’t made the Conference Finals since 1987

MannyT

January 4th, 2010
11:40 am

There is a lot to be said for not having that close game sharpness. I think the January schedule will toughen them up. Hopefully with more wins than losses.

It will be very tricky to improve this team on a budget. Joe’s cap number won’t change much in the short term if he stays, but down the road, the end of that contract could cause havoc with your salary cap. Unless there are young guys with rookie contracts in the pipeline, costs go up or you get role players on a budget.

Woody & Joe are linked. Both are playing out a contract year. One of my Woody issues is how seems to struggle when he goes to the whiteboard during a timeout to create a play. If you want to ride with the guy that is fine, but you have to come up with twists and tweaks to get him the ball in a reasonable position. Most of the time it does not come out well. More than a missed shot–we get a massively bad shot, turnover, or no shot.

Bottom line–Woody has improved over the years, but he needs to be more creative to get the team to its highest level. Sund’s dilemma–will Woody figure out the tweaks to become a better coach or will he peak at the Conference Final level? If you let him walk, then you have to bring in the guy that takes you deeper into the playoffs or Woody’s pink slip is prep work for your own future firing.

Hey Ken, I missed the results–who won that 2nd 10 game contest?

BWAF

JeJe

January 4th, 2010
11:55 am

I’ve always wondered:

What does BWAF stand for?

And what does the “B” in BASG stand for?

Astro Joe

January 4th, 2010
11:58 am

JeJe, he’s the GM, who do you think is making decisions for the franchise, Randolph Morris?

Manny, I would qualify your statement to say timeouts in late/close games, as I have seen improvement in plays called during earlier parts of the game. Just recently, I saw a back-door cut for Joe that resulted in a lay-up and several easy alley-oop baskets for Josh after TOs.

Ken, you mentioned in an article a few weeks back that Crawford excels in late/close game situations yet he has been absent in at least two scenarios when the Hawks had the last shot to win the game… the Bulls road game and the Knicks game this past weekend. I’d be interested in knowing how Sund feels about Woody not utilizing a proven player in a situation where he excels (like not using Collins in the home Cavs game). Maybe the results would have been the same but wouldn’t it be better to empty the chamber in defeat?

Wink

January 4th, 2010
12:03 pm

Ken,on point one, did they lose their sharpness due to 4th quarter blowout; answer no. If aspire to be an elite team, you don’t go 9+ minutes without scoring or blow 17 & 14 point leads in the 4th quarter, a good team does not blow this type of lead in consecutive games.

The problem is they have no plan mode of attact to close out the games in the 4th. If you use Iso Joe for 3 quarters, its no surprise that a good team or COACH, will figure out how to stop it in the 4th. Like in football they have a 2 minute offense to close out a half. I can remember Hawks of old, under Mike Fratello, who had Dominique in his prime, but they ran plays for Randy Whitman to close out games in the 4th.

Point 2, Joe’s number is Joe’s number, as far as what it will take for the Hawks to resign him. What they really want is for the market to set his price, just like when Philly set Josh’s contract offer. He probably wants more than his cap price also…just my guess.

Point 3, we all would appreaciate the 2 additional wins, but the fact remains that they are having a problem closing out games, regardless of the talent of the opponent. Consequently, had we not gone scoreless for 9+ minutes and blew 17 & 14 point leads, but still loss the last 3 games we could feel better about the teams ability to compete, even though we would be in the same place we are today….questioning 4th quarter closing ability!

Point 4, Regardind the best start in years, check the stats from last year after the same amount of game, you will see we are in the very SAME place. No better no worst. However, our low post options are so much better with Josh & Al in the paint, which leads me to think maybe Woody should consider making an ADJUSTMENT to that dated strategy…we all know the definition of insanity…”continuously doing the same thing expecting a different result!!”

darrell starks

January 4th, 2010
12:03 pm

Look fourth quarter slump startes with the point guard not penetrating and if bibby is not hitting his jumpers he is useless.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!

MannyT

January 4th, 2010
12:09 pm

Astro–quite true. My statement was about exactly those situations. At the same time, if we are to be a perennial force with Woody in charge, he has to continue to develop.

