From what I can gather, Rick Sund is exploring sign-and-trade scenarios for Jamal Crawford. But, so far, Sund does not have the green light to approve a transaction that results in a luxury tax payment. As long as that’s the case, I don’t see how it can happen.
Update 12:08 a.m.: The Knicks have expressed interest in Crawford, as reported by Alex Kennedy Hoopsworld.com and Sam Amick at SI.com. But still no word that Sund has been authorized to spend into the tax. Howard Beck of the New York Times reports that the Knicks will be over the cap once they complete their recent transactions. Their trades thus will be subject to salary-matching rules.
Update 10:09 a.m.: There’s still no indication that Sund has been authorized to spend more than the tax threshold but late last night he was looking for ways to gain some salary relief to get the Hawks further under the tax line. I’m not sure how the Hawks can shed significant team salary (money that counts towards the cap and tax) without using the amnesty clause but apparently Sund is looking for a way to so to gain flexibility to spend on free agents.
After signing Tracy Mc Grady, Jason Collins and Vladmir Radmanovic, Atlanta has roughly $67.7 million in guaranteed team salary committed to 10 players (assuming minimum salaries are the same as stipulated in the old CBA for 2011-12). Add Keith Benson, Pape Sy and Magnum Rolle and the team salary is about $69.7 million.
Atlanta could shed as much as $896,000 of its team salary (depending on any guarantees) by waving those three players and replacing all of them with rookie free agents. Those moves would leave the team salary at about $68.8 million. The luxury-tax threshold is a bit more than $70 million.
Under new CBA trade rules, teams over the cap that don’t pay the tax can acquire no more than 150% + $100,000 of the salaries they trade away. Taxpaying teams can acquire no more than 125% + $100,000 of the salaries they trade away. Since a team over the cap would be using a sign-and-trade to pay Crawford more than the $5 million mid-level, a sign-and-trade involving him would mean the Hawks would have to take back a salary amount that would put them over the tax threshold.
Obviously, the Hawks would pay some tax if they use a significant amount of their exceptions to pay Crawford or any other free agent. With so many teams holding cap room, I have to think Crawford will get more than the mid-level exception even with guys like Rip Hamilton, Chauncey Billups and Vince Carter crowding the market. The Hawks have resigned themselves to as much.
Days later and I’m still getting questions about the report suggesting a Hawks sign-and-trade with the Bulls that would swap Crawford for Omer Asik and Ronnie Brewer. I don’t think there is anything to that report, and not just because it would be a bad deal for the Bulls (which probably helps explain why the rumor is so popular among Hawks fans).
For one, the deal would require the Hawks to pay significant tax and, again, Sund doesn’t yet have the go-ahead to make that kind of deal and may not get it. Also, the Bulls still are focused on signing a free-agent guard using their mid-level exception, and it looks like they’ve got their man in Hamilton.
As expected, the Hawks have no plans to use their amnesty clause this year. It can be used before any season of the CBA, which is for 10 years with mutual opt-outs for the owners and players after six years.
- For now, the Hawks are scouring the free-agent value bin and the waiver wire for help. “We are still looking at what’s out there,” Larry Drew said. “We are keeping our ears open to see if anything falls through the cracks. It’s only the second preseason practice and we will just have to wait and see what happens.”
- The Hawks are in the market for another center. Take a look at the list of free agents and you can see it’s very thin as far as rotation-quality guys.
- The Hawks also are looking for a backup point guard as Kirk Hinrich heals from surgery. The free-agent list looks better for that position. Carlos Arroyo, for one, would be a serviceable stopgap.
- Drew said the Hawks are interested in Gilbert Arenas if he clears the amnesty waiver wire. Teams with cap space get the first shot at him. If there are no bids he would become a free agent, though I’m not sure of the timing on that.
- Billups is on the amnesty waiver wire but he’s warning he might retire or make trouble if he gets claimed by a team he doesn’t want to join.
- The Knicks signed Mike Bibby. New York also reportedly is after free agent J.J. Barea, who probably would be an even better fit than Arroyo for Atlanta. Not sure he can be had for the minimum, though.
- Damien Wilkins signed with the Pistons.
These were the teams when the Hawks ran drills during the portion of practice media were allowed to watch: 1. Jeff Teague, Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Josh Smith, Al Horford. 2. Pape Sy, Jerry Stackhouse, Tracy McGrady, Zaza Pachulia, Jason Collins. 3. Donald Sloan, Zach Graham, Ivan Johnson, Charles Garcia, Keith Benson
“We are just looking at different guys on different teams,” L.D. said. “There is no set lineup right now. We are looking at different combinations.”
For the second straight camp, Collins showed up in better shape than the year before. Now he’s not only fit but also more muscular. “I know that there is one player in particular that I need to go up against,” Collins said, and I don’t think he’s talking about Joel Anthony. “I really focused this offseason on getting in the best possible position to help my team.”
Drew said he plans to use Collins the same way he did last season. “We will look at the opponent and see what works best as far as matchup-wise,” he said. “Certainly he gives us a chance to go pretty big.”
Collins joins a long list of Hawks players who showed up in good shape. “Very, very encouraging,” Drew said. “It’s easy for a guy with the lockout to lay around and eat and not do anything, particularly if you have that type body. Certainly [Collins] didn’t take that approach.”
Collins said his play against Dwight Howard in the playoffs drew the attention of a few teams, including the Celtics. “I chose to come back here and one of the reasons was the coaching staff and players,” he said. “I am very familiar with everyone and we all get along. It’s fun to play with these guys.”
Drew said Vladimir Radmanovich is the kind of knock-down shooter he was hoping to get. He said he noticed during extensive Synergy study that Radmanovich has a knack for quickly getting to open spots. Drew said Golden State coaches also gave Radmanovich positive reviews.
“He’s a four that can really stretch the defense,” Drew said. “I did a lot of homework on him. With Joe’s ability to force double teams, having that four that can go out there and stretch it, it gives you an added weapon. Tracy is a really good passer and you put him with the ball in position where he can operate, teams have to collapse their defenses on him [too]. With Radmanovic, he’s a guy that lives at the 3-point line.”
Kris Willlis at Peachtreehoops.com takes a closer look at the D-League guys in Hawks camp.
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat