No, there is nothing new to report on the Hawks and Dwight Howard. As far as I know, nothing has changed since what I wrote two days ago. If I hear anything different, I promise I won’t keep it to myself.
With that out of the way, on to some housekeeping . . . .
Once the trades become official on July 11, and after the Hawks compete an expected buy out of Jordan Farmar, they will have nine players under contract. Draft picks John Jenkins and Mike Scott will make it 11 once they sign their deals. Ivan Johnson will make it 12 if he signs his qualifying offer.
Here are the cap salaries for those 12 players (in millions):
Josh Smith: $13.2
Al Horford: $12.0
Devin Harris: $8.5
Zaza Pachulia: $5.2
Anthony Morrow: $4.0
Johan Petro: $3.5
Jeff Teague: $2.4
Jordan Farmar: $1.5*
John Jenkins: $1.2
Ivan Johnson: $.96+
DeShawn Stevenson: $
Jordan Williams: $.76
Mike Scott: $.40
*Amount of buyout.
Cap charge for minimum-salaried veteran with three or more seasons.
(Update: Luke Adams of HoopsRumors.com notes that Chad Ford reports Stevenson’s first-year salary as $2.33 million, not the minimum. And reader Tyler Cromey emailed to point out I left Morrow off the salary list.)
+Amount of qualifying offer extended by Hawks.
According to Larry Coon, the salary-cap level is expected to remain at about $58 million for 2012-13. But that $
7.5 2 million or so in cap space is theoretical for the Hawks.
They still would have about $18 million in cap holds because of their free agents. Those holds won’t be released until those players sign a new contract or the Hawks renounce them. Even if the Hawks clear all of those cap holds, they would take a roster charge of $400,000 for having less than 12 players on the roster following Farmar’s buyout.
All of that is a long way of getting to this bottom line: The Hawks can clear up to a maximum of roughly $
7.0 1.5 million in cap space. They can then sign free agents using that space and/or the “room” mid-level exception that allows a two-year contract starting at $2.5 million. So that means, theoretically, the Hawks could spend up to about $ 9.5 8 million on anywhere from two (to get to the roster minimum of 13) to four players (to carry the maximum 15).
(Update: Because their cap space would be less than the amount of their exceptions, the Hawks would be limited to using all or part of the $5 million non-taxpayer mid-level exception; all or part of the $1.96 bi-annual exception; and minimum-salary exceptions to sign from two [to get to the roster minimum of 13] to four [to carry the maximum 15] players.)
(If any of my calculations appear off, blog people, shoot me an email: mcunningham at ajc.com.)
After the Hawks made trades that set them up to have maximum flexibility to make moves in the long term, they still believe they can remain competitive in the short term. It’s not hard to think they can do so with the remaining core of Smith, Horford, Teague, Pachulia plus new additions Morrow and Jenkins.
Once the trades are completed and Farmar is bought out, Atlanta’s depth chart will look something like this (just for example, so please save your outrage if you disagree):
PG: Jeff Teague/Devin Harris
SG: Anthony Morrow/John Jenkins/Devin Harris/DeShawn Stevenson
SF: Josh Smith/Anthony Morrow/DeShawn Stevenson
PF: Josh Smith/Ivan Johnson/Jordan Williams/Mike Scott
C: Al Horford/Zaza Pachulia/Johan Petro
The Hawks could use a starting lineup with Zaza at center and Al and Josh shifting over–Larry Drew said he could envision that alignment even before the trades–but the Hawks clearly need a true wing. They could probably use another center, too, to guard against needing to use Petro or Johnson there for major minutes if Al or Zaza goes down.
I’d expect the Hawks will get serious about free agents once the market shakes out. They’ve expressed interest in Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis but obviously those players will see what the market may bear.
The Celtics already have offered Allen $12 million over two years and he’s set to pick from that offer, the Clippers and the Heat. Lewis says he’s seeking to play for a championship contender.
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat