Atlanta Hawks: Three vying for two roster spots

Vivlamore reporting. Here is my story on the roster battle that will appear in the Saturday print version of the AJC.

The Hawks’ final two roster spots – should the team elect to keep the 15-player limit –appears to be a three-man battle between James Anderson, Damion James and Anthony Tolliver.

The Hawks have a training camp roster of 17 players after the release of forward/center Keith Benson and guard Isma’il Muhammad Thursday. With 13 guaranteed contracts, a maximum of two sports remain. Carldell Johnson is considered a long-shot to make the team with the number of point guards already on the roster.

And then there were three.

* Tolliver, a 6-foot-8 forward, has the most NBA experience. He has played four seasons, including the past two with the Timberwolves. He has career averages of 6.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 21.4 minutes with stints that also included the Spurs, Trail Blazers and Warriors.

“I think I’m unique,” said Tolliver, a late training camp addition after a deal couldn’t be reached to return to Minnesota. “I think I’m a guy if you put on this roster can do a lot of different things. … I’m able to guard multiple positions. We have some guys who can do that but paring that with me being able to shoot and play multiple positions on the offensive end, I think helps bring more versatility to the team and more size.”

* Anderson has two seasons of NBA experience with the Spurs, who selected him in the first round (20th overall) in 2010. The 6-6 guard has career averages of 3.7 points, 1.3 rebounds and 0.8 assists in 11.5 minutes.

“Defend, that’s the main part of it at the (small forward) spot,” Anderson said. “I feel like I can do that and more. It’s all got to be put on the line. Thirteen are already guaranteed and two spots, at the most, are left. Everything’s has to be put on the line every day in practice and all the preseason games.”

* James, originally a draft pick of the Hawks (24th overall) in 2010, played two seasons with the Nets after they traded for his rights on draft night. The 6-7 forward has career averages of 4.5 points, 3.7 rebounds in 17.9 minutes.

“Energy, defense, rebounding, make all the right plays,” James said of his attributes. “I think this is where I should have been in the first place. It’s a blessing.”

All three have appeared in both exhibition games with James putting up the most impressive statistics. He has played 49 minutes, with one start, and has 17 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists.

Tolliver has 10 points and six rebounds in 30 minutes. Anderson, with one start, has nine points, two rebounds and two assists in 28 minutes. James and Anderson are candidates for the small forward position with Tolliver considered a power forward.

Coach Larry Drew said that several players have caught his eye, but would not elaborate.

“I’ve seen some guys step up but they are still be evaluated,” Drew said.

The Hawks must trim their roster to 15 players by 5 p.m. on Oct. 29. Drew said Friday he is unsure when he will make more cuts.

It remains a possibility that the Hawks will carry less than the maximum of 15 players to allow for more flexibility later in the season. The contracts of Anderson, James and Tolliver would not be guaranteed until January.

- Chris Vivlamore

THE LATEST NEWS

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* Benson, Muhammad released

* Hawks changing offense without Joe Johnson

* Spurs win exhibition game on buzzer beater

* Ivan Johnson returns after offseason of reflection

* Up-tempo offense can’t forget about the low post

* Hawks players to serve at The Varsity

Follow me on Twitter at ajchawks

36 comments Add your comment

Najeh Davenpoop

October 12th, 2012
4:50 pm

FTPB

“So Najeh, you don’t think Harden has star potential?”

I think he is as good as Joe was when the Hawks traded for him in 2005. I think he is potentially as good as Manu Ginobili. But is he capable of being the best player on a championship team? I don’t think so. And if the idea is to assemble a team built around Harden, Josh, and Al, Harden is the guy who will have the ball in crunch time taking big shots. I don’t think he can do that at a championship level.

Najeh Davenpoop

October 12th, 2012
4:53 pm

FTPB

” If Boston was for the deal, would any of you guys be for trading a young contract secured Al Horford and Morrow for an old 2 seasons left Kevin Garnett?”

I think KG would retire if the Celtics traded him to anyone.

Chris Vivlamore

October 12th, 2012
4:54 pm

Sorry for the poor spacing in blogs today folks. Got a late start on the practice report.

Chris Vivlamore

October 12th, 2012
4:56 pm

I will post my story on Lou Williams for the Sunday print edition of the AJC later tonight.

terrell

October 12th, 2012
5:00 pm

amn, I like Benson. Best post moves on the team. Who are we gonna post up now? Oh yeah, I forgot about our great post players in Al, and Zaza. smmfgdh

MsDee

October 12th, 2012
5:02 pm

If this is true, “It remains a possibility that the Hawks will carry less than the maximum of 15 players to allow for more flexibility later in the season,” then looks like Damion James has it with his eyes closed!!

Remembering Roundfield

October 12th, 2012
5:08 pm

No way would I trade 2 young guys(a proven all-star and a good young shooter) for an over-the-hill former star. That’s the kind of stuff the Falcons used to do when they were perennial losers. We are looking forward, not backward. Why is it that we could not come up with Nene when he was available, or Brandon Roy when he decided to come back? It seems like we are always a “day late and a dollar short”.

terrell

October 12th, 2012
5:21 pm

Cant wait to see Korver trying to guard sf’s. Need to start James and bring Korver off the bench. Doubt LD will choose defense over 3 pt shots though.smmfgdh

terrell

October 12th, 2012
5:26 pm

If you dont want an over the hill former star, why would you want Brandon Roy? lol. Just kidding. Id take a chance on him myself for the right price.

Ken Strickland

October 12th, 2012
5:52 pm

I might be reading too much into this, but it appears to me that if Ferry is looking to carry fewer than 15 players, he’s expecting to be active by the trade deadline. That means players with expiring contracts, like Morrow, Harris, Josh, Petro, and Teague, will be evaluated during the 1st half of the season, and then decisions will be made on who stays and who goes.

I have a feeling that players with expiring contracts that want to be resigned will have to agree to a possible contract extension. That means if a player like JSmith, DHarris, and AMorrow wants to be resigned, he’ll have to agree to accept an extension rather than go into FA. If he doesn’t agree, he could be traded by the deadline.

This way Ferry will know exactly how much money he’ll have to spend on other teams FAs. Also, I seriously doubt if Ferry would consider carrying fewer than 15 players just to be more flexible at the trade deadline, unless he’s contemplating the possibly of trading one or more of our core and higher salaried players, like Teague, Josh, Horford, Ivan, Zaza.

Players with smaller guaranteed contracts, like Morrow, Petro, Stevenson, and Harris, would be excellent trade filler, and provide enticing value to facilitating salary matching.

Ken Strickland

October 12th, 2012
6:20 pm

If we carry fewer than 15 players, it’s going to be very interesting to see how this roster will be constructed. We can be sure that JSmith, AHorford, JTeague, IJohnson, ZPachulia, LWilliams, DHarris, JJenkins, and DJames will make it. That leaves 3 open spots on the 12 man roster to be filled by KKorver, AMorrow, DStevenson, JAnderson, MScott, or ATolliver. Based on whether we have a 13 or 14 man roster, 1 or 2 of the remaining players will be carried on the inactive list.

Concerning the cutting of Benson instead of Petro based on Petro’s guaranteed salary doesn’t make sense to me. If that is the actual reason for the move, wouldn’t it make more sense to buy Petro out and use the savings to sign Benson to a basic contract. The amount saved by buying Petro out should cover most if not all of Benson’s contract. Plus, if someone happens to sign Petro we’d save even more on his contract. Of course, I could be missing something.

ECF or Bust!

October 12th, 2012
7:05 pm

whattaya have, whattaya have.
chili dog, fries and a coke.
go Hawks

AG

October 12th, 2012
7:25 pm

I think Benson certainly would be good in the future. I hope Petro gets cuts or traded. If they cut James then I know something is seriously wrong.

AG

October 12th, 2012
7:25 pm

V, good job in reading the post and unfortunately being a blog police!

Ray

October 12th, 2012
7:36 pm

Benson will be back I’m certain cause I think everyone knows he’s light years better than Petro and the only reason Petro is here the contract other then that he best be thankful he still got a job.

Buddy Grizzard

October 12th, 2012
7:55 pm

“Wouldn’t it make more sense to buy Petro out and use the savings to sign Benson to a basic contract.”

If the Hawks waive Petro, which I was in favor of, they Petro would go through a waiver process where any team with cap space could claim him off waivers and be responsible for his entire $3.5m salary this year. No team would claim him off waivers… he’s not worth the money and they would wait and sign him at the veteran’s minimum once he cleared waivers.

In that scenario, Petro’s entire salary would count against the Hawks’ salary cap until the contract expires at the end of this season. By holding onto Petro they can use his salary as outgoing salary in a trade to make the salaries match. For example, if the Hawks wanted to obtain a player making $12m, they could trade Devin Harris’ $8.5m contract plus Petro’s contract.

hawksordie

October 12th, 2012
8:04 pm

I hope everybody gets their panties unbunched and stop cryin about Al Horford bein not this or not that when in actuality he is a great shooter and a powerhouse …and I watched josh smith at a pro am game with james harden etcetera and josh was lighting up the threes.and heavily contested ones at that ..we are not only good NOW but light years ahead of last season !! Period

hawksordie

October 12th, 2012
8:05 pm

Dont forget we have 3 all star players with a potential of 5 all stars …shut up please ..complainin

prison mike

October 12th, 2012
9:14 pm

Anderson is not making the cut. It’s James and Tolliver until January. Tolliver can guard both PF and SF so he should be hear for the year.

