Atlanta Hawks: The next step

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: $.852.33^
Jordan Williams: $.76
Mike Scott: $.40

Total: $50.4755.95

*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

583 comments Add your comment

savannah hawk

July 5th, 2012
1:15 pm

being a life long hawk fan,can you imagine how happy i feel right now……go danny

MARIO

July 5th, 2012
1:16 pm

Astro Joe

July 5th, 2012
1:16 pm

Call Dwight and ask him how to spend the remaining cap space.

hawks_4_life

July 5th, 2012
1:17 pm

MC are you enjoying the love your blog has been getting lately?

FreshmakerGT

July 5th, 2012
1:20 pm

Thanks for the update MC! Looks like we’ll have the room to get in a couple of decent players to fill out the roster. Personally, I’m hoping that TMac comes back, but not holding my breath. I don’t see Morrow listed in the salary breakdown above – what’s his contract like?

skyhawk1

July 5th, 2012
1:20 pm

I think you forgot about A. Morrow, so we actually have 13 players, including Farmar.

mountain_jim

July 5th, 2012
1:20 pm

ESPN article says Paul trying to recruit Ray Allen to Clippers. Does not sound like someone looking to relocate after this season.

ATLsMrWonderful

July 5th, 2012
1:21 pm

Extend Josh and make him start recruiting for HIS team!!!!

Long Live Danny Ferry!!!!

Lets Go Hawks

Wise1s5

July 5th, 2012
1:21 pm

You left Anthony Morrow out of the calculations?!

northcyde

July 5th, 2012
1:21 pm

If that’s the team, might as well start these guys

PG – Teague
G – Harris
F – Smith
PF – Horford
C – Zaza

Bench

F – Ivan ( 6th man )
G – Jenkins
G – Morrow
F – Stevenson
C – Petro

You don’t even play around wit this. Start your best 5 guys. Team could definitely use a good SF.

Just Joe

July 5th, 2012
1:22 pm

MC…I don’t see Morrow in your salary numbers, and I thought Stevenson’s first year was said to be $2.3M to help the trade work.

Also, what sized trade exception will be created from the Joe Johnson trade?

Macaroni Tony

July 5th, 2012
1:25 pm

this is a good blog. I hope we can get Sy, Shurna, and Lewis.

STRETCH

July 5th, 2012
1:28 pm

They just need to go after a Caron Butler type to play SF and they could be competitive.

Teague/Harris
Morrow/Jenkins/Stevenson
Caron/Stevenson
JS/Ivan/Scott
Horford/Zaza/Petro

I still think they keep Pargo or TMac

northcyde

July 5th, 2012
1:29 pm

If the Hawks aren’t good enough to make noise in the playoffs, it doesn’t make much sense to spend a lot on free agents, trying to make the team competitive. Why add a multi-year contract that you won’t be able to move next year?

Might as well go to the Dollar Store, and add 2 cheap SFs for one year deals.

Macaroni Tony

July 5th, 2012
1:31 pm

@STRETCH I hope that it’s TMAC

STRETCH

July 5th, 2012
1:31 pm

Mac Tony,

Shurna should make the squad, Lewis is another guy i would go after cause i believe he has something left and something to prove.

Macaroni Tony

July 5th, 2012
1:33 pm

@MC you still haven’t included Morrow’s salary for this year.

STRETCH

July 5th, 2012
1:35 pm

Also folks,

This is the year Teague should break out! He has one less “Star” to cater to this season and im pretty sure he got his Game Face on when he heard the news about JJ moving on.

Its Teagues team to run…NOT Josh’s and i think thats whats on managements mind after watching Rondo’s, Deron Williams’ and CP3 run their prospective teams. So get ready Atlanta!

Macaroni Tony

July 5th, 2012
1:36 pm

I we could see Shurna being a diamond in the ruff, and I hope Sy has been working on his game.

Columbus

July 5th, 2012
1:38 pm

Hawks are definitely dealing with Orlando. Not sure if its solely for Dwight. Deals are not done thats for sure.

Macaroni Tony

July 5th, 2012
1:40 pm

@Columbus how do you know that the Hawks are dealing with the Magic? Do you have any links, or what players are mentioned?

Runner-

July 5th, 2012
1:41 pm

Keep up the great work, MC.

GO HAWKS!!

Mike

July 5th, 2012
1:44 pm

But I thought that Morrow might be trade to Clippers? Or it was just a rumor.

Michael Cunningham

July 5th, 2012
1:45 pm

blog updates to fix a couple errors: left Morrow off the salary list and Stevenson’s salary reported to be more than the minimum. Hawks left with no (usable) cap space, the MLE, the BAE, and minimum exceptions.

SteveW

July 5th, 2012
1:46 pm

So a decent squad with 8 mill to spend…This could get interesting. I was looking over the FA SF’s – whoo, talk about weak…In our price range anyway.

Carlos Delfino anyone? Joking, well kind of.

northcyde

July 5th, 2012
1:47 pm

STRETCH

July 5th, 2012
1:35 pm

Also folks,

This is the year Teague should break out! He has one less “Star” to cater to this season and im pretty sure he got his Game Face on when he heard the news about JJ moving on.

Its Teagues team to run…NOT Josh’s and i think thats whats on managements mind after watching Rondo’s, Deron Williams’ and CP3 run their prospective teams. So get ready Atlanta!

**************************

All I know is that Teague didn’t start to blossom as a player, until he started playing alongside JJ. Without JJ, we’ll see if teams actually start to double team HIM more to take the ball out of HIS hands.

The focus of other teams has always been to stop Joe Johnson, and let the other guys beat you. Without JJ here, the focus will be to stop guys like Teague and Smith. We’ll see how they, and Drew, adjusts to that.

Also remember that Smith is in a contract year, so he’s going to try to put up as much numbers as possible. I don’t see the way he plays the game changing one bit. So that means he’ll continue to bring the ball up when he grabs a defensive rebound and not pass it to Teague.

Plus, the coach doesn’t even trust Teague like that, to let him “run the team”.

Like I said, we’ll see if the departure of JJ will actually help or hurt Teague. It also doesn’t help that a starter quality PG is on the team, in the form of Devin Harris, who could potentially take minutes from him if he outplays Teague ( which is a legit possibility )

KevinM

July 5th, 2012
1:47 pm

Jenkins and Morrow are going to have their hands full trying to get minutes at the 2. I think that’s the weakest spot on the roster, and rightly so.
So like Just Joe said, he wants a SF first, then I thrown Stevenson in for defense, and let the SF we get go get buckets.
Not sure who is available as a FA, but perhaps OJ Mayo can slide in here…someone mentioned him earlier being considered.
Might as well throw Roy in there…he will only cost the MLE IMO.

Gary Gregor

July 5th, 2012
1:48 pm

I’m still celebrating getting rid of Iso-Joe and Marvin!!! If we can sign a decent wing player, I believe we can still make the playoffs with 45+ wins. Keep L. Drew on a short leash. The only real problem I have with him is not benching Josh for shooting 3 pointers. What will we do next year in a close 4th qtr without Joe to dribble foe 20 seconds and throw up a crazy shot?!

SteveW

July 5th, 2012
1:48 pm

I can see why Ferry would be interested in Lewis and Allen – Allen for 5.5 mill and Lewis for the “room” – but I don’t think either one signs here.

Michael Cunningham

July 5th, 2012
1:48 pm

@hawks_4_life: “MC are you enjoying the love your blog has been getting lately?”

haven’t noticed. i generally do not enjoy this part of the NBA calendar.

northcyde

July 5th, 2012
1:49 pm

OK . . so there it is then. No real cap space to add a player without going over the cap. Just add a couple of free agent SFs and go from there. Hope Smith doesn’t diminish his value as a player by playing a lot of minutes at SF.

A lot of people and players are going to get what they wished for. Just hope the players play up to their potential.

Michael Cunningham

July 5th, 2012
1:49 pm

@Macaroni: it’s since been fixed.

Michael Cunningham

July 5th, 2012
1:50 pm

@Runner: thanks

SteveW

July 5th, 2012
1:51 pm

If Teague does well this season, based on what PG’s are getting right now, he’s going to be a rich young man next off season.

