Crawford for Claxton and Law? Is this heaven?

This is Speedy Claxton, a dapper dresser. I couldn't find any pictures of him in uniform, though.

Speedy Claxton is a dapper dresser, but I couldn't find any pictures of him in uniform. (AP photo)

I almost started this blog by writing that Rick Sund is a better general manager than Billy Knight or Pete Babcock ever were. But then the expression, “Damning with faint praise,” came to mind.

Pull this off and Sund deserves a statue.

Barring any breakdowns, the Hawks are about to acquire scoring point guard Jamal Crawford from the Golden State Warriors for Acie Law (who never plays) and Speedy Claxton (who’s never seen).

I know. You’re waiting for the punchline.

This is sort of like going into your attic, finding a twice-used bowling ball and an old pair of shoes with the soles blown out and trading them to your neighbor for a new lawnmower.

OK. Crawford isn’t new. He’s 29 and has played for three teams in nine seasons. But he’s a 20-point-a-game guy who can either start or come off the bench. This affords Sund tremendous leverage in negotiations with both incumbent point guard Mike Bibby and reserve Flip Murray, both of whom are unrestricted free agents.

Little did Josh Smith know last season he was guarding a possible future teammate.

Little did Josh Smith know he was guarding a possible future teammate.

It doesn’t mean the Hawks don’t want Bibby and Murray back. They do. But certainly any sense of desperation they may have felt to keep Bibby will be diminished. In the worst case scenario, Bibby signs elsewhere and the Hawks draft another point guard to groom Thursday night. In the best case scenario, Bibby re-signs and the Hawks rank among the deepest teams at guard in the NBA.

How does this happen?

Some of it is good fortune. The Warriors feel the need to trade Crawford and turn the show over to Monta Ellis. They also want to draft or acquire a more classic point guard. Crawford was likely headed to the bench, and there’s a general rule in sports that teams don’t like to keep former starters around as backups.

Why would they take Law? Because he’s young and cheap and still may turn out to be a player.

Why take Claxton? I don’t know. Masochism?

Seriously, even if Claxton doesn’t play for the Warriors – and they may not even want him to – insurance pays his salary and his contract expires next year. Or he retires, in which case he and Aetna are off the hook.

That’s not Sund’s problem. Most Hawks fans would be delirious, just knowing that Claxton — one of Knight’s biggest mistakes, and that’s saying something — is on someone else’s roster.

Now if there was just a way he could reverse Babcock’s last huge mistake: The Steve Smith-Isaiah Rider deal.

53 comments Add your comment

Art Vandelay

June 24th, 2009
6:10 pm

Art Vandelay

June 24th, 2009
6:11 pm

First AND second!

Hugo

June 24th, 2009
6:17 pm

Give me BaDDDDcock’s address so I can shoot him. He was a delirious GM to say the least. And what mades it so bad is I bet he didn’t play basketball.

Sund & Bradley Seperated @ Birth (NOT A COMPLIMENT) LOL

June 24th, 2009
6:18 pm

IM no longer a HAWKS FAN. COACH WOODSON WILL NEVER WIN A RING. HIS YEAR IS NEXT YEAR HE WILL GET THE BOOT. AVERY WILL TAKE HIS PLACE AND SUNDS IS DUMB AS 3 STONES!!

Kent

June 24th, 2009
6:18 pm

I assumed the Hawks would go into next year with basically the same roster. Excellent move! Very exciting!

shannon

June 24th, 2009
6:22 pm

Interesting trade.. Does it make them better or worse? Th easy answer is it makes them better but what kind of guard is Jamal Crawford? 1 or 2? will it affect joe johnson’s game any? i Still say sign Bibby or flip and have him come off the bench. We still need to draft a big man!!!

tony

June 24th, 2009
6:31 pm

Sund is a pretty good GM. If he pull this trade off, he will go down as one of the best GM’s in hawks history. Check this out guys. http://www.metacafe.com/watch736859/jamal_crawford_mix/

ATL BRAVOE

June 24th, 2009
6:35 pm

I like this move however, Jamal brings a big contract with him. Also, Jamal has a early termination clause in his contract. So Jeff, do you think this is a cause for concern?

Birddawg

June 24th, 2009
6:37 pm

I like this trade also. It’s an upgrade at the present moment, however, when Acie turns into an All-star point guard with Golden State, THEN can we fire Mike Woodson?

