Atlanta Hawks: Shaq open to joining Hawks (UPDATE: Shaq hasn’t heard from Hawks)

Shaq provides muscle but also potential headaches.

Shaq provides muscle but also potential headaches.

Tim Povtak of FanHouse reports that the Hawks have offered Shaquille O’Neal a two-year contact starting at the full mid-level exception. That figure is pegged to the league average salary and won’t be known until the league completes its audit this week but should come in at about $5.5 million for the first season.

I can confirm at least the Shaq half of this story: He’d be interesting in playing for the Hawks, according to a person with knowledge of his free-agent desires. But a person familiar with Atlanta’s plans said it’s doubtful the team has made such an offer this early in the free-agent process. (UPDATE: Shaq’s agent, Perry Rogers, says he hasn’t heard from the Hawks.) The Hawks are seeking a bulky center, and ASG is said to be willing to use the mid-level exception and pay some luxury tax if necessary to do so, but so far it doesn’t appear the Hawks have decided whom else to target after re-signing J.J.

Shaq, 38, just finished the least productive of his 18 seasons. He’s certainly a more physical deterrent in the post than anyone the Hawks have now, and his blocks and rebounds numbers are still pretty good. But Zaza’s production actually compares decently when adjusted for minutes and when accounting for Shaq’s much higher usage rate. And if Shaq were to play a major role for the Hawks it would mean less minutes in the lineup for Al and/or Smoove, who are more effective players.

If the Hawks are looking to make a buzz as Potvak suggests (”They also could use O’Neal’s star appeal to help create some much needed interest in the franchise,” he writes) then Shaq can still do that. But they should be careful what they wish for in that regard. The Hawks are looking to create a more serious and dedicated culture for the team with a first-year coach, and I can tell you from firsthand experience that Shaq probably isn’t going to help that effort. His approach is that of an 18-year vet with four rings and a nonchalant view of the regular season.

If Shaq came to Atlanta, it wouldn’t be long before he’s telling teammates and media that the Hawks simply need to be dominant at home and .500 on the road and everything will be OK. When L.D. says the Hawks need to play with more energy and effort every night to make it a habit, Shaq at some point would suggest the Hawks don’t really need to worry until March. When the Hawks lose games they shouldn’t and slide down the standings, Shaq would shrug and say they just need to hold onto homecourt advantage for the first round and everything will be cool. And if Shaq becomes unhappy with his playing time, then I don’t need to tell you Shaq is not going to be quiet about it.

If the Hawks signed Shaq, he would instantly become the biggest presence in the locker room, the guy with the most cred and the biggest voice. In addition to deciding if Shaq could still help them on the floor, the Hawks would have to be sure this team is ready to handle his off-court influence.

MC

656 comments Add your comment

OldMonty

July 5th, 2010
10:08 pm

I’m having bad Moses Malone flashbacks right now…..

K2

July 5th, 2010
10:09 pm

Bring in the Big Aristotle!!!

i_am_soulstar

July 5th, 2010
10:09 pm

http://www.nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/38099614/sports/player_news

Check out this link.. The Hawks are apparently shopping Josh.

Hoops

July 5th, 2010
10:11 pm

I’ve never done this! First!!!

hot err

July 5th, 2010
10:13 pm

The days of Shaq being able to help a team to a championship have long been over. It’d be like the Falcons signing T.O.- an over the hill malcontent who is sure to divide the locker room. At least the Falcons have some competent people running their franchise. They’d never fall for this one.

Ree Roe

July 5th, 2010
10:13 pm

I like the possibility of it happening, but I just wonder what our next move is IF we bring in Shaq. That fanhouse article mentioned we might trade Josh, but for whom? When do we address the Chills situation? Do we still look at trading Marvin & Bibby? I’m encouraged that the Hawks aren’t standing pat in this overhyped offseason, but I just wonder what our plan is

-REEturn of Roe!!

Melvin

July 5th, 2010
10:13 pm

David Alridge just said on NBATV that the Hawks does have some interest in the Hawks but they DO NOT PLAN to move AL HORFORD to PF. They like him at center. But he did say that Shaq probably wouldnt commit if he has to split mins with ZaZa at center…

Najeh Davenpoop

July 5th, 2010
10:14 pm

I agree that Shaq could possibly be a bad locker room influence, but…

“Zaza’s production actually compares decently when adjusted for minutes and when accounting for Shaq’s much higher usage rate.”

Shaq played against starters and put up more per-36 points, boards, dimes, and blocks with a far better shooting percentage than Zaza did against backups. Shaq is a brick wall; Zaza flops. Shaq blocks shots; Zaza flails at them. Shaq finishes strong at the rim; Zaza gets stripped. Rebounding and free throws are the only two areas where Zaza even approaches Shaq, and keep in mind, that was against backups, not starters. Let’s face it — the one reason Shaq is in the discussion is because the Hawks can’t guard Howard one-on-one, and Shaq would do that leaps and bounds better than Zaza.

If he doesn’t derail the team chemistry, Shaq would be an instant upgrade over Zaza as the first backup big man. My main concern is whether being the first backup big man, playing 20-25 minutes per game, will be good enough for him throughout the season.

steve brown

July 5th, 2010
10:15 pm

Telling that you didn’t mention they are shopping Josh Smith!

Alicia

July 5th, 2010
10:15 pm

I say Shaq is a last resort. They need to see who else is on the market. I also heard about them possibly trading Josh which would be stupid in my opinion. I like the Hawks, but sometimes their thinking is very questionable.

Najeh Davenpoop

July 5th, 2010
10:15 pm

In a perfect world, the Hawks would sign Shaq as the first big man off the bench, dump Zaza and Joe Smith, and split the PF/C minutes with Josh and Al each getting about 33-35 minutes per game and Shaq getting about 26-28 minutes per game, with these minutes fluctuating depending on the matchup.

Najeh Davenpoop

July 5th, 2010
10:16 pm

And if they trade Josh, they better be getting CP3 or Carmelo in return.

hot err

July 5th, 2010
10:17 pm

Going after Shaq is really like raising the white flag. It’s screaming “Hey we don’t care about winning- we just wanna sell enough tickets to pay for this stupid contract we just gave to JJ”

~~MAC-ToWN~~ (Area Code 478)

July 5th, 2010
10:19 pm

……cant compare Zaza Pukechulia to Shaq, even at his senior citizen age. If Shaq wants Zaza gone, make it happen. Trade him, send him to go be the starting center for the “New Mexico Thunderbirds” in the NBDL or whatever team that was Mario West was shining on.

hot err

July 5th, 2010
10:19 pm

BTW – trading Josh and getting anything less than a young all-star in return = Stupid.

D Cal

July 5th, 2010
10:21 pm

As long as Shaq could stay healthy, i have no problem at all with the signing. We don’t need him for his offensive presents, we need him for his defensive presents. So i think it would be a solid pickup.

Steve

July 5th, 2010
10:21 pm

Hope the Sund Magic continues – he’s been much better here than in Seattle to this point. I think Josh may be some of the chemistry issues Horford was talking about. Sign Shaq! I think he’s much better than Jermaine O’Neil even with the 38 to 31 year old age difference. Offer him a 3 year deal if it takes it too get him. He would crush Dwight in the paint. Now all we need is a PG better than Jameer Nelson, and we can get past the Magic in the playoffs. Maybe trade Childress for one.

JSS

July 5th, 2010
10:22 pm

@ Najeh…
Shaq won’t make a full season, you’ll need Zaza eventually…

JeJe

July 5th, 2010
10:24 pm

CAN WE PLEASE GET A SPELL-CHECK/GRAMMAR-CHECK?

HOW HARD IS IT FOR A BEAT-WRITER TO WRITE IN PROPER ENGLISH WITH CORRECT SYNTAX AND GRAMMAR? DON’T U PEOPLE HAVE JOURNALISM DEGREES?

hot err

July 5th, 2010
10:24 pm

Lmao @ Shaq’s offensive & defensive “presents” – what is he Santa Claus?? In any event the old man doesn’t have to many more gifts in that sack of his…

RomeDawg

July 5th, 2010
10:25 pm

Is Al Jefferson a possibility?

moboman

July 5th, 2010
10:25 pm

Getting Shaq is better than standing pat. What else is out there in the center position? Any move involving Josh better be a blockbuster. You dont give that kind of rare athletic talent away for anything less than a superstar.

