Atlanta Hawks: Their Crawford conundrum

Can the Hawks keep Crawford smiling?

Can the Hawks keep Crawford smiling?

Just two weeks until training camp, blog people, and all is quiet on the Hawks front. And under the circumstances, “quiet” really means: “Jamal Crawford and the Hawks might be headed for a showdown.”

As everyone knows, Crawford wants a contract extension for what he believes to be his market value or, failing that, a trade. He’s pushing for an extension both because of the past (his Sixth Man of the Year season) and the future (the looming specter of a new CBA).

The Hawks have contemplated Crawford’s request for going on two months now. But they seem reluctant to offer him a long-term contract because of the past (long-term deals for Bibby and Marvin last summer and J.J. this summer) and the future (possible contract extension for Al).

That brings us to the present. The best-case scenario for the Hawks would be for Crawford to report to camp and put the extension talk on the backburner with promises to take care of him later, no hard feelings. That way Atlanta gets Crawford doing his thing off the bench for another season and doesn’t have to add him now to its growing list of long-term financial obligations.

But you have to wonder how that would sit with Crawford. In his only public comments since word leaked of his pay-me-or-trade-me request, Crawford didn’t shoot down the stories and instead pointedly declined to even talk about playing for the Hawks in 2010-11.

That doesn’t sound like a guy who has any intention of backing off his request. Crawford would report to camp without the promise of an extension since there’s no real advantage for NBA players to hold out. He also would have incentive to put in another good year with a good team and hit free agency next summer with his value still high.

But Crawford also would see that he’s the only member of Atlanta’s proverbial “core” who isn’t under contract beyond 2010-11. Whether you think the Hawks should extend Jamal or not, we’ve all seen situations where players (or people, really) who don’t feel appreciated or respected by their organizations also aren’t as productive.

The fact that Crawford apparently is willing to play out the final year of his deal elsewhere suggests he fits into that category. Crawford’s “nice guy” public demeanor is what you get in private, too, but this, as they say, is business.

So this is the dilemma faced by the Hawks. They have the most leverage because they have Crawford under contract and are under no obligation to offer him an extension or trade him. The Hawks could tell Crawford they aren’t in position to meet his contract demands and don’t intend to trade him, and then hope Crawford’s desire to showcase for his next deal while playing for a winning team eventually will trump any hurt feelings.

But taking that stance could threaten the team’s chemistry and cohesion before the season even gets started. I don’t need to remind you that both of those things unraveled for the Hawks by the end of last season. L.D. already has a lot on his plate before adding a disgruntled sixth man to the list.

That’s not to say the Hawks will give in to keep Crawford happy but they obviously have to consider how not doing so could affect chemistry. You can see where both sides are coming from in this. Harder to see is the room for compromise if Crawford sticks with his demands and the Hawks stick with their fiscal plan.

The Hawks probably anticipated Crawford would seek an extension after he slid seamlessly into the sixth man role and turned in his best season. What they may not have foreseen was that the request would come with a “or trade me” addendum, which has led to this delicate dance as camp approaches.

Things are quiet for the Hawks right now but a storm could be brewing.


332 comments Add your comment

Rev in Tampa

September 13th, 2010
3:12 pm

Niremetal, Najeh, & nothcyde:

Your three posts regarding Jamal are spot-on. He is a great guy and my favorite Hawks player, but his greatest value to the team is what he can bring in a trade. I cannot see where Jamal has any real leverage.

Rev in Tampa

September 13th, 2010
3:13 pm

I do believe that Jamal will play hard with or without a contract extension. It benefits nothing to slack off and only hurts is future value.

The Ayatollah

September 13th, 2010
3:13 pm

Houston would be too dumb if they traded Battier for Jamal. They lose a premiere defender and role player and add another gunner to a team that alredy has Kevin Martin, who is a gunner extraordinaire and better than Jamal. They also have the young Courtney Lee.

That trade makes no sense whatsoever and Rick Sund has never been smarter than Daryl Morey. Try again. Maybe we would get Trevor Ariza but he has already been moved to New Orleans.


September 13th, 2010
3:19 pm


September 13th, 2010
2:57 pm
Northcyde, if the Hawks could get Battier for Crawford, it would be very hard not to listen to that offer. Then Evans would be allowed to play SG”.

Ramon, you really don’t want that to happen. No way does Mo do anything significant to the contributions of our current SGs. Personally, I thought Mo was brought here for defensive SF purposes. What I have seen is not what I’d thought I’d see, kinda like what I thought it might be like had Matt Barnes come here.

But Mo is a reserve and here just in case we lose Marvin for a couple of weeks. He can’t help us in long stretches though. Like others, I think swapping a JC1 for Battier would make us better overnight as we should balance out our positioning more. Because like we’ve seen in the past, we aren’t getting much out of our SF even if we need more out of him. I know, I know, the coach kept him down and limited.

Hard to be positive about this team without having to point out the obvious.

Najeh Davenpoop

September 13th, 2010
3:22 pm

“By the way, given the past accomplishments (and rational forecast) of the Hawks, should they even have a “Sacred Core” of more than 2-3 players?”

Co-sign. And were it not for the team’s salary structure limiting the ability of the Hawks to make any significant moves, even a 3-player core would be debatable.

The Ayatollah

September 13th, 2010
3:28 pm

Three’s company. Seven’s a crowd. The core is a blasted joke.

drmaryb (*_*)

September 13th, 2010
3:46 pm

Hot Stuff!

Ramon said:
“By the way, everyone still talks about drafting Marvin Williams. But I would much rather be the franchise that drafted Marvin over Chris Paul, instead of being Portland and watching Durant prove that he’s better than Lebron or Wade.”

Enthusiastic Co-Sign! The entire post is worth re-reading!

Big Ump!

Hey Baby, these kids don’t know me – but, I swing hard and fight dirty!
LOL! I welcome opposite opinions, I actually LOVE a great debate.
But, if one attacks my character? I get low down and nasty!
That’s the bytch in me! But even then, I add humor, because to
me? It’s ALL entertainment and should be fun at ALL times.

I will always support the Coach and Players. I was the biggest
Mr. Woodson supporter and cried when he was fired. Now,
I will support Drew, Joe and the gang! I am the quintessential
FAN. I love my Hawks – Win or Lose!

I hope we can keep Jamal and resign Al. I recommend we wait
until their contracts are expired and do the deals next off-season.
We should pay them their fair market values, even if it means
tickling the daunted – Luxury Tax!

This organization can not afford to let good talent walk away
for nothing in return!

Happy Daze are ahead … trust me!


September 13th, 2010
3:46 pm

Good point Ramon. But since I’m not a huge fan of Mo Evans, I would hope that a Mo vs Jordan showdown would occur during training camp for that backup SG spot. And if Jordan beats him out, so be it.

I personally think that Jordan’s shot creating abilities trumps what Mo can bring to the table. And if he proves to be better defensively at SG ( which Mo’s defense is overrated ), then Drew should definitely go with the new “Rook”.


September 13th, 2010
3:56 pm

Kevin, I wasn’t saying to start Mo. But in a lineup with Marvin, Battier, and Joe, Mo would be best served at SG than SF. The difference between Barnes and Mo is 3-4 inches. Also Barnes has a crazy wingspan that Evans doesn’t possess. I wish we could replace Evans with someone like Fred Jones. But its not happening, lol.


September 13th, 2010
4:01 pm

What’s sad is we could probably sign Jamal for what we gave Marvin. Yikes! And I dont know about yall, but if I was starting a team from scratch, I’d have to go with Durant. Over LJ, Wade, Kobe. All of em. This guy is something special. Can play any position on the floor. Damn near 7ft. Just a beast. Looks like Portland did it again. Could it be possible to pass on the best player of all-time TWICE? Bowie over Jordan times two. Ouch! And to think, we coulda had him as our sf if OKC woulda went with Horford. Al’s not a bad consilation prize though, unless your’re comparing him to KD.


September 13th, 2010
4:04 pm

Co-Sign *niremetal -&- Ayatollah*

There is NO in between!

Trade ‘im or sign his ext.
One or the other.
No limbo.
That ‘would’ alter chemistry.
I think it hurt with *Joe last year.
*[even though ASG offered]
*(he was playing for a new contract)
I still think [chem] between Joe & Jamal is strained.
Trade ‘im or sign ‘im.


September 13th, 2010
4:05 pm

Ramon, Bibby, Crawford, and Zaza, for Billups and Martin? Hell yeah I’d do it. Faster than u can say……..

drmaryb (*_*)

September 13th, 2010
4:16 pm

The Right Stuff!


Let them ignorant Joe haters hate. Your post with stats
tells The Truth, The Whole Truth and Nothing But – The Truth!
It basically confirms what I thought to be True!

Mr. Johnson is a very nice player and he is what he is:
Nothing More – Nothing Less!

Joe will not: pound his chest, initiate contact in the post,
breathe on the microphone or body slam the floor for a loose
ball. He is a smooth, finesse player. End of Discussion.

Jamal is basically the same player who draws a little more
contact than Joe. And, has a smaller body frame to do it in.
Less consistent scorer than Joe. But, a very valuable player
overall and better than others on this team who are overpaid
for what they do. We all know who they are and so do they.

I say, trim the fat and keep it lean by keeping the better talent.
Add more key pieces.


I say the AS Killer Group does more to hurt Chemistry than
the damage the nay sayers claimed Shaq would IMHO.


September 13th, 2010
4:17 pm

It don’t really matter what the hawks do when you have power house teams like the heat,celtics and magics.Also you have a bulls team that improved and also the bucks(took hawks to 7 games without micheal redd and there center).Unless the hawks surprise me and i find that very unlikely,it will be a long time before we can talk championship.


September 13th, 2010
4:21 pm

Let the trade scenarios begin: Sept. 13th
This one works: [Trade Machine]
*Jamal* to -Dallas-
-Hawks- get *Jason Terry* -&- *Alex Ajinca*
(I know, I know, why do I love AA so much)?

*Dallas needs a [2]!
*Dallas trying to move AA


September 13th, 2010
4:23 pm

Grandad, what is Terry’s salary/contract looking like? I am personally believe if you trade Jamal it should be to get a PG or a SF back in the deal. I also think when moving Jamal, if they take Jamal they should also have to take Bibby or Mo!

Ken Strickland

September 13th, 2010
4:29 pm

Drafting Jordan Crawford, instead of a young BIG, was a calculated decision. They wanted to have someone to replace Jamal Crawford in case something like this happened. And Jamal is perfectly aware of what drafting Jordan Crawford means to his future with the Hawks.

He’s obviously making his demands now because he wants the Hawks to show their hand before Jordan Crawford and Pape Sy have a chance to show what they can do. He doesn’t want to wait and be traded at the trade deadline, which would be the best situation for the Hawks.

He would be invaluable providing instant OFF, and closing out gms, until all of the players get comfortable with, and confidence in, LDrews new OFF. He could be a very valuable trading chip at the trade deadline to a jump shooting team like Dallas, who could certainly use a versatile, penetrating scorer like Jamal, and who also has an abundance of BIGS, which the Hawks might surely covet.

Michael Cunningham

September 13th, 2010
4:30 pm

@KevinM: “I gotta ask since we have JC2 on the roster, are they looking at him as the possible replacement should JC1 just play out his contract?”

it looks like that’s the line of succession.

Michael Cunningham

September 13th, 2010
4:32 pm

@ James B.: “One other question MC, Is it possible that a Jamal Crawford trade can bring in the player(s) needed to become a serious championship contender?”

sure it’s possible. you have to look at Atlanta’s needs (including the hole left without Jamal) and determine if they can swing a deal that strengthens one of their weak areas. it all would depend on Crawford’s worth and a team willing to deal, of course.

Michael Cunningham

September 13th, 2010
4:33 pm

@ Josh kinsey: “I feel like the only question left to answer about the hawks roster is whether or not Pape Sy is being brought over and put in D-League.

YO MC, great coverage all off-season. Love all the updates!!”

thanks . . . once the Pape Sy buyout is completed, which should happen soon, he will be a D-League candidate.

Michael Cunningham

September 13th, 2010
4:35 pm

@newkid: “C’mon MC. What stands between the ASG/Hawks and a successful championship run is not the ‘team chemistry’ as may be affected by the handling (or not) of the circumstances surrounding Jamal.”

i don’t think i said that? but i think we can agree an unhappy and less productive Crawford wouldn’t make them any better.


September 13th, 2010
4:36 pm

Ramon, if we could pull off that trade, I’d buy season tickets. lol! And they can keep Kenyan. No need for another pf. Just give us Chauncey.
Billups/Joe/Josh/Al. Hell yeah. Billups would bring out the best in all 3 of those guys..

Michael Cunningham

September 13th, 2010
4:39 pm

@AJ: “If he becomes a “chemistry issue” then he blows the goodwill that he earned last season and turns into Ricky Davis.”

that made me laugh out loud.

drmaryb (*_*)

September 13th, 2010
4:39 pm

Ken S.

I believe Jet Terry an Iverson have residences in Atlanta.
Either would be nice in Atlanta. Iverson would fill a lot of
empty seats and he will take it to the hole hard!

And, Iverson would play for the MLE or Vet Min.


September 13th, 2010
4:42 pm

I would trade Crawford with Marvin for a legit center……. JJ will be hogging the ball yet again, so HOW will the Hawks improve ?


September 13th, 2010
4:45 pm

I love Jamal Crawford. However, under no circumstances should Rick Sund fold to these contract demands. This is a nice story. It is great to see Atlanta in the fold among teams with potential contract issues on the horizon. I can only hope that Atlanta becomes a trend setter. Jamal Crawford is not a young player. He is not a started. I am against offering him any long term deal until he can consistently show that he can score and shoot at a high percentage.

We have had some really bad contracts within the organization lately. The Speedy Claxton contract was a disgrace. Mike Bibby is stealing money and Marvin Williams is GROSSLY overpaid. We need to focus upon signing Al Horford to join Joe Johnson and Josh Smith with long-term deals. We need to identify ways to unload either Bibby’s or Williams’ contracts to clear space for either a real center or better point guard.

Is Crawford special? Of course he is. However, he has to display consistently and prove that he can start at PG (something that I would highly suggest to Larry Drew).


September 13th, 2010
4:48 pm

I would rather the Hawks keep Jamal. The Hawks definitely overpaid for Joe they were not fiscally responsible they could of used some of that money for Jamal who was arguably better and more consistant than Joe at points during the season. Losing Jamal the Hawks definitely would take a step back.


September 13th, 2010
4:49 pm

@ everyone posting silly trade scenarios: Do you guys really believe that Denver is going to trade Billups? As I sit here in the offfice, I wish I had the cool-aid that you guys are drinking. FYI: under no circumstances can Atlanta trade a 26 year old center (Zaza Pachulia) without having another one in the fold. We have no interior players. I am shocked when I here basketball fans in Atlanta talk about trading Pachulia. The guy is young and big…something we do not have on our roster.

At the end of the day, Crawford has the right to seek a new contract. Atlanta has a right to ask him to complete the fair contract that he signed when he was a free agent. I do not believe that many times outside of Atlanta were beating down his door last summer. He will be at camp, and he will drop 25 points on one night and score 8 the next two, before dropping 28 points on the next night. There is a reason that Atlanta showed Joe Johnson the money!


September 13th, 2010
5:07 pm

EaglesNation, why use ‘Kool Aid”? You have the internet. So why not go and research the hundreds of articles that have rumored Denver wanting to trade Billups, because they have Lawson now. And while you’re at it, take a moment and think about if the Nuggets had Crawford how easier for them it would be to trade J.R. Smith. The Nuggets view Martin as a great player but too expensive for their roster now, especially with his history of health problems. So by giving them Zaza, Crawford, and Bibby, they’re getting a big to replace Martin who is much cheaper. They’re getting the best scoring guard they’ve had since Iverson. And they’re getting a PG who can come off the bench with playoff experience, and a manageable salary.


September 13th, 2010
5:09 pm

Eagles, the Hawks do not need a backup C who can’t play defense. Zaza best attribute is he gets offensive boards. But what is his NEXT best attribute? A healthy Etan Thomas is more of what the Hawks need this season.


