Archive for June, 2010

Atlanta Hawks: All-in with max offer for Joe Johnson

When the Hawks meet with Joe Johnson in Los Angeles soon after the start of the free-agency negotiating period at 12:01 Thursday they are prepared to offer him a six-year contract for the maximum amount allowed, according to people with knowledge of their plans.

The exact amount of maximum contracts won’t be determined until a league audit is completed over the next week, but it’s expected to total about $119 million for a player with Johnson’s experience. The other teams making pitches to Joe can only offer him five years at about $92 million. I still believe that a gap of up to $27 million or so will be too much for Joe to turn down regardless of what other teams have to say about teaming up with LeBron or Bosh (or both), earning more in endorsements, or anything else not having to do with $27 million.

As a Bird-rights free agent, Johnson is eligible to receive from the Hawks a six-year contract starting at about $15.8 million with maximum raises of 10.5 percent in each …

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Atlanta Hawks: J.J. squeezed out of the big summit?

Who's missing from this picture? (

Who’s missing from this picture? ( reported there was a free-agent summit in Miami over the weekend involving LeBron, D-Wade and Bosh.

Other reports say the meeting didn’t happen and others that say it couldn’t have happened because James was in New York and Wade was in Las Vegas and Chicago over the weekend.

Now I’m watching ESPN respond to those reports by saying that the three players did too meet in Miami!

All of this comes after Stephen A. Smith reported that James and Bosh would join Wade in Miami.

It’s all very confusing. But if there was a meeting in some city somewhere, and if James and Bosh really are considering headed to Miami to play with D-Wade (it seems to be a real possibility), the one thing missing from all of this is Joe Johnson.

Remember, Wade had said J.J. would be included in the summit and now it turns out he wasn’t invited (if in fact there was a meeting). What that would mean for J.J. is that he’s not included in this …

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Atlanta Hawks: J.J. to Mavs, Knicks, Bulls, Rockets . . . or Hawks?

Is there cash in that boot?

Is there cash in that boot?

Another day, another Joe Johnson rumor.

This time it’s Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reporting that the Mavericks are interested in acquiring J.J. They are over the salary cap, so the only way to do that would be through a sign-and-trade agreement. That means J.J. would have to want to play for the Mavs and Dallas and Atlanta would have to come to an agreement on a trade.

The key line in Wojnarowski’s story is this: “Johnson is determined to get the sixth guaranteed season on a contract that could only come with re-signing in Atlanta or a sign-and-trade arrangement, sources say.” This is along the lines of what I’ve been saying all along, that guys just don’t leave $25-$30 million on the table. The signals being sent out by J.J,’s camp are clear: If Atlanta offers the most cash, Johnson will re-sign. If not, he will look elsewhere. What’s not clear is if the Hawks are willing to pay J.J. the max if that’s what it takes to keep him.

The thing …

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Atlanta Hawks: J.J. willing to play for less money in New York?’s Chris Broussard says the Knicks will meet with J.J. in Los Angeles soon after free agency opens at midnight Thursday.

That’s no surprise since New York is one of a handful of teams with the cap space to offer J.J. a max deal and it’s always been speculated J.J. would look at the Knicks because of his his strong relationship with coach Mike D’Antoni from their Phoenix days. Until now I’d always heard New York wasn’t very interested in Johnson, but apparently that’s not the case. Broussard says the Knicks think J.J. can sell LeBron on teaming up in New York, which seems to be kind of a backwards arrangement.

The most interesting part of Broussard’s story is that he reports Johnson is willing to take less money from the Knicks, who can’t pay him as much as the Hawks due to salary-cap rules. According to Broussard, J.J. believes he can make up the roughly $25 million difference through endorsements and stock shares in Madison Square Garden. (Edit: I’m pretty sure …

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Atlanta Hawks: And now for something really important: J.J.

It might feel like Christmas in July for the Hawks if J.J. returns. (LOUIE FAVORITE /

It might feel like Christmas in July for the Hawks if J.J. returns. (LOUIE FAVORITE /

There’s been much hand-wringing among my blog people about the Hawks’ draft, and I get that. Even when your team is picking No. 24, and even when that team is the Hawks, the hope is that somehow they beat the odds and find a rookie who can be a major contributor for a team that won 53 games last season.

But regardless of how you feel about the draft, it was far less important than what happens over the next couple weeks. Free agency opens at midnight Thursday, when teams can negotiate with players on the market. Deals can be struck during that time but signings can’t happen until a week later. And of course the biggest deal for the Hawks is what happens with J.J.

The Hawks want J.J. back. The things outsiders debate about regarding J.J.–his age, his minutes, his isos, his leadership, his postseason fade, etc.–don’t seem to be such issues at Centennial Tower. The Hawks value …

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Atlanta Hawks: Crawford, cash and a mysterious Frenchman

Crawford to Hawks.