7.5 mill per for Dragic? He’s good, but wow

30-35 mill for 4 years for Lin? Didn’t Houston cut him in January? Wow again.

madman

July 5th, 2012
1:51 pm

You guys must be out of your minds. No legit free agent will come to ATL….. you guys will suck

Just Joe

July 5th, 2012
1:51 pm

I’d offer Williams to a young team like the Bobcats for a 2nd rd pick and some walking around money. The PF spot is a little crowded.

I like Brian Butch as the 3rd string center. He’s a little like Ivan in that he’s older and has played overseas & dominated the d-league. Good defensive rebounder & has a solid 3-pt stroke (37%+ taking over 5 per game).

SteveW

July 5th, 2012
1:52 pm

MC – Your totals were correct before – You just forgot to plug Morrow in up top.

Your totals are now 4 mill dollars off.

Astro Joe

July 5th, 2012
1:53 pm

Call Dwight and ask him who needs to be traded/acquired given the lack of cap space this coming season.

robert

July 5th, 2012
1:54 pm

I say go get OJ Mayo. I would love Lou Williams as a 6th man to but Im not sure the cap would let us do it and then playing time might be an issue. If we can move Devin harris then fine

Mike

July 5th, 2012
1:54 pm

But most ppl needs to remember that trades isnt over yet by a long shot and Hawks finally got options. Can somebody tell Dwight to sign with us and this team will go far.

jlewis

July 5th, 2012
1:56 pm

I’m excited for the upcoming season, I cant wait to see Josh get it off the glass, go coast to coast and sail one into the front row. Oh, its Teague’s team, i’m sure he wont airball wide open 3’s and not “want” the ball in the 4th quarter, or some more Al matador defense. The scape goat is in Brooklyn now, i’m hyped.

northcyde

July 5th, 2012
1:57 pm

(( talking like the Price is Right announcer ))

Damien Wilkins, Jamario Moon . . . come on down!! . . . You’re the next contestants on the Hawks SF search.

Michael Cunningham

July 5th, 2012
1:58 pm

@SteveW: i have it at $55.95 including Morrow.

BobDog

July 5th, 2012
2:02 pm

What about the rumor discussed Tuesday on 680 The Fan about a possible move of the Hawks to St. Louis? I haven’t seen anything on this in the AJC. Anything to it?

Michael Cunningham

July 5th, 2012
2:04 pm

@BobDog: no. the source of that rumor, Peter Vecsey, says he was joking on Twitter. also, Hawks subject to paying big for move and there’s a rule against teams moving to St. Louis because of deal struck during NBA/ABA merger.

yeahsure

July 5th, 2012
2:05 pm

Ferry’s next move should be to fire LD and get a legitimate coach in here. Send a message to the FA’s out there that he’s not playing about turning ATL into a top team.

dirtyo11

July 5th, 2012
2:05 pm

We have a good team right now but the team we have is just good enough to battle for the 6 or 7 playoff spot. What about going after OJ Mayo. I’m also stuck on waiting to see if the mavs gonna let Hayward go. He’s not a serious threat but I think we can get him cheap & his big body can plug up the middle. Hayward is an upgrade from Collins & Dampier or maybe we can give up Farmer & the 1st rnd pick we got from the nets for Javale McGee. McGee is an young up & coming athletic center. He’s effective on both ends of the court. Why Ferry haven’t re-signed T-Mac, he was J Smoove coach…T-Mac helped Smith out a lot. Bring Stackhouse back as an assistance coach.
C- Hayward or McGee
PF- Hordford
SF-Smith
SG-Mayo
PG-Teague
Bench-ZaZa, I Johnson, Morrow, Harris, Jenkins, Stevenson, Williams, Scott, Petro

Mike

July 5th, 2012
2:06 pm

@BobDog

Old News, the guys that was saying it was playing or something like that.

northcyde

July 5th, 2012
2:06 pm

Peter Vescey, the guy who said the Hawks might move to St Louis, later said that he was joking.

No story there.

Mike

July 5th, 2012
2:11 pm

Anyway,

Its looks like Lakers will be probably be keep Gasol and Byunm and that means…..

Orlando, your choices is getting smaller and smaller everyday.