Atlanta Hawks: Catching up

I’m back in the saddle after a two-week hiatus from the beat. Yes, it was only two weeks away from work. The frantic emails, messages and comments from my blog people made it seem like I abandoned my child for two months. But I will take it as a good sign that some of you suffered separation anxiety without the blog. I can tell you I had no problem coping.

Anyway, I predicted not much interesting would happen while I was gone and it looks like I was pretty much on point. That doesn’t mean nothing happened, though, so let me give a rundown in no particular order. . .

What happened: The Hawks re-signed free agent center Jason Collins to a one-year contract.

What it means: Atlanta thinks Collins will be more effective in 2010-11 because he will be in better shape. Word is he’s already lost a significant amount of weight. Also, ASG’s Michael Gearon Jr. is on record as saying (stop me if you’ve heard this one before) he didn’t think Collins was properly utilized by Woody. So maybe L.D. gets Collins gets more minutes.

What happened: The Hawks signed free agent forward Josh Powell to a one-year contract.

What it means: The Hawks essentially swapped Joe Smith for a player who is about the same height, 15 pounds heavier (at least before recently cutting off his braids), and eight years younger.

It’s hard to make a straight comparison since the Powell has logged just 3,293 career minutes compared to 26,953 for Smith. But they played equal minutes last season, when Powell continued to be a much worse offensive player than Smith even considering Smith’s decline. Really, from a statistical standpoint, I can’t see anything that Powell does appreciably better than Smith and a few other things he does worse.

He’s heavier, though, so I guess that’s something.

What happened: Signing Powell and Collins pushed Atlanta’s team salary (the figure used to determine if it must pay the luxury tax) to roughly $67.6 million for 12 players.

What it means: The Hawks must add one player to get to the league minimum of 13. They have about $2.7 million to spend until they exceed the tax threshold. To add a player or players and avoid the tax, they can use all of the bi-annual exception of $2.08 million, part of the mid-level exception of $5.765 million or one or more minimum-salary exceptions.

What happened: Shaq remained unsigned as the market for his services continued to dry up.

What it means: If Shaq really wants to play for a contender, then he’s likely going to have to play for the minimum or not much more and also accept a bench role. If he will do both, the Hawks remain interested.

What happened: Mo Evans had arthroscopic surgery to repair knee cartilage damage.

What it means: The Hawks say the surgery, performed last week, was minor and Mo will be ready to go for training camp.

What happened: L.D. added Kenny Gattison to his staff.

What it means: After hiring Lester Conner as his lead assistant, L.D. got another coach who earned a hard-nosed reputation as a player. I have to think that means defense, rebounding and overall toughness will be a focus for the Hawks.

L.D. said shooting coach Mark Price won’t be retained.

What happened: ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported that Jamal Crawford asked the Hawks for a contract extension.

What it means: I’ve heard Jamal would like an extension but not sure how much he’s really pushed the issue since he knows Al would be next up for a deal. It’s not hard to see where Jamal is coming from: He likes playing for the Hawks, he had a strong season and like all players he’d like to get a new deal under the current CBA.

But I can’t see where it would benefit the Hawks to give J.C. a new deal before they see how this season plays out. If things don’t go as they hope, then Crawford becomes either a nice trade piece at the deadline or his $10.1 million salary comes off the books after the season. Either option would give the Hawks some flexibility to regroup.

What happened: Smoove got married.

What it means: Don’t ask me. I’m single.

What happened: Blog commenter Truth-Serum once again became a punk when left unsupervised, sullying my blog people with his childish antics.

What it means: In addition to confirming that dude has too much free time and some serious issues, he’s had his multiple IPs banned for the umpteenth time. He’s always found a way around that and in the past he’s been allowed to return because his manic phases are usually followed by periods of lucidity laced with mere annoyance rather than outright jerkiness.

But now his ban is permanent. Each time he comes back he will be booted as quickly as possible regardless of the content of his messages (which won’t be hard to identify since 99 percent of his posts are on one topic). I don’t like to do this because I’m a marketplace of ideas proponent, but Truth-Serum has lost his privileges for being the only commenter who can’t act right.

Thanks to my blog people who emailed the AJC folks to let them know he got out of control while I was away.

MC

238 comments Add your comment

Melvin

August 2nd, 2010
3:13 pm

Welcome back MC

Derrick

August 2nd, 2010
3:13 pm

nice update MC

Rev in Tampa

August 2nd, 2010
3:13 pm

Welcome Back!!!!!

Derrick

August 2nd, 2010
3:18 pm

I’m sure the rest of the NBA is shaking in their sneakers after our Collins and Powell signings

hawks poop

August 2nd, 2010
3:18 pm

Good to have you back. First

Fundamentals

August 2nd, 2010
3:19 pm

Goodbye Truth Serum – Welcome back MC

Tony from Stone Mountain

August 2nd, 2010
3:25 pm

nobody

August 2nd, 2010
3:26 pm

Its been awhile

doc

August 2nd, 2010
3:26 pm

Welcome back plenty of news plus a blog first expulsion

dsoll705

August 2nd, 2010
3:26 pm

thirteenth…

Stockdog

August 2nd, 2010
3:27 pm

First. Thank God your back. I agree with your assessment. Five dollars and Josh Powell gets you a cup of coffee. Can’t see where this helped us much. I guess another body will be good.

Tokyo Tom

August 2nd, 2010
3:27 pm

Welcome back!

G-Dot

August 2nd, 2010
3:29 pm

doc

August 2nd, 2010
3:29 pm

Found myself in moderation now andcstrwnge for one simple sentence

Like the Powell comment as I am not impressed in the pick up in the least

Tokyo Tom

August 2nd, 2010
3:29 pm

Whoops- hit the submit button too fast: When does training camp open & are there any other chances for JT to get in practice playing the point (summer leagues, etc) before training camp opens?

Stuart

August 2nd, 2010
3:32 pm

Just hope the Hawks can remain a legit contender… with or without Shaq… or, are there any other legit big men on the market? Who are the Hawks looking at to fill that last roster spot? Any change Mario West comes back (and gets playing time..)?

G-Dot

August 2nd, 2010
3:33 pm

MC please don’t ever leave us for that long ever again. Felt like the longest two weeks of my life. LOL! Who do you think fits for that final roster spot? Are we going to go get a big or a swingman?

Jay Dubu

August 2nd, 2010
3:33 pm

Welcome back, and thanks for the update all things Atlanta Hawks!!!

Stuart

August 2nd, 2010
3:33 pm

Rev in Tampa

August 2nd, 2010
3:34 pm

MC, it was painful to see Truth-Serum self-destruct in front of us. Most everyone migrated to the Fan Nest after that (even before the AJC shut down the blog). The biggest developments in the blog community include a memorable 12-hour debate betweeen SteveW and Niremetal. They parced Al Horford’s quote in your interview every way imaginable. And Ken Strickland is winning more hearts & minds to his position by consistently urging patience and cautious optimism toward the Hawks current ‘core’.

Jay Dubu

August 2nd, 2010
3:36 pm

Unless LD have a vastly different approach from what Woody had, and can get the players to buy into it, I don’t see how the Hawks can expect to be as good as last season. Forget being better. You have the same group of core players, and a bench that may have taken a step backwards (Powell).

Sautee

August 2nd, 2010
3:37 pm

Welcome back MC. Hope you got some good time off.

Why is the entire blog in bold?

MsDee

August 2nd, 2010
3:38 pm

YOU ARE BACK!! WE MISSED YA, MC!!

Astro Joe

August 2nd, 2010
3:39 pm

Welcome back. Just out of curiosity, did Evans injure his knee during the season, was it an old injury from just wear & tear over the years or did he hurt himself while riding a scooter with Monta Ellis?

Michael Cunningham

August 2nd, 2010
3:39 pm

@ Melvin, Derrick, Rev, Fundamentals, doc, Stockdog,Tokyo:

thanks. i needed the mental break but back in action

@Toyko: “When does training camp open & are there any other chances for JT to get in practice playing the point (summer leagues, etc) before training camp opens?”

Hawks camp will open on or around Oct. 1. JT and Teague are in Vegas for a camp this week but i think that’s geared to individual skills.

Melvin

August 2nd, 2010
3:43 pm

MC,

I can’t seeing Shaq agree on both of those terms to play for the Hawks. I think he has too much pride to reduce himself to a journeymen that’s in need of a next gig. I think the Hawks will have to up their price before he accept a bench role…

hawks_4_life

August 2nd, 2010
3:48 pm

Hahaha truth serum…..

ant banks

August 2nd, 2010
3:50 pm

mc,

i am excited about the princeton motion offense that larry drew is goin’ to infuse into the hawks. do you think that this will translate into more wins? how will collins operate under this system? do you know anything about it?