September 13th, 2010
5:16 pm

Yea if you can trade Crawford and get a better sf in here then you do that move all day……And not Hawks related but its funny hearing all the excuses Falcons fans are making for Ryan. Its either the o line, offensive coordinator, or the wr’s. Sounds like the same excuses I heard for the former qb but somehow they are legit concerns now. Hmm go figure.


September 13th, 2010
5:18 pm

The Mello thing is a dead horse its New York or bust for him Billups or Martin would be a good trade money wise .


September 13th, 2010
5:19 pm



September 13th, 2010
5:23 pm

Offer him a $6.5M/year extension. If he is unhappy with the drop in pay (in order to keep the payroll in check) then I’d definitely take that Crawford-Battier trade.


September 13th, 2010
5:39 pm

Ramon, I didn’t say you wanted to start Mo, but if you think Mo can give you anything near what JC1 brings, you aren’t being realistic. And Marvin, Mo, and Battier aren’t going to be on the floor at the same time if that is what you were inferring.

“Ken Strickland
September 13th, 2010
4:29 pm

Drafting Jordan Crawford, instead of a young BIG, was a calculated decision.”

Uh, we didn’t draft JC2.

I can bet a dollar that JC2 wasn’t brought here to cover us so we could move JC1. He is here because the ASG/Sund had ZERO clue on what Joe was doing.

And JC1 isn’t worried about what 2 draft picks are going to show either. He could probably score every time going 2 on 1 against them.

We would have been better off keeping Damien James to push Marvelous harder than having JC2 on the bench.


September 13th, 2010
5:42 pm

ken been meaning to get back with you on something you said last week but you havent been around much. you compared us to ok. we are and havent been even close to what they are doing, they bought draft picks for 7 footers this year as we sold em saying ti was for an investment in the near term. sorry, they seem to be a lot more aggressive on their management end. look at their roster lately about 4 guys at 7 foot or more with others close to it. they didnt even look twice at resigning the reject we signed for our back up big in etan thomas and they had a closer look to him than we did.

they have drafted wisely and built some size and length along with develop a young point guard that wasnt heavily pursued out of college, maybe a steal of his draft. it is the type of pick that reminds me of rondo instead of our blunders with acie and maybe teague. they achieved what we wanted in three years where it took us six. they also might have pushed any of our eastern teams right out of the playoffs into the finals themselves if they could have played the east instead of the west. yes, look out for the thunder. they may be very legit and a real bargain until folks line up to say i want mine starting with durant.


September 13th, 2010
5:55 pm

Kevin, its not about if Mo brings close to what Jamal brings. Mo makes 20% of what Jamal makes, so that’s already a foregone conclusion. Its about Mo not having to pay SF, period. Mo is not a small forward. No matter how many times they put him in that position, he still plays better at SG than he does at SF. We’re stuck with Mo for this season. We’re not stuck with Jamal this season. We have an option to trade Jamal. But I can’t think of one team who would trade for Mo. So if he’s going to be forced to play this season, I’d rather it be at a position that he plays the best.


September 13th, 2010
5:57 pm

Sorry doc, but no way OKC beats Boston last year.

The Truth

September 13th, 2010
6:01 pm

“We’re stuck with Mo for this season. We’re not stuck with Jamal this season. We have an option to trade Jamal.”


Hawks fan 101

September 13th, 2010
6:03 pm

Just Trade Jamal Crawford and 2 draft picks to the Charlotte bobcats for Erick dampier and Boris Diaw


September 13th, 2010
6:17 pm

Jamal was being selfish and stupid damanding that trade from asg. I thought he knew ATL doesnt have any money. He is on a winnig team for the first time in his career and he wants to blow it. WAit till next year. youlll probably get a 3 year deal.


September 13th, 2010
6:20 pm

I still if we trade jamal which i hope we dont we trade him for chauncey billups.


September 13th, 2010
6:30 pm

ramon, they split last year, both teams losing on home court. there record against the east during the season suggests it wouldnt be a walk.

