Atlanta Hawks: Camp chatter

Emptying the notebook . . . .

Some observations and chatter after two open practice sessions at Philips Arena:

– The Hawks haven’t offered Shaq a contract yet. There’s still the open question of what kind of role he’s willing to accept on his new team. The Hawks also are said to be looking at Brad Miller, Ilgauskas, Kurt Thomas, Kwame Brown and Anthony Tolliver.

Johan Petro was a possibility before he agreed with New Jersey on a three-year, $10 million deal. That should give you an ideal that it’s still a seller’s market for centers.

L.D.’s summer plan for Teague:

“What I told him is basically I am going to turn him loose. I want him to be himself. I don’t want him to be concerned about making mistakes and missing shots because I have all the confidence in the world in his ability. He can break the defense down, he can get into the interior of the defense. He knows how to make plays. He is just one of the guys on our team with that breakdown ability. I want to allow him to be himself and play carefree and go out and have fun. No restrictions for him.”

– Teague will make his summer league debut but already seems hip to the difference between that and the real thing. “It is totally different when you play with guys who have been in the league a while. It makes the game a whole lot easier for you. But the summer league, it’s just going out there and showing what you can do. Show that you have the ability to run a team and play at this level.”

– He’s ready to be turned loose: “I think that’s the easiest way to play when you are with guys you are not familiar with. Just get up and down. Start getting stops and push it. The offense that we run, it is kind of complicated. You know guys are not going to remember it when they get in the game and start going one on one.”

– Teague on L.D.’s offense:

“I can’t really explain it. It’s kind of like a Princeton motion offense. Everybody is going to get shots, everybody is going to get touches. You can do everything out of it. You can get down-screens, pick-and-rolls. It is kind of a unique offense. It is perfect for our team. We’ve got a lot of guys who can handle the ball on our team and it gives them a chance to show what they can do. And you also get to move the ball. We didn’t get a lot of movement last year and that was something that hurt us. The offense makes it where that isolation thing is not there anymore unless you get it at the top of the key and the shot clock is winding down. Then you have some players who are really good in isolation like Joe. He’s going to add to the offense and have plays like that. But most of the time it is movement, back screens and cuts, posts for Smoove and Al and pick-and-rolls.”

Pape Sy (pronounced “Pop See”) is getting positive early reviews. It seems he really did kind of come out of nowhere–he said he didn’t work out for any other teams, though Milwaukee had some interest.

– Pape said he played both guard positions in France. So how did a 6-7 French kid become a point guard? Credit his mother Fatim, whom Pape said coaches youth players in France. “When I was young I wasn’t really tall. [But] my dad is taller than me [so] my mom knows that I would be tall. So she [taught] me how to handle the ball and after that I grew.”

– Pape is legitimately 6-7 and quick with long arms. Those are the tools for a good defender and Pape also seems to have the tenacity for it. “He’s a good defender,” L.D. said. “Ask Jeff Teague. Took [the ball] from him. [Teague] got a little lackdasical with the ball and he just took it from him. He’s a gritty defender. He’s got good size, he’s got long arms and he’s got an aggression about him. You can’t be lax around him.”

– Chances are Pape and Sergiy Gladyr are headed back to their European teams next season, Le Havre in the French first division and Bàsquet Manresa of the Spanish ACB League respectively. Both players have a year left on their contracts. The Hawks could buy out their deals but they have no plans to do so. “Now is not the right time,” said Hawks assistant GM Dave Pendergraft. “We brought them over here to get experience. The game plan is for them to learn the system and get them some exposure to some NBA-level players.”

– Sergiy can really shoot it. “[Spain] is a perfect place for him,” Pendergraft said. “It is a good league, arguably the second-best league in the world, and he gets to play.”

– L.D. on Jordan Crawford (how’s JC2 for a nickname?): “This kid has speed, he has quickness, he can make shots. He does a great job reading the defense. I see him being a real good plus to us because the kid can score. He has that uncanny ability with scoring, whether out on the perimeter or getting to the basket. He finds ways to score. He seems to be a pretty clever basketball player. I am excited about him.”

– L.D. isn’t turning him loose like Teague, though. He wants Crawford to get used to his likely role with the Hawks, which means being a low-volume, high-efficiency scorer. “I know he was a big-time scorer in college and I don’t want to take away his aggressiveness,” Drew said. “But shot selection is a big key at this level. I will allow him to be himself but I will be letting him know if I think it’s a bad shot.”

– Here is what Kelvin Sampson, Crawford’s coach at IU, had to say on that topic when I talked to him for a Crawford story: “Sometimes talent can be a blessing and sometimes it can be something that’s tough to handle. Talented kids have a tendency to think they can do anything. The thing I tried to impress upon Jordan was shot selection. He thought they were all good shots. He would say, ‘Coach, I can make that.’ Well, that’s fine but 1 out of 10 is probably not good enough. Give me 8 out of 10 or at least 6 out of 10.”