MsDee

August 2nd, 2010
3:57 pm

I too have enjoyed Ken Strickland’s comments..he is very positive about the Hawks and the ASG’s decisions, for the most part. I have to agree with him totally!! I usually only read and few others on here due to the fact that most are too critical of the team they say they are ‘fans’ of. Sund and the ASG are making wise decisions right now, while still having money to play with later during the mid part of the season for final trades b4 the deadline. You dont break up a core that has increased in wins for the past 5-6years, that’s JUST STUPID! You find the obvious problem, and remove it. Case-in-point, Woody is gone! And you then add QUALITY help. Adding Shaq is not ness QUALITY HELP if he will only be the next Allen Iverson/Maubury by creating issues to a team who needs no added issues. And I’m not mad either at the Powell signing just yet, NONE OF US KNOWS WHAT HE CAN OFFER THE HAWKS DUE TO BEING BURIED ON THE BENCH WITH THE LAKERS, (THE WORLD CHAMPS). KOBE AND OTHERS TALK HIGHLY OF THIS GUY WHILE IN PRACTICE. HE COULD BE OUR GLEN “BIG BABY” DAVIS. AN UNDERSIZED HUSTLER!!

Michael Cunningham

August 2nd, 2010
3:58 pm

@ AJ: “Welcome back. Just out of curiosity, did Evans injure his knee during the season, was it an old injury from just wear & tear over the years or did he hurt himself while riding a scooter with Monta Ellis?”

thanks . . . wear and tear for Mo. he’s on the shelf for 2-3 weeks.

Michael Cunningham

August 2nd, 2010
4:01 pm

@ Melvin: “I can’t seeing Shaq agree on both of those terms to play for the Hawks. I think he has too much pride to reduce himself to a journeymen that’s in need of a next gig. I think the Hawks will have to up their price before he accept a bench role…”

i tend to agree. he might be a journeyman for a team that has a real title shot but the problem is he’s burned bridges with three of what should be the top five or so teams: Miami, Orlando, and Lakers. i think the Hawks’ price isn’t going to go much above the minimum, if at all.

Michael Cunningham

August 2nd, 2010
4:01 pm

@ Melvin: “I can’t seeing Shaq agree on both of those terms to play for the Hawks. I think he has too much pride to reduce himself to a journeymen that’s in need of a next gig. I think the Hawks will have to up their price before he accept a bench role…”

i tend to agree. he might be a journeyman for a team that has a real title shot but the problem is he’s burned bridges with three of what should be the top five or so teams: Miami, Orlando, and Lakers. i think the Hawks’ price isn’t going to go much above the minimum, if at all.

Astro Joe

August 2nd, 2010
4:04 pm

Michael Cunningham

August 2nd, 2010
4:04 pm

@ ant banks: “i am excited about the princeton motion offense that larry drew is goin’ to infuse into the hawks. do you think that this will translate into more wins? how will collins operate under this system? do you know anything about it?”

all good questions, wish i had more answers. i don’t really see how the new offense could mean significantly more wins–53 is an accomplishment. what the Hawks hope is that it means better performance in the playoffs when opponents get locked in on scouting and defense gets tighter.

it was tough to tell about the offense in Vegas but you already could see lots more motion. LD is supposed to be having a clinic for his assistants soon to teach them the finer points of his offense. i’m hoping i can get access to that so i can understand it better, too.

Michael Cunningham

August 2nd, 2010
4:06 pm

@ Sautee: “Welcome back MC. Hope you got some good time off. Why is the entire blog in bold?”

i did, thanks. . . . because i screwed up the formatting. fixed.

Michael Cunningham

August 2nd, 2010
4:08 pm

@ Stuart: “Just hope the Hawks can remain a legit contender… with or without Shaq… or, are there any other legit big men on the market? Who are the Hawks looking at to fill that last roster spot? Any change Mario West comes back (and gets playing time..)?”

i’d say no on Mario or any other 1, 2 or 3. JC2 probably gets Mario’s minutes. the Hawks are still looking for another big. there’s not much out there. i think the Hawks are willing to be patient in case someone shakes free closer to training camp.

Melvin

August 2nd, 2010
4:09 pm

Thanks MC. I guess I can stop dreaming about Shaq in a Hawks uniform. Bring on Kwame Brown (with arms open)…

dap01

August 2nd, 2010
4:09 pm

MC: Glad you are back. What happened to the “exception” that came with the Childress trade? What happened to the $3,000,000 that came on draft night?

What do you think will happen with the 13th player? That is the minimun number for a team, so far the Hawks have achieved only the minimum.

Sautee

August 2nd, 2010
4:10 pm

MC,

Ahhh, thanks. My laptop was leaning over from the weight of all that boldness.