Norman Cochran

September 13th, 2010
6:59 pm

You know it use to be understood that just with a handshake on an agreement that both sides would honor their commitments. Now with pro sports salaries completely out of control I have no sympathy for the players or the owners. It is true the owners own the franchise and the players are employees, but the owners greed has pushed payroll through the roof. I can not see paying the lucrative salaries that these players are asking for these days. To me if a player can not honor his contract then he needs to be barred from the league. Likewise for the owners!!!


September 13th, 2010
7:02 pm

asg is cheap everybody in the world know that, even in tanzania and suberia. so they do saving on jc in order to extend al. but players not fools, they understand, this ownership not commited to winning. what if al going to ignore atlanta (like lebron) to play for real contender even with less money. we could lose both and another decade of rebulding with bad draft lottery pick.

drmaryb (*_*)

September 13th, 2010
7:56 pm


What about sending Jamal to Charlotte for Daimpeer-SP.
A small player for a big center would be a major coup!

How can that work and who can we package up on the
Trade Machine? IDK how to use that thing.

Hawks Fan In New Orleans

September 13th, 2010
8:33 pm

I would love to see him trade although I would hate to see him go. The most articulate player outside of Bibby and Horford on the team and an asset to the community, he is the most streaky player on the squad. Hopefully in due time, JC2 can provide the offensive numbers JC1 provide with added consistency. And better defense. Crawford for Collison would have been that move though.

Ken Strickland

September 13th, 2010
9:01 pm

DOC-you seem to have forgotten the big X factor that hurt the Hawks, and that was HC MWoodson. First, he obviously lied to GM BKnight, and pretended to be on the same page as Knight, as far as wanting to play uptempo basketball, drafting and developing young players, as well as building through the draft.

Contrary to what WOODY LOVERS want to believe, it was MWoodson, not GM BKnight, who made public his doubts about the ability of both DWilliams and CPaul to be successful at the pro level. He clearly didn’t want either of these two PG’s, or any other rookie PG for that matter.

No matter how talented a player is, if his HC has a particular bias against him, and refuses to give him consistent opportunities, mins and support, it’s very hard for that player to succeed. I believe you’ve mentioned it before, but we saw the same type of situation take place with PG CBillups and C BWallace earlier in their careers.

I believe LDrew has selected his roster based on what he feels best fits the style of play he intends to promote, as well as what he intends to accomplish. I believe he’s dead serious about forcing other teams to match up to the Hawks and what they’ll be doing. While, on the other hand, most Hawk fans are rooted in the belief of there being only one way to skin a cat, and therefore are fixated on constructing the roster to match up with everyone else, especially the Magic.


September 13th, 2010
9:13 pm

doc, I agree with your post at 5:42pm it was spot on. I watched OKC play the Hawks last year and was thoroughly impressed with Westbrook and Jeff Green they play fearlessly.

Where the Hawks play scared and confused at times including Josh, Al, and Marvin. They defend very well and look as though they are building a team to competer for a title. I like the way they drafted and bought picks to develop the young bigs they wanted.

Hawks skipped on Hassan Whiteside and Alabi for 3 million and PoPo Sigh!! Why not take young guys with upside and develop them as opposed to trying to bring in retreads (Powell and E. Thomas), same money.

Don’t get me wrong I like what E. Thomas has done in the past and think J. Powell is a decent backup big. But there is a huge difference in having a plan and building a team to compete for championships and just maintaining status quo without a clue!!

I also understand J. Crawford’s situation, but the Hawks hold the cards make him play out his contract and trade him at the deadline if JC2 and Po Po Sigh can contribute quality minutes by midseason.

Back to football!!!

Hawks Fan T2

September 13th, 2010
9:23 pm

Bottom line the Hawks shouldn’t have resigned Joe Johnson. He has not proven himself to be a big time player,and Jamal Crawford was the difference in many of our games last year. I’ve always been a Hawks fan and can’t tell you how frustrating it is to sit back year after year and watch management make bad decisions. Here is some of our history.

Dominique Wilkins deal brought us Danny Manning. Wow?
We take Sheldon Williams in the draft. Severely overrated player.
We decide to pay John Koncak so Detroit couldn’t get him?

At what point will we get someone who can make the decisions needed to place us in contention for a championship?
I’m beginning to wonder if they even want to win.