Archive for July, 2010

Atlanta Hawks: Joe Johnson speaks

I had a sit-down today with J.J. after he signed his new deal at Hawks headquarters. Thought you might want to peep the Q and A:

Q. Can you take me through the process of when you met with the Hawks, they made the offer and then you also had interest from other teams?

A. “It was pretty much the free-agency frenzy that was going on. It was a fun time. I enjoyed it. All along I pretty much felt like Atlanta was the place for me. I have had five great years here. I haven’t regretted anything since I’ve been here. I’ve had a lot of fun. The team has improved every year. The coach and the ownership have done everything possible to improve as a team. I think right now, it is pretty much our time. We have just got to believe in ourselves.”

Q. Did the Hawks discuss their plans for the roster during the meeting?

A. “We kind of sat and talked. They pretty much said how they felt about me coming back to the team and how much they wanted me back. It was a great meeting. They said they …

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Atlanta Hawks: Vegas summer league roster set

Former lottery pick Luke Jackson makes Atlanta's summer roster.

Former lottery pick Luke Jackson makes Atlanta’s summer roster.

Finally, after much delay, the Hawks announced their summer-league roster today. The idea was to put together a strong group to benefit Teague’s development. The Hawks ended up with five guys other than Teague with NBA experience, including RandMo.

The others are Luke Jackson (No. 10 overall pick by Cleveland in 2004 draft, 73 games played); Jermareo Davidson (52 games played with stops in Charlotte and Golden State); James Augustine (27 games played with Orlando), and Trey Gilder (two games with Memphis).

Teague will be joined fellow Hawks draft picks Jordan Crawford, Pape Sy and Sergiy Gladyr. The Hawks open play in Las Vegas on Monday.

MC

2010 Hawks Summer League Roster

Alade Aminu, F, 6-10, Georgia Tech (R)

James Augustine, F, 6-10, Illinois (2)

Jordan Crawford, G , 6-4, Xavier (R)

Jermareo Davidson , F, 6-10, Alabama (2)

Trey Gilder, F, 6-9, Northwestern State (1)

Sergiy Gladyr, G, 6-5, Ukraine (R)

Richard …

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Atlanta Hawks: Shaq’s options come into focus

Would Shaq chase another one of these with the Hawks?

Would Shaq chase another one of these with the Hawks?

Chris Tomasson of FanHouse reports that Shaq’s first choice is to play for the Spurs and he wants a two-year deal. Shaq would take the mid-level to play in San Antonio but his “preference” if he joins the Hawks would be to play for more, according to Tomasson.

Sounds like Shaq might be trying to drive up the price for his services. If the Hawks wanted to give him more than the mid-level, they’d have to work out a sign-and-trade with the Cavs. I’m not going to speculate on those scenarios because I don’t know that the Hawks are willing to pay Shaq above the mid-level (or if they even plan to make an offer at this point) and don’t see any deal that would make sense for the Cavs.

I talked with another hack the other day and, just for fun, we tried to come up with some teams that fit Shaq’s criteria:

1. Spurs: Shaq likes Gregg Popovich and the feeling is mutual. Shaq has ties to the area where he attended high school. The Spurs …

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Atlanta Hawks: Money matters

The league set the salary cap at $58.044 million and the luxury-tax threshold at $70.307 million. What it means for the Hawks is J.J.s salary will be more than expected, they gained some wiggle room under the tax threshold and Chill’s qualifying offer could put them in a jam. Humor me with some technicalities so I can be transparent with my math in case it’s wrong (I will update later if I figure out any of the figures are off):

In one of those weird CBA quirks, max deals are not based on the team salary cap, which is 51 percent of Basketball Related Income, but are pegged to 48.04 percent of BRI. (EDIT: reader Robert Dinterman emails to note that Projected Benefits are part of the formula and since those haven’t been made public yet these are just estimates) . For a player with J.J.’s experience, his maximum salary is the greater of 105 percent of his 2009-10 salary of $14.98 million ($15.7 million) or 30 percent of the max cap figure, which is about $16.4 $16.3 million …

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Atlanta Hawks: Nine free agents who can play D (cheaply)

It migh be important for the Hawks to get a guy like Bell, who is willing and able to do this.

It might be important for the Hawks to get a guy like Bell, who is willing and able to do this.

Taking a break from J.J. and the Dwight-influenced fascination with centers for a reminder that perimeter D was more of a problem for the Hawks last season (and during that series) than post D.

L.D. can preach defense all he wants but he needs more guards and wings who can take the proverbial “individual challenge” of guarding their man; the lack of those guys last season hurt Atlanta more than anything else on defense. The good news for the Hawks is it’s easier to find a free agent who can fill that role relatively cheaply, like perhaps for part of their bi-annual exception of up to two years and $4.3 million.

Let me start by saying that, despite the development of advanced statistics, it still can be a subjective exercise to measure good defense. Synergy’s numbers, the counterpart production at 82games and the defensive ratings at Hoopdata, Basketball Reference and Basketball …

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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, …

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Atlanta Hawks: Al Horford’s summer

Al, standing back right, with the winning All-Star squad. (www.singaporesports.sg)

Al, standing back right, with the winning All-Star squad. (www.singaporesports.sg)

The first part of Al Horford’s summer was personal. Now he will get down to the business of improving his game and maybe later think about a contract extension with the Hawks.

First, the personal: Al was scheduled to return to Atlanta yesterday after participating in Basketball Without Borders in Singapore last week. Al went to Mexico as part of the program last season but made his first-ever trip to Asia. Joining him in Singapore were Trevor Ariza, Francisco Garcia (Go Cards), Corey Brewer and Taj Gibson.

“It’s been a great experience for me so far,” Al said from Singapore. “I think we have made the most of it here, helping the kids and a doing a lot of activities with the NBA. I’ve had a blast. The Singapore people are excited about basketball here. The campers have been great. They are from all over Asia and some from the Middle East.”

The NBA guys’ activities included hosting a Special …

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Atlanta Hawks: Joe Johnson is back

Joe Johnson’s agent, Arn Tellem, confirmed in a blog post at Huffington Post that Johnson accepted the terms of a six-year contract offer from the Hawks. Johnson and the Hawks finalized the details of the deal on Sunday but a contract can’t be signed until July 8 under free-agent rules.

In the blog post, Tellem offered some insight into J.J.’s decision:

When the free-agency period kicked in, Joe made a point of talking to the Hawks first. Their owners and new coach, Larry Drew, impressed Joe with their commitment to making the team championship-caliber. In turn, Joe felt equally committed to the Hawks, his teammates and the city of Atlanta.

With all his success, Joe remains as grounded as he was a decade ago at our first meeting in Little Rock. His priorities are his family, his friends and his game. Joe could have forced a sign-and-trade deal for five years with another team, but he decided that winning in Atlanta would be more meaningful. When the Hawks offered the maximum — …

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Atlanta Hawks: Still on track with J.J.

It’s still not (unofficially) official yet but Joe Johnson and the Hawks remain on track to reach agreement on a six-year, maximum contract for the free agent.

The Hawks and J.J. have been working out the details of the contract since a second meeting on Thursday. Some reports suggested Johnson was waiting to see what happens with other free agents before accepting the deal, but the Hawks have been confident a deal would be reached.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports! tweeted early Sunday that “the Bulls and Knicks have long since moved on” from trying to recruit J.J.

The contract is expected to be worth roughly $120 million, with the exact value to be determined after the league completes its audit later this week. The Hawks and Johnson can agree to terms now but a contract can’t be signed until July 8.

Once the contract is signed, the Hawks would about $63 million in salaries committed to 10 players for 2010-11. That includes J.J.’s projected salary of roughly $15.8 million …

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Atlanta Hawks: Still waiting on J.J. (Sat. Update: Hawks confident, patient)

SAT. UPDATE: Despite the rumblings about J.J. bolting to team up with another All-Star , the Hawks remain confident he will accept their max contract offer.

There hasn’t been discussion about a sign-and-trade because Joe still hasn’t given Atlanta any indication he doesn’t want to re-sign. The Hawks expected the process would take a few days so, from their perspective, nothing has changed. Hawks blog legend Sekou agrees that everything is still on track for an agreement.

Note to my blog people: I’ve been trying to avoid posting new blogs unless there’s a significant development in the story so you can continue your comment threads. If you are interested in more frequent updates/chatter/discussion, you can follow me on Twitter. If you are not on Twitter, you should be. . . .

The apparent hesitation by J.J. to accept the Hawks’ six-year, maximum contract offer has led to speculation that perhaps he’s waiting to see what happens with LeBron and other top free agents before …

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