Archive for August, 2010

Atlanta Hawks: Summer reading: Al, Jamal, Etan and Pape

It's looking like No. 15 comes before No. 11.

It’s still looking like No. 15 comes before No. 11.

It still doesn’t look like the Hawks are going to offer Jamal Crawford the kind of long-term contract extension he’s looking for, and it still looks like an extension for Al Horford will be GM Rick Sund’s priority when he returns from vacation.

The Hawks can offer Horford an extension that starts in 2011-12 and is worth up to $82 million over five years. The deadline for a deal is Oct. 31.

The incentive for the Hawks to offer Horford the extension is to prevent him from becoming a restricted free agent next summer and signing an offer sheet they’d have to match to keep him. Signing Horford to an extension now would provide cost certainty. It also would provide security for Al, who would get a big-money deal without doing the RFA song-and-dance.

But the uncertainty cuts both ways for the Hawks. The next CBA could be more favorable to owners, and the maximum offer sheet available to Al next summer could be significantly less …

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Atlanta Hawks: Etan Thomas on ’short list’ for Hawks

Hawks interested in Thomas. (

Hawks interested in Thomas.

Jorge Sierra at reports the Hawks are close to signing free agent center Etan Thomas. Hawks assistant general manager Dave Pendergraft confirmed the team had Thomas in for a workout but said Thomas is one of a handful of free agents the Hawks are considering.

“He’s on a very, very short list,” Pendergraft said. “We were pleased with the workout.”

Pendergraft declined to comment on the other candidates for Atlanta’s 13th roster spot. But he said the team likes its options and is “not in a leftover situation” in its search for another center.

“We are very satisfied with who we’ve got under contract and we are looking to see who can accentuate that other position,” Pendergraft said.

Thomas played for the Wizards when Hawks coach Larry Drew was on Washington’s staff. Thomas averaged 14 minutes in 23 games for Oklahoma last season after injuries limited him to 26 games for Washington in 2008-09. He missed the 2007-08 season after undergoing …

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Atlanta Hawks: Jamal Crawford wants trade if Hawks don’t extend his contract

Crawford wants out of Atlanta if he doesn't get an extension.

Crawford wants out of Atlanta if he doesn’t get an extension.

Jamal Crawford has told the Hawks he wants to be traded before the 2010-11 season if the team doesn’t offer a contract extension to his liking, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

Crawford, whose current contract expires after the season, asked the Hawks for an extension last month but has yet to receive an answer from the team. If Atlanta balks at offering Crawford what he considers an extension reflecting his market value then he would rather play elsewhere for the final season of his contract, according to the person familiar with the circumstances.

The person did not want to be identified because neither Crawford nor the Hawks have commented on his desire for an extension. Hawks GM Rick Sund, who is on vacation, declined comment tonight through a team spokesman.

Sund’s practice has been to not extend contracts for veteran players who aren’t on their rookie-scale contracts.

Crawford, 30, will …

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Atlanta Hawks: There’s not only shame in the same

Don't forget there's a lot of talent in this picture and more on the bench.

Don’t forget there’s a lot of talent in this picture (and more on the bench).

While wrapping up his positional rankings, Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don’t Lie tabbed Al as No. 4 among centers. Now that Dwyer has completed his rankings, it’s a good time to take stock of his perspective on the Hawks and what that might mean for 2010-11.

Dwyer ranks J.J. No. 4 and Jamal No. 12 among shooting guards. Dwyer has Smoove as the seventh-best power forward . Marvin is No. 21 among small forwards on Dwyer’s list.

You can quibble with the exact position Dwyer puts Atlanta players on his list but I don’t think you’d get much argument if you said J.J., Josh and Al are all top 10 players at their position and Jamal is a top 15 shooting guard (and top 2 or 3 among bench players). That’s significant talent and it’s important to remember as a quiet summer has (understandably) led to a focus on what the Hawks lack.

It may be difficult to look at a roster with the same rotation as last season and

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Atlanta Hawks: Down the road, Dampier might be best of rest

'Damp' might be best of big men left once he's released.

‘Damp’ might be best of big men left once he’s released.

There doesn’t seem to be much enthusiasm for the remaining free-agent centers. Understandable considering it wasn’t a deep crop of free agents to begin and it quickly thinned out after Shaq finished off the second wave of signings and now really looks to be shrug-worthy with Kwame Brown in Charlotte.

Brown’s signing also seems to mean Erick Dampier is the odd center out in Charlotte from among Nazr Mohammed and DeSagna Diop. As training camp approaches, the Hawks will look to see which vets are waived and presumably they’d be interested in Dampier if he’s let go since he’s probably a better option than the other centers on the market (comparisons below).

Dampier is owed $13 million in non-guaranteed money next season so Charlotte could waive him to clear salary but Bobcats GM Rod Higgins says he’s seeking to trade Dampier after Sept. 13. No team is going to pay Dampier that salary so he’ll become a free agent one way or …

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Atlanta Hawks: Kwame Brown off the board

Re-u-nited and it feels so . . . strange.