JeJe–BWAF = Bald Woody, Arms Folded. It started as WAF–his most common position when coaching in the early years. Almost like he was using telepathy to give the team direction.

Once he agreed to shave his head, he added the B.

It’s more of an observation than a dig at the guy. He spends a lot of time with his arms folded. Lawrence Frank used to spend a lot of time with his hands on his hips.

BWAF

JeJe

January 4th, 2010
12:14 pm

LOL MannyT. Appreciated.

Woody’s problem is he thinks our starting lineup+Crawford is our best lineup to use vs. any team. he will use Horford on Ilgauskas since he thinks that’s our best matchup. He’ll put Bibby or Joe on Nate because he thinks that’s the best matchup, when in fact if we used Teague or had signed Mario, that would be better for us.
Anyone know what the B in BASG stands for? Lmao

O'Brien

January 4th, 2010
12:21 pm

JeJe,

The B in BASG stands for Broke

Hawksdawgs

January 4th, 2010
12:21 pm

@ Wink, I meant prior to this three game losing streak where the fourth quarter collapses happened, the Hawks were off to their best start in a while at 21-8. So going into these games, Woody could think he was in a good place.

Ken Sugiura

January 4th, 2010
12:24 pm

good insight, wink.
astro joe – good question about crawford. i am pretty sure sund wouldn’t touch that one, at least on the record, but the next time i grab him, i’ll ask.
MannyT- you didn’t miss it. I’ve just been backed up on other stuff and have been meaning to get to it. by the way, i decided to not do the contest for games 30-40, because i think by game 40, the new guy will be running the blog, and i didn’t want to put that on him in his first few days.
i’ll mention that you guys liked it, and hopefully he’ll re-instate it for 40-50 and onward. (and thanks for explaining what BWAF means. i’ve been wondering for awhile.)

i don’t know what’s going to happen with free agency – LeBron, DWade, Bosh, Joe, etc. – in the summer, but it’s going to be interesting to watch. if i had to guess, most – maybe even all – of those guys will return to their current teams because of the Larry Bird exception.

Like the speculation about Joe to Chicago or New York. Unless either offers him way more money – which I guess is a possibility – I don’t know that either would get him closer to a title.

O'Brien

January 4th, 2010
12:29 pm

Ken S,

Thanks for the blog. In my opinion, the Hawks main issues are bench utilization, and offensive execution.

Out of 32 games played, there are 16 games in which Teague received 5 minutes or less. And it has been bantered about that too much PT for Teague might cost us games (even Woody said something about that).

However, in our last 9 LOSSES, Teague played a COMBINED 29 minutes. And its not like Bibby is lighting it up. Also, Collins has played 39 minutes all year. I’m not sure what kind of shape he’s in, but is Woody saving him for the playoffs?

For our (lack of) offensive execution, it comes down to Woody and JJ Too many isos. Our front court has gotten better, but its the same Woody and the same JJ. What will Woody do if JJ signs with another team next season? Change his plays to iso Crawford?

From hoopopinionblog.com “I’m sure some will appreciate* the irony in Atlanta losing to a team that repeatedly isolated a guard with the ball 25 feet from the basket because the Hawks were thoroughly unable to get the ball out of his hands.

*appreciate or rue

The Atlanta Hawks are the only team that wouldn’t know how to defend Joe Johnson”.

Fundamentals

January 4th, 2010
12:45 pm

Tonight I’d like to see energy and aggressiveness.

We need Collins and Randmo to relieve Al for at least 2-3 minutes per quarter. Use their size to fight O’Neal, Magloire and Anthony.

Josh will have his hands full with Beasley and Haslem. Hopefully Joe Smith and ZaZa can give some energy to rest Josh.

Bibby has to get back to being our leader. We don’t fare well when he’s trying to score alot. He’s best running the offense, not being the offense. There’s no reason Teague can’t use his speed to match up against an aging Arroyo or Chalmers.

Should be a good game for Josh and Al to make an impact down low. Hopefully Joe can contain Wade. It’ll take alot of his energy along with Marvin. He’ll need scoring from everyone to help him maintain energy.

Both teams desperately need this win. GO HAWKS!

tjhook

January 4th, 2010
12:46 pm

Trade marvin Williams for james posey and julian wright. (Salaries can match up. Throw in Othello Hunter to balance it. We need another scoring options to help in close late-game situations that are reliable. Posey has been proven to be a reliable option with teams and will not threaten the team’s attitude with selfish play. Also a strong defender. We need leadership and clutch performers and Marvin unfortunately does not provide this.

MannyT

January 4th, 2010
12:58 pm

Astro–doesn’t your Crawford late game utilization question fit the “Woody needs to get better with the tweaks” theme?

KenS, you will be happy to know that I laid off a pack of acronyms once we started winning more than losing. I would have needed to post a glossary if I had continued. They live on in the blog archives. One example is canniblogging = cannibal blogging. My definition is people just ripping each other apart in the blogs. It really pops up in the offseason. Usually moves quickly from differing ideas to personal attacks. I am not a fan, but like taxes, I don’t expect it to go away.

When I was really down on Woody, WAF became WAFFLE (Woody’s Arms Folded, Feeding Lower Expectations.) Nowdays, I see him as a very good Hawks coach compared to his predecessors, but probably not the guy that brings a title to town unless Sund gets him another magic beans deal.

(Magic beans deals come from Jack & the Beanstalk. Classic example was Gasol to Lakers. If a bunch of people are saying they would have done the deal and it looks one sided, it was probably a magic beans deal.)

Enough of that rambling, can we right the ship against Miami tonight? They are struggling, but no one fears the Hawks these days. We need 3 of 4 this week to show that the Hawks are not pretenders.

BWAF

MannyT

January 4th, 2010
1:00 pm

tjhook–I have not looked at the salaries, but recall Astro Joe’s statement about base year compensation. Until July 1, the Hawks can only take back 1/2 of Marvin’s current annual pay in a trade.

BWAF

vava74

January 4th, 2010
1:35 pm

Tonight could be a pivotal game for us. If we lose we may go down fast.

My main concern are the refs and Woody’s late game mental breakdowns

People forget that of this 3 game loosing streak we ca thank 2 losses to the refs.

The game in Cleveland was beyond any description.

The loss against the Knicks was much more of our own responsibility, however, Nate’s last basket in regulation (tying the game) should have been ruled out on account of jeffrey’s foul on Josh when he was preparing to swat the shot.

Astro Joe

January 4th, 2010
1:43 pm

MannyT, absolutely. It is a portion of his “warts” that he can’t seem to eliminate. Better bench utilization (although I don’t want to see Bacon Jason against the Heat, those bigs are far too nimble for the Bacon Man) and more creative half-court sets in late game situations. And honestly, the only players on the bench that I think should get 15+ minutes each and every game (when healthy) are Zaza, Joe Smith and of course, Jamal. And IMO, Zaza has taken a step backwards this season, as has Mo Evans (of late). But Evans should be employed to chase D. Wade around the floor tonight.

Fundamentals

January 4th, 2010
1:52 pm

Refs are going to always be a factor regardless. Welcome to the National Biased Association. They’ve always given preference to marquee teams. If we continue to win we might break into that favor soon. You just shouldn’t put yourself in that predicament. We had them down, had our foot on their throats each time, and then let them go with mental lapses. Games should’ve never come down to the wire…if we played like we did in the 1st 3 quarters of all 3 games in the 4th.

If you’ve watched our Hawks they always tend to slump this time of year just in time for a run after the allstar break. Early teams slumped terribly, lately we’ve been pulling out a bit sooner. Hopefully this 3 game will wake us up enough to go .500 in January. It’ll be tough, but not impossible.

Daniel

January 4th, 2010
2:05 pm

Fundamentals and Vava- I am with both of you on the refs. Probably some where in between. Both Clevland games the officiating was HORRIBLE, but as you say Fundamentals that is part of the league.

