Archive for June, 2010

Atlanta Hawks: ASG says Hawks not for sale

AJC wise guy Jeff Schultz weighed in on the latest report about the Atlanta Spirit Group’s supposed desire to sell the Hawks. The New York Post says ASG is looking to sell Philips Arena and the Hawks as a package deal and wants to unload the Thrashers separately.

Judging by the sports radio chatter this morning and blog comments in the past, Hawks fans would love it if ASG sold the team. But each time these stories flare up, ASG owners (when they’ve addressed the rumors) have consistently denied an interest in selling the team and insist they only want to take on investors. Micheal Gearon Jr. and Bruce Levenson released a statement today:

“As has been shared publicly for more than a year, we are interested in finding minority investors and have engaged a firm to assist us in that effort. We have no plans to move either team, and remain committed to the Hawks, the Thrashers, Philips Arena and the city of Atlanta.”

That’s not exactly a firm “We don’t want to sell the team,” …

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Atlanta Hawks: Lawal gets close look from Hawks

Lawal wants the Hawks. They might want him, too. (Johnny Crawford/jcrawford@ajc.com)

Lawal wants the Hawks. They might want him, too. (Johnny Crawford/jcrawford@ajc.com)

Gani Lawal, out of Norcross High School and Georgia Tech, hopes the Hawks draft him next week. It could happen, too: Word is he’s one of five players the Hawks are considering selecting with the No. 24 overall pick.

Lawal was at Philips Arena today to work out. He said it was his 13th stop on the predraft workout circuit and he’s still not done. Lawal put his name on the early-entry list in 2009 but decided to return to Tech for his junior season.

“I needed to go back to school,” he said. “I don’t think it was a bad decision to go back. I felt confident, and I feel like it helped me. It may not jump out on the stat sheet. [But] my understanding of the game increased and improved and I’m glad I went back.”

When he got back his 2009 draft evaluation, in what areas did NBA personnel types tell him he needed to improve?

“Passing out of the post, playing through double teams, my anticipation on …

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Atlanta Hawks: LD doesn’t lack confidence

'Congrats, Larry. Any chance you can call J.J. for me?' (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

‘Congrats, Larry. Any chance you can call J.J. for me?’ (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Give LD credit. Dude came out strong on his first official day as Hawks head coach. Some highlights:

– LD does not lack confidence. Before he’s even coached a game, he basically has announced himself as an offensive innovator. Asked if there were any teams or coaches that run similar stuff to what he plans to use, LD smiled.

“No,” he said. “This is going to be unique.”

Could he offer some specifics about the system? For example, will it be based on pick-and-rolls?

“It will have some pick-and-roll in it,” he said. “What it does, it forces the ball to move. That is probably the best way to explain it. Yes, teams will try to lock into it, but there are reads to it. There are triggers to it. It forces the ball to move, it forces the body to move. Now we become more effective. We become a five-man attack team. It puts all five guys in position to attack and to score.”

– What about defense, …

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Atlanta Hawks: Players say Drew isn’t Woody 2

LD, second from right, moves over to Woody's spot (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

LD, second from right, moves over to Woody’s spot (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

It wouldn’t be a bad thing in the larger sense if LD is another Woody. In the aftermath of the recent postseason disappointment, it’s easy to forget Woody led the Hawks to one of their better seasons after helping them rise up from their status as laughingstocks. But Rick Sund said the Hawks needed “another voice,” after all, so there’s some understandable skepticism when they hired Woody’s right-hand man to be the “new” voice.

Clearly Atlanta believes LD offers something distinct from Woody. The Hawks hired him after rejecting not just Woody but his entire program. Promoting his lead assistant means they don’t think LD got much of a chance to put his stamp on that program. And the Hawks are telling you that not only do they expect LD’s way to be better than Woody’s way, but that he’s the guy to guide them to the next level even though he’s never been in the head coach’s seat before.

Anybody …

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Atlanta Hawks: Larry Drew officially hired as coach

The Hawks officially hired Larry Drew as coach today, signing him to a two-year contract with an option for a third year.

Drew, 52, succeeds Mike Woodson, who was let go following this season. Drew was Woodson’s lead assistant and now slides into the head coach’s seat for the first time in his career.

The Hawks plan to introduce Drew as coach at a news conference Monday afternoon. From the official Hawks release:

“We are very pleased to welcome Larry as the new head coach of the Atlanta Hawks,” GM Rick Sund said. “After aggressively going through the interview process with all of the candidates it became clear, with his knowledge of the game as well as his experience as player and assistant coach, he had the qualities we were looking for to lead our club. Over the last few years, a number of teams have had success hiring from within and we feel he is more than ready for the challenge.”

MC

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Atlanta Hawks: Larry Drew is the choice for coach

Hawks pick Drew to be next coach.

Hawks pick Drew to be next coach.

The Hawks have decided to hire Larry Drew as their next head coach, people with knowledge of the decision said today.