Re-u-nited and it feels so . . . strange.

Another free-agent center off the board for the Hawks as Kwame Brown joined up with Charlotte. Brown’s agent told’s Marc Stein that Brown signed with the Bobcats for the veteran’s minimum

For those who still care to keep track, that narrows down the list of free-agent centers the Hawks are known to have some degree of interest in to Francisco Elson, Brian Skinner and Josh Boone.

Atlanta had some interest in Brown, who is the second center to opt to sign elsewhere for the same money–and it’s not like he’s chasing a ring or something like Shaq. Brown isn’t on strong Shaq’s level, of course, and it never seemed like the Hawks were that high on him. Still, it’s interesting that he decided to reunite with MJ and play for Larry Brown.

Agent Mark Bartelstein addressed the Jordan part:

“There’s been so much written about the fact that this was Michael’s first pick [as an executive] and so much criticism directed at both of them …

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Atlanta Hawks: ‘Dynamic pricing’ for tickets in 2010-11

Last season the Hawks charged “marquee” prices at Philips Arena for games against the Celtics, Cavaliers and Lakers. They are expanding that concept in 2010-11 with “dynamic pricing,” a technology developed by Qcue that allows prices for individual game tickets to be adjusted in real time.

QCue says it’s technology “allows event promoters to respond to the real variables that drive fans to attend events, enabling every event to be priced independently and updated when market conditions changes.” So when you check the price for those Hawks tickets at Ticketmaster one day, the price for the same seat could be different the next day–or even later that same day.

The strategy allows for more flexibility than static prices set months in advance. For example, if the Heat comes to town and LeBron and D-Wade are both out with injuries (or sitting out that final home game), then the market for any remaining tickets could be expected to soften. Conversely, if a blockbuster trade at the …

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Atlanta Hawks: Do six teams have two better point guards?

Can Hawks turn the corner if Bibby is still the main point guard?

Can Hawks turn the corner if Bibby is still the main point guard?

Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don’t Lie is ranking positions 1 to 30, starting with point guards. According to Dwyer, every team in the league has a point guard better than Bibby and Teague. Dwyer believes six teams have two better points: the Rockets (Kyle Lowry and Aaron Brooks), Raptors (Jose Calderon and Jarrett Jack), 76ers (Jrue Holiday and Lou Williams), Cavs (Ramon Sessions and Mo Williams), Nuggets (Ty Lawson and Chauncey Billups) and Spurs (Tony Parker and George Hill).

Dwyer’s list should bring one of Atlanta’s main dilemmas into focus. The Hawks’ so-far fruitless quest for an impact big man has crowded out most other conversation surrounding the team, though I’ve tried to sound the bell at times about point guard/perimeter D being larger concerns. If Teague can’t take control the way the Hawks hope and play major minutes as an offensive spark/defensive deterrent, then center could be the least of Atlanta’s …

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Atlanta Hawks: No go on Earl Boykins

When I saw Christopher Reina’s report at RealGM about the Hawks “reaching out” to Earl Boykins, it didn’t make sense on a few levels.

For one, from everything I’ve heard the Hawks aren’t really interested in adding another guard. Also, Boykins doesn’t really seem to fit into L.D.’s “interchangeable parts” philosophy. And why would the Hawks add a veteran point guard when they are trying to bring along Teague?

But I figured maybe the Hawks wanted to bring Boykins to camp as some kind of insurance, so I checked it out. I was told there’s nothing to it, that it’s a “crazy rumor” and that the Hawks are still focused on adding a big man. So it looks like Boykins won’t even get a camp invite from the Hawks.

– There should be a resolution to the Pape Sy situation this week. He’s looking for a buyout from Le Havre of the top French league.

“I like his size,” L.D. said. “He’s really strong on the drive. I don’t know if he’s been watching NBA players already but he’s already doing …

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Atlanta Hawks: Drew says Teague ‘has got to earn’ Bibby’s spot

Teague will have to go all out for starting gig.

Teague will have to go all out for gig.

You might have noticed Bob Bender stood in for Bibby during Camp Drew and figured that means Bibby, not Teague, heads into 2010-11 as the starting point guard.

And you’d be right.

When Hawks camp opens on Sept. 28, Bibby will be the incumbent at point guard. Rook’ is going to have to take the job from him.

“He’s got to earn that,” L.D. said. “It’s not just going to be handed to him. If he proves it, he has an opportunity. I will come back with the starting lineup we’ve had in the past. Unless somebody clearly, clearly beats somebody out, [then] that’s something I would have to take a look at. But I am going with the normal guys [to start].”

That’s not surprising since Hawks coaches spent much of Summer League saying they’d like to see Teague be more assertive. Plus, Teague has yet to do anything to show that he deserves the job. There’s a chicken/egg element to it–did he never really get the chance to prove he’s ready to be lead dog, …

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