O'Brien

October 12th, 2012
9:25 pm

Ken S,

That means if a player like JSmith, DHarris, and AMorrow wants to be resigned, he’ll have to agree to accept an extension rather than go into FA. If he doesn’t agree, he could be traded by the deadline..

Imo, Josh Smith will not sign an extension, and he will not be traded at the deadline. Also, why would Ferry want to sign anyone to extensions when the goal is to have as much salary cap space as possible to go after the big fish? Also, he may want to let the market set the price.

The amount saved by buying Petro out should cover most if not all of Benson’s contract. Plus, if someone happens to sign Petro we’d save even more on his contract. Of course, I could be missing something..

I think you’re missing something. Petro has to agree to a buyout, and why would he? He knows he can do nothing and still collect $3 mil. Plus who knows if another team would want to sign him? Dude is terrible.

Ken Strickland

October 12th, 2012
9:35 pm

HAWKSORDIE-Co-sign, but there are certain individuals that frequent our blogs that can’t get their obviously limited brains to focus on anything but negative BS and bashing. There are those who can’t bring themselves to accept or embrace any other way of doing something beyond how they think it should be done.

They think you can’t win or have a really good team unless you have superior height, size, physicality, inner dog, superior shotblocking, or Hakeem The Dream type post moves. They can’t comprehend the idea of utilizing the advantages of having superior speed, quickness, athleticism, depth and versatility, as well as excellent penetrating and outside shooting ability to accomplish the same things.

Like you said, we have a lot of talent. We have an All NBA C(Horford), an Allstar caliber PF(Josh), a former Allstar PG(DHarris), an Allstar caliber SG(LWilliams), and one of the NBAs most productive backup C(Zaza) and PF(Ivan). We also have the very best pure shooter in this yrs draft(JJenkins), and 2 of the NBAs most efficient 3pt shooters(Morrow and Korver).

Yet, we have no shortage of negative minded individuals that focus almost exclusively on their perception of what we don’t have, while never mentioning what we do have that just might compensate. We no longer have JJs height, size, DEF, shooting and ball handling ability, nor Marvin’s height, size, DEF or shooting ability, so all is lost. We just cut 6′11″ C KBenson, so all is lost.

So far, DJames has proven to be a better rebounder and finisher at the rim than JJ or Marvin. He’s shown the ability to pass as well as JJ without the need to dominate the ball or the OFF. He also seems to be more physical and aggressive, and his DEF appears to be on par with JJ or Marvin. The only thing he lacks that they provided is outside shooting, and we certainly have that area covered with Jenkins, Korver, Morrow, Williams, Harris, Scott, Tolliver, and the return of Horford.

The addition of Williams and Harris covers the loss of JJs ball handling and running the OFF, and their exceptional speed, quickness and athleticism eliminates the need for clearouts and pounding when either decides to penetrate. And Teague, Harris, and Williams are all better finishers at the rim than JJ and will get to the FT line more often.

Then there’s the whinning and crying about the lack of height in our backcourt and frontcourt, and how we’ll be totally exploited by bigger taller players. Except for JJenkins and MScott, the majority of our players have been successful in this league long enough for that not to be an issue. Besides, all the complaining and whinning won’t make us any taller or bigger, so deal with it. We’ll enter the season with what we have, which should be enough to produce our best team in over a decade.GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Astro Joe

October 12th, 2012
9:52 pm

Ken Strickland

October 12th, 2012
9:35 pm
HAWKSORDIE-Co-sign, but there are certain individuals that frequent our blogs that can’t get their obviously limited brains to focus on anything but negative BS and bashing. There are those who can’t bring themselves to accept or embrace any other way of doing something beyond how they think it should be done.

They think you can’t win or have a really good team unless you have superior height, size, physicality, inner dog, superior shotblocking, or Hakeem The Dream type post moves. They can’t comprehend the idea of utilizing the advantages of having superior speed, quickness, athleticism, depth and versatility, as well as excellent penetrating and outside shooting ability to accomplish the same things.

Like you said, we have a lot of talent. We have an All NBA C(Horford), an Allstar caliber PF(Josh), a former Allstar PG(DHarris), an Allstar caliber SG(LWilliams), and one of the NBAs most productive backup C(Zaza) and PF(Ivan). We also have the very best pure shooter in this yrs draft(JJenkins), and 2 of the NBAs most efficient 3pt shooters(Morrow and Korver).

Yet, we have no shortage of negative minded individuals that focus almost exclusively on their perception of what we don’t have, while never mentioning what we do have that just might compensate. We no longer have JJs height, size, DEF, shooting and ball handling ability, nor Marvin’s height, size, DEF or shooting ability, so all is lost. We just cut 6′11″ C KBenson, so all is lost.

So far, DJames has proven to be a better rebounder and finisher at the rim than JJ or Marvin. He’s shown the ability to pass as well as JJ without the need to dominate the ball or the OFF.

Strickland, when did he prove this… in 2 pre-season games? Are you serious? James is a beter passer than Joe based on 2 pre-season games? WOW!

cp

October 12th, 2012
10:05 pm

Watching Perry Jones for OKC and all I can do is shake my head.

skyhawk1

October 12th, 2012
10:16 pm

D. James and Tolliver should make the team. I like James drives to the hoops. Tolliver can stretch the floor, not a great defender, but at times we will need him on the court to score and open the lane for our guards.

Big Ray

October 12th, 2012
10:28 pm

Well, I see the team cut Benson despite the fact that he is the second coming of some un-named all start PF/C. Ouch. Now who will folks cheer on in preseason games at garbage time?

Oh well. It’s all Petro’s fault anyway. Danged $3.5 million salary…

I sure hope Damion James makes the roster. And plays. A good bit.

James Anderson – don’t care.

Tolliver – if he stays in shape, he could make a dent. I suppose he’s in shape, but haven’t seen him play yet. He could make the roster because he can play some stretch 4 and maybe some 3. It’s a stop gap for now if he does, just another minimum contract vet, I reckon.

Damion James is my pick.

Big Ray

October 12th, 2012
10:29 pm

Y’all watch. Benson will get picked up by some other team and end up being their starter at center, 10 games into the season. Bank on it, I tell ya.

Buddy Grizzard

October 12th, 2012
10:48 pm

“potential of 5 all stars”

Please tell me who these 5 potential All Stars are. I will give you Josh, Al and Lou. Are you trying to tell me you think Teague and Devin Harris have All Star potential?

Buddy Grizzard

October 12th, 2012
10:54 pm

I haven’t seen PJ3 do anything so far this preseason but dang… Gordon Hayward is a beast.

Buddy Grizzard

October 12th, 2012
11:08 pm

The Jazz really are loaded… and not because they got Marvin ;)

The problem with the Jazz is that their best player, Al Jefferson, is not as good as Al Horford in the playoffs. No Jefferson team has ever done anything in the playoffs and his postseason stats are worse than Al’s. As long as you have a one-dimensional player like Jefferson eating up so many of your possessions, all it does is stifle the development of all the young studs on Utah’s roster.

Slimjr

October 12th, 2012
11:18 pm

Now that Bynum is the new sheriff in Philly chances are if he stays healthy that Josh maybe the only [AllStar] the Hawks [field] this season…And that sounds about right in this time line…

Using Miami’s size as an avenue of success for the Hawks is down right foolish. Guess you dont mind waiting another 45 years…

Slimjr

October 12th, 2012
11:37 pm

Larry needs to spend at least 50-50 in practice going over defensive strategy with his ball club..His team must be fully committed to defend..And BTW, defending takes everything you got!

They are a small ball club and need to compensate with ability and smarts..The guards are going to have to fight hard at the point of attack. Fight over the screens and fight through the pick and rolls. And switch off then get back at times..

If Teague does not look interested, bench his azz..How often do you see a big take a charge for the Hawks..

James and Anderson stick…

Najeh Davenpoop

October 12th, 2012
11:42 pm

Lou is no more of a potential All Star than Teague. Neither one at this point is anywhere close to sniffing an All Star berth. Teague, being five years younger, probably has the greater likelihood of becoming one in the future.

Najeh Davenpoop

October 12th, 2012
11:44 pm

Upon further review, Teague was drafted four years later but he is only two years younger. I still stand behind my point, though.

tyger

October 13th, 2012
12:06 am

Damian James and Anthony Tolliver…

ag

October 13th, 2012
6:22 am

Buddy, it does make sense why not to cut Petro. I just am wondering why Benson was the first cut. Maybe they really wanted him but knew they did not want to keep 4 bigs?

I also believe sometimes you have to keep your talent. I would have been a big pricetag, so not sure if Benson’s value was worth it. By cutting Petro would account for about 4.5 million in payroll since Benson’s salary would also be factored into the cap.

doc

October 13th, 2012
6:47 am

petro is small penance for the loss of jj’s contract and the 24 mil we would have been paying him at some point. it is off the books and fortunately workhorse zaza will get more playing time if healthy; he does better under those circumstances. let petro sit in a suit and be gone and when he is he is last reminder of foolish jj contract the asg put together to damage the franchise. glad there is a true pro at gm now.