Los Angeles–My editor sent me a note today with a question: “Why AREN’T the Hawks in the Stoudemire chase?”
So I stopped staring out at my balcony view of Marina del Rey long enough to collect my thoughts on the matter. Tough gig.
I know it’s the kind of question Hawks fans have, too. They look at their team’s holes, hear about all the big deals going down (or being talked about) in the league and wish the Hawks would get in on Stoudemire or some other stud.
So I will attempt to answer my boss’s question and yours without boring or confusing you:
1. The Suns are looking to shed salary and the Hawks have no large expiring contracts to match up with Amare’s $16.4 million salary other than Joe Johnson’s $15 million.
2. The Hawks aren’t willing to deal J.J. or other core players with value (Smoove, Jamal and Horford) and haven’t received interest in players they might be willing to part with.
3. Hawks ownership, which still must maintain flexibility for its efforts to re-sign Johnson this summer, isn’t inclined to take on future salary. Part of the reason the Suns are looking to deal Stodemire is his $17.7 million player option for next season. Even if Stoudemire doesn’t invoke the option, he’ll be looking to re-sign for a long-term deal.
Those explanations can apply to why the Hawks aren’t on any of the big money guys you hear in trade rumors. It doesn’t make sense to trade J.J., Smoove or Horford (who remember is still a great bargain at $4.3 million). The Hawks just don’t have any other real assets (expiring contracts, young starters on the rise) or the financial wherewithal to make a major deal.
And all of you including Marvin Williams in your wishful trade thinking need to remember that he’s a base-year compensation player. Assuming another team covets Williams, which is no sure thing considering his decline in production, the Hawks can only use half of his $7.5 million salary under the traded player exception for teams over the salary cap.
In other words, if they traded Williams they could only take back 125 percent plus $100,00 of $3.75 million, or about $4.8 million, instead of $8.9 million. For Williams this holds true until after June 30. The BYC rule is designed to prevent teams from exploiting a loophole in the traded player exception and as you can see it serves as a strong disincentive to trade players like Williams.
– The Hawks still aren’t getting calls about Johnson because there’s no point. The Hawks aren’t dealing him.
– From what I’m hearing, there’s nothing to that rumor about the Hawks looking to deal Mo Evans and a throw-in contract to Milwaukee for Kurt Thomas. It didn’t make much sense when I heard it because the Hawks don’t seem to have much enthusiasm for Thomas and the Bucks aren’t looking to add future salary (Mo has a player option for $2.5 million for next season).
Maybe Thomas would add a bit of defensive toughness and vet leadership but he’s not the big body the Hawks need. And who would be the Hawks’ wing off the bench if Mo is gone?
– The Hawks are interested in Boston forward Rasheed Wallace but the Celtics apparently aren’t interested in dealing him. It was probably a long shot anyway since (here it is again) ownership doesn’t seem inclined to take on future money. Wallace has two years and about $13 million left on his contract after this season.
– I was surprised to see the Clippers deal Marcus Camby to Portland for Travis Outlaw and Steve Blake. The Clippers sent away a good player with an expiring $7.5 million contract (and who had expressed interest in staying with the team) for two decent players with expiring contracts.
The Hawks like Camby, who I think would be a great fit, but they wouldn’t have been to use their players with expiring deals to match his salary in a trade. Also, the Clippers apparently needed a backup point guard for the short term and the Hawks don’t have one to offer with an expiring deal. The Clippers also will receive cash in the deal and maybe that was the main consideration.
– One good thing about the relative quiet around the Hawks this week: no distractions.
“Haven’t said not one word (about trades),” Woody said. “I’m sure these guys are aware of (the deadline). I haven’t heard anything about our team in terms of trade. Most of these guys besides the ‘rook (Jeff Teague) have been around a long time and know sometimes your name will be mentioned in trade rumors. It’s part of the game.”