I actually am takig the KenS. stance of “two lucky(cheating) plays and we are 2 and 1″ Still results are results.

Man, we had to catch Nate on his out to prove something tear. Literally throwing balls in with his eyes closed.

I did not walk away from the Clevland series thinking they were better than us, except in terms of referee treatment.

We HAVE to handle Miami tonight to avoid the steam roll.

Fundamentals

January 4th, 2010
2:13 pm

Deep down I’m with Daniel on the Cavs game. I didn’t expect wins, and I was pleased to see our fire. Yeah it melted down late, but we learned, we grew and hopefully we’ll develop a chip from it. We gained confidence. We felt like we had them and let them go ourselves. They didn’t beat us, we beat ourselves.

Nate’s exhibition to me was sad. Where was a player like Mario who wasn’t afraid to muscle the kid on D? Put him on the floor, foul him, don’t let him tear you apart. We just figured he’d cool down and enjoyed the show. In the end we paid for it. Somebody could’ve taken some fouls to put him on the line and break his confidence.

Miami will be a key to whether we’re growing up or continuing to show immaturity. We’ve gotta get back to giving 100%, whether we lose or not. It’s not wins right now I care about, it’s how we play the games.

JeJe

January 4th, 2010
2:19 pm

“I did not walk away from the Clevland series thinking they were better than us, except in terms of referee treatment.”

We had to play an almost perfect game for 3 quarters just to be up/in contention. Delonte didn’t score in the 2nd game. Zydrunas didn’t do anything either. We are no where close to competing with Cleveland in the playoffs.

Hawk Str8Talk

January 4th, 2010
2:55 pm

Ken, looks like the things you are communicating about regarding our toughness and close game execution (which I think is where having a true point guard (no disrespect to Bibby or Teague) is critical) is what I’ve been talking about my blog (www.hawkstr8talk.com) all offseason and last season and what I’m afraid will be the team’s postseason downfall this season. Bottom line, this team is definitely good enough to win 50 games, but in a league where only about 8-9 teams are really good – if you beat the teams that are bad to below average – you are guaranteed 45 wins. Come playoff time, these 8-9 teams will take away your #1 option and that’s when it’s incumbent on the coach and players to know how to get production from the offense.

I’m not sure our coaching staff is spending any time this season working on that component of this team’s evolution. We have not been good at winning games where we face tough playoff circumstances – you can look at our playoff runs of the last 2 seasons and see that we’ve lost each of those games by double digits. When we get punched in the mouth, most of the time we don’t punch back and when we do – our punch isn’t strong enough. That’s a huge problem for the playoffs.

Ramon

January 4th, 2010
3:03 pm

With all the talk of possibly voiding Arenas contract. I could honestly see Arenas landing in Miami in the off season, if this was to happen. We all know from Riley’s past, he’s not shy about players, and he loves point guards. The Heat possibly re-signing Wade, adding Arenas, and possibly Boozer or even Bosh, is very likely at the point. I’m more fearful of Miami getting 2-3 good players than I am of New York. If Miami keeps a super star and adds 2 all stars. We could all easily see the Hawks go back to being no better than 3rd in the division.

JeJe

January 4th, 2010
3:07 pm

Where the heck would Miami get the money for Wade, Bosh, AND Arenas? The guy is having a very good year on a dreadful team with bad coaching and awful personalities.

JeJe

January 4th, 2010
3:09 pm

Wow Miami will have a ton of cap space this offseason. Probably more than the Knicks.

Ree Roe

January 4th, 2010
3:20 pm

Hawks star Joe Johnson knocked the team’s home crowd in an interview with Chicago’s Daily Herald.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s the home team and I enjoy playing there and I enjoy when the fans do come out,” Johnson said. “But by no stretch of the imagination have we got one of the best home crowds. We don’t. I can’t really even say it’s getting there.

“In the playoffs, yeah, they’re there. Throughout the regular season, it’s not much of a big difference from what it was. It’s different, but it’s not that big of a difference than what is was when I first got there.”

-REEcently Roe…

Brad

January 4th, 2010
3:22 pm

I don’t really have anything to add, just wanted to say that I learn more and this blog is a ton better when Astro and MannyT are posting.

MannyT

January 4th, 2010
3:34 pm

O’Brien–The B in BASG was for Broke. There were concerns about their financial state, particularly once Belkin was on the outside. If he wasn’t making contributions as they lost money, the other partners had to make up the difference.

If you really want to pile on that bus, consider the dip in the economy and its impact on all industries. Less corporate money for sponsors and high dollar suites/seats. There was an article posted in December about the low revenues (Hawks on the rise, but still in bottom 1/4 of revenue/game.)

There is a longer story about the benefit of being under the luxury tax. I’ll simplify it this way…one dollar over the luxury tax level costs you about $3 million in cash versus $1 under it.

Astro–has Zaza taken a step backwards or has his role (slightly) changed with the deeper bench? Easier to know you role in a 3 big man rotation than a 4.5 big man rotation. We can be more aggressive with fouls due to the deeper bench. Yet another tactic we seem not to use.

As for Miami’s cap space–they have a lot assuming that Wade opts out. The tricky part is the number of salaries they can fit in there of significant players that would choose Miami over the other teams that have big cap space. I think there is a great opportunity for a GM outside of the 2010 free agent sweepstakes to pick up a decent player or two that has 2 or 3 years left on a decent priced contract.

BWAF

Ramon

January 4th, 2010
3:42 pm

MannyT, you have to remember a few things about Miami’s ability to recruit free agents. 1) They will have Wade more than likely. 2) Pat Riley is still considered a legend to most NBA players, and agents LOVE him (He was the Executive who gave Odum, Brian Grant, Jones, and many others huge contracts).3) Also I don’t think there are many people (let alone players) who would mind spending majority of their winters in Miami. 4) Miami is only 4-5 years removed from their last championship. No other team who will be in the sweepstakes for players can say that.

Astro Joe

January 4th, 2010
3:48 pm

Brad, thanks.

MannyT, Zaza seems to miss defensive rotations and isn’t as consistent making the 10-14 footer. It just seems like some of his fire is missing this season.

MannyT

January 4th, 2010
4:05 pm

Ramon,

You have good points, however–here are some counterpoints.

Giving huge contracts away to good players (Grant, Odum, et al) does not make your team great. It does cut down your ability to get big names. The Heat will need to fill that roster with minimum players if they get 2 max guys to go with Wade.

Can they get 2 max guys to go with Wade? I think Boozer is likely to go, but then who wants to be a 3rd option max player that is worth the contract? For example, I doubt Joe would go there for the same money as here to play with Boozer & Wade. Be the man here or an older version of his Phoenix deal there? Would Bosh want to go there to play slim-center versus playing the PF elsewhere?

There will be several teams that can afford a max player this summer as many folks want LeBron. The one thing I know for sure is that only 1 team gets LeBron and all the others have to make adjustments. That leave several other teams in play that can pitch come to us where you will be the man and we have some parts.

As some deals get done, the sign & trade power of a bigger contract will loom for some. I can see Toronto offering Bosh a deal, then signing and trading him away when he says no thanks. Better to get something than nothing. Miami cannot sign & trade because they would only have 2 players (Beasley & Cook) under contract.

Bottom line, Miami has appeal, but they are not a lock to ADD 2 stars to go with Wade. If they lose Wade, it is a nightmare, but they will have cap space to scramble and get players that are slow to sign.

Some guarantee birth, taxes & death. If you saw 60 Minutes last night, taxes even have significant loopholes (better than Miami’s no state tax.) If you want real funky, add cloning and the Highlander series and there are no guarantees 8-O

BWAF

MannyT

January 4th, 2010
4:13 pm

Fair enough, Astro.

Maybe the fire goes to the bench by the time it gets going with the deeper rotation. I think the switching defense is tougher for him than the smaller, quicker bigs (including Joe Smith). He neeeds banger time like Collins. He may miss shots, but he is getting some easy points based on the improved FG%. Check his stats for this year and the past 2. His time is similar to 2 years ago, but the performance is probably better than 2 years ago. I think he is more of an oven than a microwave…needs preheating to be effective. ;-)

http://www.nba.com/playerfile/zaza_pachulia/career_stats.html

Not ducking out, but I have to duck out and get some things done. I’ll check back later.