Drew was Atlanta’s lead assistant for six years under Mike Woodson, who was let go last month. Drew and the team are working out the details of a contract this evening and the official announcement of his hiring is expected on Saturday.

Drew, 52, emerged from a group of finalists that also included Avery Johnson, Dwane Casey and Mark Jackson. Once Johnson agreed to coach the Nets early in the week, that left Atlanta’s ownership group and GM Rick Sund to choose from among the other three candidates.

This will be Drew’s first head-coaching job after he’s been an NBA assistant for the the last 14 seasons. He worked for the Lakers, Wizards, Pistons and Nets before joining Woodson’s staff for the 2004-05 season. Drew played 714 games over 10 NBA seasons from 1980-91.

“He’s very experienced, just being around the game,” Hawks guard …

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Atlanta Hawks: Still undecided on coach, ASG to try again Friday

Another day passed with no decision by the Hawks on which of three candidates to offer their vacant head coach position. They’ll deliberate again on Friday and hope to reach agreement on extending an offer to Dwane Casey, Larry Drew or Mark Jackson.

Atlanta’s delay in making a decision illustrates the complexities of a process that includes members of the Atlanta Spirit ownership group and GM Rick Sund. A person with knowledge of the process said each candidate has support within the organization, adding that the varying schedules of the decision-makers also has contributed to the delay.

Atlanta parted ways with Mike Woodson after the season. The Hawks, Cavaliers and Clippers are the only teams without a coach after Avery Johnson, once a Hawks candidate, accepted the New Jersey job yesterday.

MC

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Atlanta Hawks: Avery Johnson says he’s agreed to coach Nets

Johnson headed to Nets, not Hawks.

Johnson headed to Nets, not Hawks.

One coaching candidate down for the Hawks, three still in the mix.

The Associated Press reported that Avery Johnson says he’s agreed to coach the Nets. Johnson told the AP the team is expected to announce the news on Thursday.

Johnson was among four candidates the Hawks have been considering as the replacement for Mike Woodson. With Johnson apparently out of the running, general manager Rick Sund and Atlanta’s ownership group now will choose from among Dwane Casey, Larry Drew and Mark Jackson.

Casey is a Dallas assistant coach and former head coach in Minnesota. Drew was an assistant under Woodson, who was let go after six seasons. Jackson, a television broadcaster, hasn’t been a coach at any level but was a long-time NBA point guard.

A person with knowledge of the process said Hawks management is still considering all three candidates and will make a decision soon. The Hawks, Cavaliers and Clippers are the only teams yet to name a head …

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Atlanta Hawks: Mo Evans exercises option for 2010-11

Mo Evans decides to play for $2.5 million in Atlanta

Mo Evans decides to play for $2.5 million in Atlanta

Mo Evans took a look at the free-agent market this summer and decided his $2.5 million salary in 2010-11 is the best deal for him.

Evans confirmed a WSB-TV report that he has exercised his contract option for next season. Evans made $2.5 million in 2009-10.

“There are not a lot of teams out there giving away contracts,” Evans said. “I’m satisfied with my deal even though it’s undervalued. I’m still going to go out and do my job.”

Evans’ decision means Atlanta will have limited cap flexibility this summer.

If Evans had opted out and the Hawks lost and/or renounced their other free agents, they could have cleared roughly $8.1 million in cap space. Now, depending on the amount of the salary cap and the value of cap exceptions, they likely will be limited to using their mid-level, bi-annual and minimum-salary cap exceptions to sign free agents.

Evans, 31, signed with the Hawks in 2008. He appeared in 79 games last season as the …

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Atlanta Hawks: Draft workouts

The Hawks released the names of the 34 prospects they will host for workouts prior to the NBA Draft on June 24. Atlanta, which holds the Nos. 24 and 53 overall picks, ideally would like to find a center and wing shooter in the draft. College team or country of league is listed. Names link to players’ DraftExpress.com profiles, when available:

*Denotes early-entry candidate

Monday, June 14

Terrico White, 6-5, G, Ole Miss
Elliott Williams*, 6-4, G, Memphis
Dominique Jones*, 6-4, G, South Florida
Manny Harris*, 6-5, G, Michigan

Tuesday, June 15

Darington Hobson*, 6-7, F, New Mexico
Stanley Robinson, 6-9, F, Connecticut
Pape Sy, 6-7, F, France

Wednesday, June 16

Mikhail Torrance, 6-5, G, Alabama
Jordan Crawford*, 6-4, G, Xavier
Chris Kramer, 6-3, G, Purdue
J.T. Tiller, 6-3, G, Missouri
Greivis Vasquez, 6-5, G, Maryland

Thursday, June 17

Gani Lawal*, 6-8, F, Georgia Tech
Charles Garcia*, 6-9, F, Seattle

Friday, June 18

Devin Ebanks*, …

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