Crawford to Hawks.

When the night was over the Hawks had made a trade, saved some cash, earned some additional cash and drafted Xavier guard Jordan Crawford and Pape Sy, a mysterious prospect from France.

First, the deal on Crawford and the cash. He was one of a handful of players the Hawks liked who were still on the board. They weren’t sure he would be there if they traded down but had three other players in mind if he wasn’t (one of them was Dominique Jones, who was picked at No. 25).

Rick Sund said Atlanta had the “luxury” of deciding on a shooter, wing, guard or a big project center.

“We decided to go with the best available player,” he said.

Moving down three spots in the first round saves the Hawks about $190,000 for the two guaranteed years of Crawford’s contract. They also sold the rights to German center Tibor Pleiss to Oklahoma City for close to $3 million, the maximum amount allowable under salary-cap rules.

While the Hawks could have selected a project center or …

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Atlanta Hawks: Draft mockery (UPDATE: Hawks trade with Nets, get Crawford)

UPDATE: The Hawks selected Texas forward Damion James with the No. 24 pick and traded him to the Nets for the second of their first-round picks (No. 27 overall) and their second-round pick (No. 31). The Nets selected Jordan Crawford for the Hawks at No. 31.

More updates later. . . .

I scoured the Interwebs to find some mock drafts for your consumption. This is also the place for my blog people to talk amongst yourselves as the night unfolds. I’ll be holed up at Centennial Tower waiting for the Hawks’ decision-makers to pick their guys before emerging to explain themselves, but I will checking in on your comments.

So think positive thoughts and hope your Hawks buck recent trends and find a gem late in the first round. . . .

MC Dominique Jones Hassan Whiteside

Ian Thomsen, Jordan Crawford

Sean Deveney, Sporting News: Jordan Crawford

Chad Ford, (Insider): Lance Stephenson

Dime Magazine: Lance Stephenson

FanHouse: Larry Sanders

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Atlanta Hawks: Could these draft prospects help the Hawks later?

Yesterday I highlighted some draft prospects the Hawks believe have “NBA skills” that could be useful to them next season. Today, I’m looking at some long-term prospects the Hawks might draft at No. 24.

Understand that these lists aren’t meant to be complete, nor should they be considered endorsements. These are players I know the Hawks have considered from each pool. If you don’t see the player you want on these lists, it doesn’t mean the Hawks won’t draft them and it doesn’t mean I don’t like them. I’m just trying to share what I know with my blog people, narrow the Hawks’ draft possibilities down a bit, and then let you explain why they have it ALL WRONG!!!

In the next post I will collect all of the final mock drafts in one spot. That way you can find those smart people who predict the Hawks will draft the guy you like.

Solomon Alabi has the size teams want.

Solomon Alabi has the size teams want.

Solomon Alabi, C, 7-1, Florida State

I think Alabi will be gone by the time the Hawks pick, and here’s why: He …

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Atlanta Hawks: Could these draft prospects help the Hawks now?

Could this be Atlanta's next 'Nique? (Atoyia Deans, St. Pete Times)

Could this be Atlanta’s next ‘Nique? (Atoyia Deans, St. Pete Times)

Before you can begin to examine the players the Hawks will consider drafting with the No. 24 pick on Thursday, you first must understand the competing philosophies at play.

As they wind down their draft preparations, GM Rick Sund, assistant GM Dave Pendergraft, Hawks scouts and L.D. must decide if they want to draft a player with a skill (or skills) that can help the team now but with limited upside, or take a prospect who likely won’t see minutes early but could develop later into a good NBA player. The Hawks are compiling a list of players in each pool.

“First, we have to decide which way to go,” Pendergraft said. He declined to name names but he and others provided enough clues for me to make some educated guesses. I fully expect to be hated on when the Hawks inevitably don’t draft any of these guys.

Once the Hawks determine their strategy, they then have to figure out which prospects are likely to be …

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Atlanta Hawks: What’s the deal with Chills?

The return of the 'fro?

The return of the ‘fro?

The buzz out of Greece is that Josh Childress might not be long for Olympiakos due to money issues. AJC wise guy Jeff Schultz wonders where Chills would fit in with the Hawks.

I’m still not sure Chills would be down for playing for the Hawks. From what I’ve been able to gather, he does want to return to the NBA but would rather sign an offer sheet with another team that the Hawks would be unable to match. That suggests that his hard feelings for the Hawks are more than just about Woody. Of course, Chills might get over that in a minute if he wants back in the league and Atlanta’s $4.8 million qualifying offer is the only deal he can secure (the Hawks hadn’t yet extended the offer as of last week but Rick Sund has said they will).

But Chills should have some NBA value after a strong season in Greece. No doubt he and his representatives (apparently he has a new agent) will be watching the J.J. situation closely. Their hope would be that if the Hawks …

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