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 weeks, fans from everywhere have queried Jamal on whether he likes their favorite team. He likes Atlanta, Chicago, Portland, New Jersey and New York. I’d also add Indiana, Sacamento, and any of those other teams that have lots of cap space just waiting to be used.
Jamal succinctly summed it up with this great tweet: “I have interest in who has interest in me.”
Ah, to be a scoring shooting guard in a free-agent market that should prove favorable to such a player. How favorable? I don’t know, but ESPN.com’s 5-on-5 took a shot at setting the value for Jamal and other top free agents.
Among the four guys on the panel to offer an opinion, the low offer for Jamal was the tax-payer mid-level exception of two years and $5 million and the high was three years and $22 million. The Hawks can’t swing either of those amounts unless they pay the luxury tax or amnesty someone (love using that as a verb) and then pay Jamal.
AJC wise guy Jeff Schultz thinks it would be a big blow to the Hawks to lose Jamal’s bench scoring. I think the impact could be mitigated with more possessions used by Teague, Hinrich and Al plus signing a replacement for Jamal who scores more efficiently and defends and rebounds. As always, I could be wrong.
(Before you ask, I don’t know who that player could be. First I need to figure out the Hawks’ plans regarding the tax and amnesty, and then see what the market looks like. Heck, for that matter, we still need to wait and see what provisions make it into the final, final CBA.)
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat