A few notes from my rounds today during the official unveiling of your 2010-11 Atlanta Hawks . . .
Jamal was there, though I wouldn’t say he was exactly thrilled. Jamal said he “loves it” in Atlanta and wants to stay for the long term. He didn’t really address the contract situation or the trade demand directly but it didn’t take much reading between the lines to figure out what he’s feeling.
Does he think he will be in Atlanta for the near future?
“I honestly don’t know. I would love to work something out and be here long term. Last year I would have thought this was home and I’m part of the team’s future. But if it doesn’t work out that way I guess we will just have to cross that bridge when we get there.”
Does he want a trade if he doesn’t get the extension?
” I don’t want to talk about that. I will leave that up to Rick [Sund] and my agent to talk about.”
Does he feel disrespected by the lack of an extension?
“I wouldn’t say that. It’s not to that point yet. I know these things take time. I’ll just be patient and go with the flow.”
Does he have a deadline by which he wants an offer?
“Not an exact timeline.”
Does he want an offer before the start of the season?
“That would be very nice.”
How much does the uncertainty with the expiring CBA play into his situation?
“A lot of it has to do with it. With the CBA, there is no telling what [happens].”
This was the first time he’s faced the full media contingent since the end of last season. Similar to my interview with him after he signed his contract, J.J. didn’t seem concerned about any fallout from his comments about fans during the Orlando series.
Is he worried about how fans will perceive him?
“Not at all.”
Does he think fans will “forgive and forget?”
“I hope so. But all I’m going to do is come out and play hard and help us win.”
My feeling is that, no matter how many times or ways he’s asked about this issue, an apology or expression of regret isn’t coming from J.J.
Joe said he still believes the Hawks are among the best teams in the East. He said last season was a “great season, and I’m looking forward to an even better season.”
J.J. said he’s not concerned about the Heat. Asked what he thinks about the team they’ve assembled, J.J. pointedly said: “I haven’t seen them play yet.” It’s a good point.
He said he’s excited about L.D.’s new offense because “it will help us all out.” I asked him if he has any reluctance to alter his game after so many years of personal success with that style: “I’m going to be able to adapt to whatever L.D. has for us.”
Josh worked this summer with NBA trainer Idan Ravin.
“He pushed me. We worked on various things: ballhandling, the midrange jump shot. And whenever I got an opportunity to play 5-on-5 I worked on making better decisions on the floor. I know it’s just pickup but when you get in that situation and really work on things you are not so strong at.”
He’s still not ready to play after surgery to clean out cartilage in his right knee. Mo said it would be about another two weeks before he can do court work. Right now his focus is on building strength.
Mo said training camp is about preparation but, as a vet, he’s not too worried about missing time.
“I don’t think they are trying to see what they’ve got in Mo Evans,” he joked.
He played 14 games in international competition for his native Georgia and is proud that his country qualified for the European Championships for the first time in any team sport. Zaza, the national team’s captain, said he always comes back feeling energized and confident from being The Man.
Zaza said he also comes to camp with a better attitude after he butted heads with Woody over playing the last couple years.
“I’m getting my confidence back,” he said. “It wasn’t a great year for me last year. After talking to L.D., I’ve cleared out my mind.”
He is indeed noticeably slimmer–Zaza joked that Collins was motivated by the new slim-fitting unis. Twin said his regiment included a modified diet, cardio and weights.
Collins said he’s looking forward to L.D. deploying a deeper “bigs” rotation.
“That sounds great to me,” he said. “It also will allow Horford to play some power forward. Josh won’t have so many minutes and can be fresh for the playoffs.”
Conditioning is going to be a major focus for camp. L.D. is timing players in the mile today.
“If they don’t make their time, they’ve got a lot of extra conditioning,” he said.
(An aside: I told L.D. I ran a mile in 7:29 the other day and he wasn’t impressed. “You’ve got to be in the sixes.” Dang.)
Drew said he’s confident he can install all of his offensive system and defensive coverages by the time the season starts.
Drew said he hired Nick Van Exel as a player development coach in large part to work with Teague:
““The intriguing thing with him is he is not far removed from the game. He had a great career. As everyone remembers, he played with an edge [and] played with a kind of chip on his shoulder. I told him that’s his job with Jeff Teague is to get him to play more with an edge every time he steps out on the floor. I know from when I seen him working with Jeff and staying in Jeff’s ear, I can see it rubbing off a little bit.”