– Crawford looked to be winded during the two practices that were open to media. That’s no surprise since L.D. put the players through some pretty intense workout sessions and it’s doubtful Crawford has gone this hard since March.

– It looks like RandMo, James Augustine, and Alade Aminu all will get a shot to make the roster. L.D. on RandMo coming out for summer league: “I thought it was a great gesture on his behalf. Some guys who have been in the league a few years, their pride won’t allow them to play in the summer league. But he sees it as an opportunity. I tip my hat to him for that. I am going to give him an opportunity to show what we can do.”

– The Hawks have been a surprisingly slow-paced team considering their stable of athletes. L.D. said he wants to change that. “I would, with that athletes we have,” he said. “We have got guys that can get up and down the floor. We have got big men that can handle the ball. We have go to rebound to do that. And if you [run] you have got to be smart, selective. You don’t want to go crazy with that.”

Smoove stopped by Philips and watched some of the practice. What’s he been working on this summer? “I have been looking at some of my old tape. I am still studying what I need to work on. Back when I was playing and then to now, it looks a whole lot different. I always have room to grow. You will always be a student of the game as long as you play. There is always room for improvement.”

– Josh is on board with the plan to add a big. “To have somebody that can be down there and be strong and dominant, somebody that is going to rebound and finish around the bucket and catch the ball. Me and Al can take care of the rest. We could use a little more help, a little more depth. I think we do extremely well with a lot of the bigs in the league. We seem to struggle with guys like Dwight and . . . just pretty much Dwight. We need somebody who can help us with that if we have to face him in the playoffs again.”

– Like Shaq, for instance? “He definitely brings that maturity and the leadership. He definitely brings that experience we need. He has won titles. He’s been there in the postseason so he knows what it takes to win and I think he would be a good guy for the locker room.”

– Smoove on the Miami SuperFriends: “Those guys have to make it work. We have a group of guys that have been together for a long time and we know what each other likes to do. From that standpoint, I think we have the upside on them.”

– L.D. expects new lead assistant Lester Conner to help develop a defensive mentality for the Hawks. Said Conner: “They’ve won 50-plus games the last two years but when they get to the second round they kind of stumble. When you get to the second round, you’ve got to bring the toughness and energy out of guys to get to the next level. We want to pattern ourselves after the Celtics, the Orlando Magic. You’ve got to play defense. If they don’t buy into that, it’s going to be the same thing. Our job as a staff is to get them to buy into that.”

– Conner will coach the summer league entry while L.D. observes.

– I’m out, blog people. Hope all of that info whets your appetite for a minute. I will check the comments later but right now a brotha needs a breather.

MC

326 comments Add your comment

OK

July 12th, 2010
12:07 am

Najeh, LIKE CARMELO ANTHONY!

OK

July 12th, 2010
12:07 am

SWEET BABY JESUS!

Justin

July 12th, 2010
12:07 am

Najeh,
Doesn’t it also allow the Hawks to sign a free agent straight up. His salary is excempt from the salary cap, but not the luxury cap. Is this true, or can it only be used in a trade?

Najeh Davenpoop

July 12th, 2010
12:08 am

The 2nd-round pick is most likely worthless, considering this team’s recent history with 2nd rounders, but the trade exception could be valuable in the Hawks’ quest to add another big piece to this team.

i_am_soulstar

July 12th, 2010
12:08 am

That exception is very valuable for a team over the cap, or any team for that matter.

northcyde

July 12th, 2010
12:09 am

We also got a 5 to 6 million Trade Exception in the deal as well. There’s your Shaq money right there. Good move by Sund . . if he uses the TE.

Najeh Davenpoop

July 12th, 2010
12:09 am

“JJ signed a contract to play with the Hawks and not a sign-n-trade. Hawks couldn’t trade him until 3 months after he signed the contract or Dec. 15th, whichever is later, per my understanding of NBA contracts. ”

This is correct.

Najeh Davenpoop

July 12th, 2010
12:10 am

“We also got a 5 to 6 million Trade Exception in the deal as well. There’s your Shaq money right there. Good move by Sund . . if he uses the TE.”

If Sund elects to go this route, it would essentially be like having two mid-level exceptions, since the mid-level is also worth somewhere between 5 and 6 million.

OK

July 12th, 2010
12:10 am

GIVE THE TE TO MINNESOTA FOR RYAN HOLLINS OR GET CARMELO FOR BIBBY AND MO EVANS

Grandad

July 12th, 2010
12:11 am

Great another 2nd rounder with which we can sell
-OR-
draft a Euro & keep him over there for 8-10 years.
-We-
basically get nothing for childress [a valuable chip].