Rufio

July 5th, 2010
10:26 pm

what team chemistry?

wasn’t that a big part of the problem in the playoffs… no chemistry?

Knowledge Quest

July 5th, 2010
10:27 pm

Shaq is through. What a wast of money! He got ate up last year by…you guessed it,Collins! If this is your idea of getting past the second rounds of the playoffs you got to be kidding,

Sund, Is that the best you can do? Give me a break. We need a starting center not a novelty.

Surely you jest!

JeJe

July 5th, 2010
10:27 pm

SIGN SHAQ AND TRADE SMOOVE AND BIBBY FOR THE BEST POINT GUARD OUT THERE

Michael Cunningham

July 5th, 2010
10:28 pm

@Najeh: “If he doesn’t derail the team chemistry, Shaq would be an instant upgrade over Zaza as the first backup big man. My main concern is whether being the first backup big man, playing 20-25 minutes per game, will be good enough for him throughout the season.”

i don’t think it would be. the big guy still has a big ego. he’d want to be viewed as the guy coming in to put a team over the top, not a complementary backup.

smartguy

July 5th, 2010
10:28 pm

IS IT TOO LATE TO YANK THAT OFFER FROM JJ??

JUST CAN’T GET PAST THAT DISASTER…

hot err

July 5th, 2010
10:28 pm

Over under on Shaq’s weight after signing his last multiyear deal on a team that has no shot of winning the title: 450 lbs or should we set it at 500?? LOL @ the idea of Shaq showing up to ATL in shape!

Michael Cunningham

July 5th, 2010
10:28 pm

@ steve brown: “Telling that you didn’t mention they are shopping Josh Smith!”

i don’t think they are. more like willing to listen to offers if they come along, which they probably will.

Fundamentals

July 5th, 2010
10:29 pm

I don’t think Shaq could be committed to really helping the Hawks the way we need him to. Not sure he’s what we want, but props to the Hawks for exploring all options. You’ll need a solid return to trade Smoove and even Marvin for that matter.

The only way Shaq would work is if he truly is upset that Kobe got another ring and he wants to get back into the competition. He proved to be no help and a major distraction for the Cavs and Suns.

SAY NO TO SHAQ!

Michael Cunningham

July 5th, 2010
10:30 pm

@Mac Town: “Trade him, send him to go be the starting center for the “New Mexico Thunderbirds” in the NBDL or whatever team that was Mario West was shining on”

Maine Red Claws

lefty

July 5th, 2010
10:30 pm

The big Shaq-fil-a? Will he eat at Mary shaq’s tea room? Taco Shaq? Will he live in Shaqwerth?

~~MAC-ToWN~~ (Area Code 478)

July 5th, 2010
10:30 pm

I agree with moboman. You cant coach or teach size, and it isnt like any of the Hawks reserve big men have done ANYTHING for the Hawks the last few years.

…might as well get Shaq…he still demands attention in the paint. He atleast can put a big body on somebody. Thats more than what Randmo Cop, McDouble Collins, and Pukechulia have done.

JeJe

July 5th, 2010
10:30 pm

How the hell is Horford still supposed to play at Center? Does the ASG not LISTEN to its All Star Center saying he’s a PF?

GOd

Michael Cunningham

July 5th, 2010
10:31 pm

@D Cal: “As long as Shaq could stay healthy, i have no problem at all with the signing. We don’t need him for his offensive presents, we need him for his defensive presents. So i think it would be a solid pickup.”

what if they can get a defensive center for cheaper without the potential headaches?

micaroni715

July 5th, 2010
10:31 pm

The ATL groupie scene is worse than anything he is seen during his career.

Hoops

July 5th, 2010
10:31 pm

I feel excitment in the air Hawks Fans!!!

Resign JJ! Possible signing of Shaq!! Possible trade for CP3!!! Are you kidding me!!!!

What would it take to get CP3? The Hornets would want one of two trades:
1. Send them Josh and Evans($14.1M) for CP3($14.9M) or
2. Send them Crawford and Childress rights($15.6M) for CP3($14.9M).

