Archive for November, 2011

Atlanta Hawks: Video: Free agent focus

I talked Hawks today with CineSport’s Noah Coslov. No news so far on the free-agent front. Check back tomorrow for a report from the first day of workouts at Philips.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

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Atlanta Hawks: Jamal Crawford’s free-agent journey

According to Frank Isola of the Daily News in New York, Jamal prefers “returning to the New York area if he does not re-sign with the Atlanta Hawks.” Isola suggests that Jamal’s chances of signing with New York or New Jersey increased when he signed with agent Andy Miller, who “has close ties to both the Knicks’ and Nets’ organizations.”

As a proponent of the popular “players almost always take more money” school of thought, I’ve never followed the “agent-likes-the-team-so-player-will-sign-there” angle. The same dots were connected for J.J. to the Knicks even before last summer (“Done deal”) . The same kind of thinking also had J.J. going to Chicago (“dead set on joining the Bulls”).

We know how all that turned out once the Hawks flashed more cash at J.J. So let’s be real: That’s what Jamal is looking for, too, as he seeks out his last big contract. How do I know this? Because Jamal is a human being who responds to financial incentives. Also, I follow him on Twitter.

For …

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Atlanta Hawks: No magical relief for Hawks in CBA’s Sam Amick obtained details of the principal agreement between NBA owners and whatever-the-current-union-group-is-called. The full document is here.

It looks like the cap and tax levels will remain about the same: $58 million and $70 million, respectively. As noted previously, this doesn’t leave the Hawks much room to add salary below the tax threshold since they have about $65 million in guaranteed salary committed to seven players and must add at least six more.

There is an amnesty provision in the (tentative) deal, to be used one time over the life of the CBA (10 years, or six if either side decides to opt out). It can be used only on existing contracts and will allow 100 percent of the players’ salary to be removed for cap and tax purposes. The “stretch” provision, which would allow a waived players’ payments and cap salary to be spread out beyond the length of the contract, will be available only for new contracts.

My reading of the agreement suggests the amnesty …

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Atlanta Hawks: Tentative deal reached to end lockout

Stayed up until the wee hours anticipating an end to the lockout. And so of course the news didn’t break until like 3 a.m.David Stern, Billy Hunter and deputy commish Adam Silver emerged some three hours later to announce a tentative labor agreement.

No word yet on details of the agreement (and what it will mean for the Hawks’ shaky cap/tax situation). But the goal is to open training camps and free agency on Dec. 9 and play a 66-game regular season starting on Dec. 25. The Hawks are scheduled to play at New Jersey on Dec. 27 but word is the schedule will be reset much like it was at the end of the last lockout.

NBA team personnel will not allowed to speak publicly until the deal is officially ratified. That won’t happen until Stern gets the owners on board and the players re-form the union and take a vote.

(Update: Chris Sheridan has some details of what made it in the final deal.)

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

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Atlanta Hawks: Holiday fixins

If you want a roundup of the latest lockout news, check out Steve Aschburner’s summary of recent negotiations with the goal of starting the season on Christmas Day. (Update: According to Howard Beck of The New York Times, the players’ union and owners are using the the last offer as a starting point with the goal of playing a 66-game season.)

Rather than weigh in on that convoluted mess, I offer you some Hawks holiday tidbits . . .

Caught up with J.J., Teague and Damien at Louis Williams’ charity game at Atlanta Metropolitan College. Smoove was a no-show. Dwight was there to support his hometown guys but he didn’t play: “I don’t like to play five-on-five in the offseason.”

J.J. looked noticeably sleeker and quicker while checking the likes of Teague, Jarret Jack and Anthony Morrow. Remember that time J.J. harassed D-Rose and forced a turnover to beat the Bulls? He pretty much looked like that all game, which really stood out since no one else was really playing D. …

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Atlanta Hawks: Labor fight heads to courtroom as season in jeopardy

(3:40 p.m. update: David Stern speaks, Billy Hunter says season probably lost.)

NBA players got David Stern’s memo and dragged it to the trash bin.

Not only did the NBPA not send the owners’ latest offer to a vote of the full membership, the executive committee and the 30 player reps unanimously rejected the proposal and filed a “disclaimer of interest” that renounces the union’s interest in representing players in bargaining with the league. Billy Hunter said the next stop is a federal courtroom, where individual players will file antitrust suits against owners.

At a press conference following the union meeting, Hunter said “the collective bargaining process has completely broken down.” Later on NBA TV Hunter said: “It’s a high probability rather than possibility” that the 2011-12 season is lost.

Later on SportsCenter, Stern blasted union leadership for what he called a “sham” strategy, said the move is “really irresponsible given the timing of it” and predicted a “nuclear …

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Atlanta Hawks: Owners’ latest final offer includes 72-game season

NBA reps and union officials emerged from their meeting at about 11 p.m. No deal. Here is the full union press conference and here is the league.

The highlights:

  • Owners made some changes to the previous proposal that was rejected by the union. David Stern said it’s now take-it-or-leave it: “We have made our revised proposal and are not planning to make another one.”
  • The players don’t like deal but they are considering it. Billy Hunter called it “not the greatest proposal in the world.” He plans to talk it over with the 30 team reps but for some reason it won’t happen until Monday or Tuesday. Hunter said it’s a course of action that was endorsed by the players on the executive committee. “I have an obligation to at least present it to membership, so that’s what we are going to do,” Hunter said.
  • Stern said the league would wait until the players meet and decide on the deal. If they don’t accept the offer, then the league’s “revised negotiation position” would become the …

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Atlanta Hawks: ‘It will get worse from there’ Update: Players, owners to meet

(Update 1:20 a.m. Thursday: No deal was reached. The sides are set to meet at noon Thursday. David Stern said “nothing was worked out today” but that owners would not revert to their “reset” offer. Derek Fisher said he couldn’t say “significant process” was made.)

(UPDATE: Players and owners are set to meet at 1 p.m. today, four hours before the league’s deadline. Adrian Wojnarowski reports that David Stern can make a “very slight budge” on the system issues that players say are unacceptable. The union seems ready to accept a 50-50 BRI split, which would more than cover the owners’ claimed losses of $300 million last season.)

As I traveled around the league during the 2010-11 season, I kept hearing that some owners were willing to lose a season in order to get a more favorable CBA. I didn’t believe it, especially since the season ended up being a success. What good would it do owners to get a better CBA if they damaged their popular product in the process?

But now it appears …

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Atlanta Hawks: Sale agreement between Meruelo and ASG terminated

The AJC’s Tim Tucker reports that the sale agreement between ASG and L.A. businessman Alex Meruelo has been terminated by “mutual agreement.”

ASG member Bruce Levenson said in a statement: “The Atlanta Hawks are no longer for sale. We’re excited to remain as owners of the Hawks and are committed to building on our string of four straight playoff appearances.”

Meruelo said: “[W]e were not able to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement on some key issues given the current uncertainty surrounding the labor issue.”

According to Tucker, the “approval process bogged down after the NBA required economic conditions that were not part of Meruelo’s original deal.”

According to AJC wise guy Jeff Schultz, ASG’s ownership and now failed sale of the Hawks is “the nightmare that won’t end.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

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Atlanta Hawks: Tax strapped

You can read about the how the union’s decertification strategy “could signal the breakdown of collective bargaining talks,” would “be like taking a poison pill for the 2011-12 season” and take a look at the list of star players who are “leading the charge of decertification.”

Or you can just pretend that everything is going to work out and there will be NBA basketball soon. Unfortunately for my blog people, that leads to pondering the Hawks’ financial issues. . . .

The other day I assumed the salary cap would hover around $60 million and the luxury-tax level would stay at about $70 million. Cap expert Larry Coon, in a chat at, offers the first solid info I’ve seen on cap and tax levels:

Anthony Sanchez

It’s been said the salary cap for the 2012-2013 will be around $61 million. If that were the case, were would the tax threshold be?

Larry Coon

The best info I have right now is that the cap will be frozen at $58 million and the luxury tax threshold will …

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