HawkKingBibby
Did I miss the part about the trade exception?
Are we to receive a T.E. as part of the transaction?
I’m not even sure I understand the whole concept of
how trade exceptions are generated to begin with?

northcyde

July 12th, 2010
12:12 am

@ Najeh . . . . yesssssir

Najeh Davenpoop

July 12th, 2010
12:13 am

“Doesn’t it also allow the Hawks to sign a free agent straight up. His salary is excempt from the salary cap, but not the luxury cap. Is this true, or can it only be used in a trade?”

By the rules it can only be used in a trade, but in practice many transactions involving trade exceptions work similar to outright signings. The LeBron and Bosh signings were “trades” even though Miami didn’t give up any players; they gave up picks and trade exceptions worth the amount of each contract. The Hawks could use their trade exception in a similar way. For example, if they want to use it on Shaq, the Cavs could sign-and-trade Shaq to the Hawks for the amount of the trade exception, and the Hawks would send the trade exception to the Cavs with maybe a 2nd round pick or something thrown in.

OK

July 12th, 2010
12:14 am

We’re back in the game Baby!

Justin

July 12th, 2010
12:14 am

If the Hawks don’t do something very productive with that trade exception, then I am ready to say that this offseason was a massive flop for the Hawks.

i_am_soulstar

July 12th, 2010
12:15 am

Najeh,

I agree, a 2nd round pick for the Hawks is probably another “Rights Held” player waiting to happen.

Melvin

July 12th, 2010
12:18 am

Najeh,

Agreed. That Trade Exception is very valuable. Especially if the Hawks want to use it to acquire another player.

Najeh Davenpoop

July 12th, 2010
12:20 am

“I’m not even sure I understand the whole concept of
how trade exceptions are generated to begin with?”

A trade exception is just a chunk of cap space. Over-the-cap teams are supposed to make dollar for dollar trades, but under-the-cap teams don’t have this restriction. When a free agent from an over-the-cap team signs with an under-the-cap team, the over-the-cap team can elect to receive cap space equaling that player’s contract instead of players whose salaries match.

In this case, Amare Stoudemire went from Phoenix (an over-the-cap team) to New York (an under-the-cap team), signing a contract worth $20 million annually. New York is under the cap and has no restriction and can sign Amare outright, but if Phoenix wants to sign-and-trade him, they have to take back $20 million in annual salary because they are over the cap. Instead of taking back salary, though, Phoenix sign-and-traded him for $20 million in cap space which allows them to get around the regular cap rules; this is why it’s called a trade “exception”.

Phoenix is now using this chunk of cap space to send Leandro Barbosa (who makes $7 million annually) for Hedo Turkoglu (who makes $11 million annually). Normally they can’t do this, but they ate into $4 million of that trade exception to make this deal work; since Toronto is also over the cap, that $4 million of trade exception goes to them, for them to use in a future trade. Next, they are signing Childress for $6 million annually, which eats into a corresponding $6 million of that trade exception; since Atlanta is over the cap, that $6 million comes to Atlanta for the Hawks to use in a future trade. This means Phoenix now have a remaining $10 million of cap space with which they can get around the normal salary cap rules.

I may be off on the numbers here and there, but that’s basically how a trade exception works.

Najeh Davenpoop

July 12th, 2010
12:23 am

The restriction on trade exceptions is that they expire a year after they are created; so a year after the day Amare signed his contract, the trade exception will expire. (At least that’s how I understand it; it may be a year after the trade exception is acquired for each team, which would give the Hawks and Raptors more time to use their exceptions than Phoenix.) So anything the Hawks want to do with that exception would have to be done before next year’s free agency period. Usually teams use their exceptions before that year’s trade deadline.

Mystikal

July 12th, 2010
12:24 am

Anyone have any confirmation on this deal, what’s the source?

macaroni tony

July 12th, 2010
12:27 am

i_am_soulstar what is this twitter feed saying. So we will get money for JC

Grandad

July 12th, 2010
12:29 am

Najeh

Thank you ever so much.
I’ve been over @ Larry Coon’s FAQ
& left confused. But, you saved
the day in plain English.
Thanks again!

OK

July 12th, 2010
12:31 am

1) Use the MLE to Aquire Shaq

2) Trade For Ryan Hollins using the TE

3) Use the 3mill from the #31 pick to buy out Pape Sy’s contract with the france club because we need a wing

OK

July 12th, 2010
12:32 am

Trade Mike Bibby and Mo Evans OBVIOUSLY.

Grandad

July 12th, 2010
12:36 am

Najeh

I realize I’m pretty stupid, but, let’s say we flip
the TE & the 2nd round pick acquired from PHX, for
Shaq in a S&T [hypothetically] of course.
We would then still have our Mid-level, correct???

Mystikal

July 12th, 2010
1:07 am

Enter your comments here

slim

July 12th, 2010
3:44 pm

Sure Woodson was holding people back! He was a terrible hire from day one but what did you expect from that idiot BILLY KNIGHT who hired Woodson.Hawks loose by forty in Miami….