BWAF

Ramon

January 4th, 2010
4:17 pm

Manny, think of this though. What is Boston’s salary roster like? Is it not the same way you just said the Heat would be? And in terms of productivity, which of the Boston 3 comes close to eclipsing the level Wade is playing at now? And which of the three would you say outperforms Boozer? If you recall, Perkins and Rondo were still on their rookie contracts (as Chalmers and Beasley are), PJ Brown and Cassell both played for the minimum that year. And also James Posey played for less than the Exception that season. If you recall Miami was willing to pay Shaq $22 million a year, so luxury tax isn’t a concern. Most championship rosters are compiled of high end players (2-4), and then the rest are mixtures of veterans and rookie contract players who make between mid level exception and rookie salary contracts (which for Beasley is around $7 mil). As I said if Arenas is available, or even Devin Harris, you may be looking at something happening for 3 big time addictions.

Daniel

January 4th, 2010
4:19 pm

Ultimately though with all the big free agents this summer, the most likely scenario is that they all stay with their current teams. Due to the “bird rule” your own team can give you a bigger contract with less cap restrictions than any other team. So despite the Lebron and Wade talk they will likely stay in Clevland and Atlanta. That leaves Joe and Chris to go to NY, NJ or in Joe’s case stay in ATL. I really don’t see NY/NJ outbidding ATL, I mean we already offered 16.5 mil a year, which is about market value, maybe he gets another year on his contract or something. Bosh is the only likely mover to me, because Toronto is going nowhere soon and the Canadian tax structure hurts his income more than say Fla, (no state income tax) Miami could offer Bosh less but he end up with more in his pocket so to speak.

I think Joe and Woody resign with Atlanta in the off season and the only real interesting moves for us will be Childress’s contract, to resign Joe Smith and whatever draft pick we get.

doc

January 4th, 2010
4:20 pm

jeje, like manny t coined the bwaf, i coined the term BASG to be, broken atlanta spirit group. it was to reflect on the fact they were going through their legal battles and broken into two factions. when the guys got back together again as a decree of the courts; essentially they were told to figure it out themselves since their legal group had done such a poor job of writing up contingency agreements,i dropped it. broke does work just i really dont know what their financial resources are. as a reference to the owners. we all knew the condition of their “partnership”.

Clyde

January 4th, 2010
4:22 pm

Ramon

January 4th, 2010
4:23 pm

Daniel, the thing with that is Boozer is already 1 foot out the door in Utah. And as many have said, if New Jersey ends up with #1 there’s no way you bring Wall on board without putting Harris on the table.

Ramon

January 4th, 2010
4:24 pm

I will say for Joe Smith and Collins, the Hawks were crazy not to put a team option for 2nd year in the deal as well. I think if they did that, then the bench would be solidified at minimum amount going forward. But then again I am not sure if you can do veteran’s minimum where the league pays half the salary for more than a season.

Daniel

January 4th, 2010
4:32 pm

ramon- I would not count on Arenas for anything in the future, he is only getting older, slower, more injury prone and now pulling guns.

Ramon

January 4th, 2010
4:51 pm

Daniel, Arenas is averaging 23 ppg with 7 assists to go with it. He hasn’t been hampered this season. Grant Hill and McDyess also missed over 2 seasons before, and both seem to have been able to play 3-4 seasons afterward without missing significant time (as well as Boozer).

richbrave

January 4th, 2010
4:53 pm

DANIEL:

ARENAS’ high, high priced mouth-piece just issued a humiliating apology to everyone but ERNIE GRUNFELD. He’s trying to weasel his way out of the circumstance he put himself in by calling local boy JAVARIS CRITTENTON out in the locker-room. BTW the GLOCK was in his hand, the other three guns were for CRITTENTON to peruse and pick up. The soap goes on As the World turns.