Any chance of a player-by-player report on what they worked on this summer?

Michael Cunningham

August 2nd, 2010
4:10 pm

@G-Dot: “MC please don’t ever leave us for that long ever again. Felt like the longest two weeks of my life. LOL! Who do you think fits for that final roster spot? Are we going to go get a big or a swingman?”

haha. ain’t gonna lie and say i didn’t enjoy some R&R . . . .

each time i ask around about a swingman, i keep hearing the Hawks believe they are set there. so it’s most likely going to be a big.

Michael Cunningham

August 2nd, 2010
4:13 pm

@ Rev in Tampa: thanks for the updates. i really don’t understand Truth-Serum. when he wasn’t being a jerk, he added something to the discussion. i didn’t agree with 99 percent of it it but he was within the bounds of civil discourse. but then he would suddenly go back to his scorched earth act. it must take a lot of time to create all those screen names and post that garbage. i don’t see why anyone would want to do it.

which Horford quote did they debate?

Michael Cunningham

August 2nd, 2010
4:15 pm

@dap01: “MC: Glad you are back. What happened to the “exception” that came with the Childress trade? What happened to the $3,000,000 that came on draft night? What do you think will happen with the 13th player? That is the minimun number for a team, so far the Hawks have achieved only the minimum.”

thanks . . . they still have the exception, which is good for one year after the trade was completed. i’m assuming the $3 mil is in ASG’s account. the Hawks still want another big for the 13th spot but are willing to wait things out until closer to camp.

Michael Cunningham

August 2nd, 2010
4:16 pm

@ Sautee: “Any chance of a player-by-player report on what they worked on this summer?”

hope to run all that down as best i can. as you might imagine, these dudes aren’t very reachable during the summer, especially for a reporter. can’t say i blame them.

MsDee

August 2nd, 2010
4:21 pm

MC,

Out of all the players, I’m really only concern with what is Marvin doing in the summer? Is he one of the guys you were trying to run down?

Rev in Tampa

August 2nd, 2010
4:22 pm

MC, I am including SteveW’s summation of the argument at the point at which niremetal went to bed. But the argument started up the following morning.

SteveW wrote:

Niremetal – I mean, what facts do you deny? Which are my opinion and I state them as facts?

1) Did Yahoo sports report on April 26th that ATL was shopping it’s 1st pick? Fact or opinion?

2) Was there a negative fan backlash? Fact or opinion?

3) Did Micheal Gearon Jr. refute the shopping of the 1st pick on MC’s Twitter on April 29th? Fact or opinion?

4) Did the Hawks recieve the equivalent of selling the 1st pick bsically, by selling the 31st pick, and the savings of the slotting between the 24th pick and the 27th pick – fact or opinion?

5) Did MC report that in context, Sund indicated that the 3m as to be used on vets, later identified as vet bigs -and MC was there present – fact or opinion?

6) Did Horford say he was waiting to see what other Free Agents that ATL pursued before contemplating his future – fact or opinion?

7) Did Horford say we needed an impact Center to be a conteder in the East – fact or opinion?

If we have to have 13 guys per league rules – and we had 3 vet bigs at the league minimum – wouldn’t you assume that Horford was talking about something other than vet minimum players? And if so, what money would ATL use to acquire them? The 3m! Fact or opinion?

I Heart Atlanta

August 2nd, 2010
4:25 pm

M.C. SOOOO GLAD UR BACK!!!!!!
Do You think Shaq would actually go overseas? I couldn’t see it happening

terrell

August 2nd, 2010
4:26 pm

I dont care how many reg season games we win. Just dont get embarrased in the 2nd rd.

The Real JC

August 2nd, 2010
4:26 pm

Welcome back, MC!

Glad to see Mark Price gone – I could be the Hawks shooting coach. “Joe, Jamal, shoot. Josh, don’t. Marvin, Al, shoot if you’re open.”

Rev in Tampa

August 2nd, 2010
4:27 pm

One of the underlying issues, that is only alluded to in SteveW’s quote, is that Horford might leave the Hawks if the management does not bring in a true center. The quote in question is Horford’s desire to have help down low for Josh and himself.

niremetal

August 2nd, 2010
4:30 pm

Welcome back, MC. I think that Powell is one of those guys for whom stats are bound to be misleading considering that he was backing up Gasol and Odom and, when he made it to the floor, was asked to do pretty much nothing except play on-ball post D and rebound. Personally, I liked the way he played. Whether he brings anything to the table besides a good attitude and good hustle remains to be seen.