What do you think ATL!!!

ClassicHawks

July 5th, 2010
10:31 pm

I think Shaq Would Be a Great Fit. He Could Be A Specialty Defender. When We Played Orlando, Or the Lakers He Could Get Mad Run. But WHen We Played Other Teams, Like the Celtics and Chicago and New York, He Could Rest. Man I’m Loving What Rick Sund Is Doing!!!!! We Have So Many Assets Right NOW! If We Would Of Not Signed Joe All That We Are Talking About Would Of Been Out The Door!

I Wish Atlanta WOuld Trade Josh Smith However! I’m A Josh Fan With At Least 3 of His Jerseys, But I Feel Like He is A Tweener! Championship Teams Don’t Have Tweeners, They Players That Fit. Josh Could Be Great If He Had A 18 Foot Jump Shot, But At this Stage Of His Career, I Don’t Know If He Will Ever Have That. I Would Trade Josh For Al Jefferson In Minnesota OR a Chris Kaman In L.A. BUT WITH THAT BEING SAID I THINK THEY NEED TO KEEP JOSH FOR 1 MORE SEASON TO SEE WHAT HE BRINGS. JOSH IMPROVES AFTER EVERY SUMMER AND HE IS STILL ONLY 25!!

Atlanta Has So Many Options and Assests, For The 1st Time In 20 years of Hawks Basketball, I’m Actually Starting to Believe In Management and Reaching the FINALS!! Gooooooooo Hawks!!!!

Knowledge Quest

July 5th, 2010
10:31 pm

Al is trade bait and he knows it and you do too.

~~MAC-ToWN~~ (Area Code 478)

July 5th, 2010
10:32 pm

yeah thats was them @ MC

Fundamentals

July 5th, 2010
10:32 pm

I’d rather add Yi to boost our product sales….not Shaq. We need a young up and coming center option to build with.

Did you check out Silers mugshot for summer league. Kid must’ve added some fatback to his rice dinners. He’s huge! Makes Collins look like a Krystal!

Steve

July 5th, 2010
10:32 pm

Any chance on a Childress, Williams, Bibby trade for Tony Parker?

Josh for Al Jefferson – sliding Horford to PF? Then I like our team, except no SF – oops. Just thinking out loud as they say.

Knowledge Quest

July 5th, 2010
10:33 pm

I would trade Al, Marvin and a draft pick for a top 5 center.

BigCaliDawg

July 5th, 2010
10:33 pm

Shaq is actually more than we need. I believe Kris Humphries would fit the bill for less. We have shoting, rebounding, and blocked shots, but we are light in the a@s. We need a banger.

DO NOT DISRESPECT ZAZA! He is a road dog! He goes toe to toe and chin to chin when the other Hawks players punk out. He needs some slack and Shaq would provide that.

Also, Smoove is my favorite player…..he shoots fewer jumpers than he used to. Trading him would be downright STOOPID and that term is correctly spelled, y’all.

D Cal

July 5th, 2010
10:33 pm

Hack a Shaq at its best..

Rod Johnson

July 5th, 2010
10:34 pm

I would not mind seeing Shaq in Atlanta, but not for $5 Million per year. ASG is overpaying for players, however if you are not a franchise that is know for winning….this is the price you pay. Outside of Shaq…what other quality Centers are there that the Hawks could get cheaper??? My point. ***NONE***

Check me out @ AtlFalconHuddle on Twitter.

Knowledge Quest

July 5th, 2010
10:34 pm

Al wont make it past the first week of practice.

atlienforlife

July 5th, 2010
10:34 pm

Absolutely Najeh, Melo is probably the only player I wouldn’t mind them trading Josh for. I just believe teague is going to surprise people next year!

hot err

July 5th, 2010
10:34 pm

None of the top teams want any part of Shaq. That’s all you need to know. Whoever signs him at this stage of his career is just looking to slap that big grin on some programs and billboards to trick some unsuspecting fans into buying some tickets.

Rico (Kissimmee, FL)

July 5th, 2010
10:35 pm

Oh Yeah!!! SIGN the “BIG PEACH” (SHAQ). We need him for Dwight and other Centers. FREE UP Al Horford finally.