J:M

June 24th, 2009
6:37 pm

As a Warriors fan, Jamal Crawford is a great basketball player. He was great to the fans. HE was the only long term veteran who showed up to the last home game (Fan Appreciation Night), and he was only on the team for half a season. Stephen Jackson, Corey Maggette, and Monte Ellis didn’t even bother showing up. Jamal is a straight up dude, and hope he does well with the Hawks. IMO, good pickup for both teams.

J:M

June 24th, 2009
6:40 pm

RealSquawk

June 24th, 2009
6:46 pm

ATL BRAvoe,

I know you were asking Jeff, but I am going to through my two cents in there. His ETO really doesn’t hurt us that much.

A matter of fact if he opted out early that would just open the team up with more cap space in that glorious 2010 free agency where Joe Johnson will be a free agent.

So no its not really a problem.

tony

June 24th, 2009
6:54 pm

The Grinch

June 24th, 2009
7:10 pm

See ya, Speedy! Don’t let the doorknob get lodged on the way out!

BrittishAnger

June 24th, 2009
7:21 pm

@Birddawg: Yes, yes we can….

I’m still in a conundrum of deciding what exactly to do with Marvin this offseason, if for no better reason than he is the one deciding factor hampering the reacquisition of Bibby. I’m almost certain the kid is done playing with ATL, which is a shame in my boat (another offseason like the one he had last year, and we’d have ourselves a bonafide wing threat). I’m interested in what we’ll do with him, whether leaving him to float through what should be an interesting first month of free agency, or whether finding some team willing to make a legit sign and trade offer (to which I don’t know who we would get in return). Jamal will be a good player in the Hawks rotation, but I just want to see what comes of the Draft before I send myself to Milledgeville and start any crazy assumptions….

Kevin M

June 24th, 2009
7:29 pm

Jeff. correct me if I’m wrong here, but didn’t Sund just say in an interview that he discusses all moves with the coaching staff priorto making any moves?
Now I read that Woody is not in favor of this trade? Is Woody saying he will miss Charles and Acie or is he saying that he no longer can make excuses for his offense?

Craig Claxton

June 24th, 2009
7:45 pm

Hey, screw you guys!

Bubba

June 24th, 2009
7:57 pm

Fact is, the Hawks are trading talent that they want for talent that they don’t want – or need. Golden State will deserve accolades if (I think Acie’s a good bet for) the gamble pays off. If not, both teams will be better positioned to achieve their long-term goals.

W-W trade, IMHO.

mike jay

June 24th, 2009
7:59 pm

Great trade, offers up a ton of flexibility going forward in the FA season and next year.

westcobbstinger

June 24th, 2009
8:15 pm

Beats the same ole same ole

Bill in Dallas

June 24th, 2009
8:17 pm

Why hasn’t this trade been finalized yet? This is almost as big a steal as the Spurs getting Richard Jefferson. Crawford can give us a 20pt a game scorer. Will Acie Law ever get to that point? I’m not sure. And we can get rid of Speedy as well???

If this doesn’t happen, it will only make my disdain for the head coach increase.

NCBravesFan

June 24th, 2009
8:18 pm

“This is sort of like going into your attic, finding a twice-used bowling ball and an old pair of shoes with the soles blown out and trading them to your neighbor for a new lawnmower.”

BEST. SPORTSWRITING. SENTENCE. EVER.

Reid Adair

June 24th, 2009
8:31 pm

When I first heard the news about this on ESPN today, I couldn’t believe it. They had to be getting bad information.

They didn’t. This is a great move. Crawford can play the 1 and the 2, and that is critical with Mike Bibby and Flip Murray being free agents. I hope this trade doesn’t mean that the Hawks are not re-signing one (or both) of those two.

Credit is certainly due here. Well done, Rick Sund.

Jeff Schultz

June 24th, 2009
8:33 pm

Shannon: I don’t know how it can make the Hawks worse. It gives them scoring depth. Crawford’s a scoring 1, not a classic point, more like Bibby. But sure he can play 2 and relieve JJ.

ATLBrav: The money isn’t a huge difference: Claxton and Law combine for about $7.4 in salary nex t year. Crawford is at $9.36 next year, $10 the year after. So you’re carrying an extra year but he’s only 29.

J:M: Thanks for the insight.

KEVIN M: Unless you’re reading something from Woodson between quote marks, I’m not going to trust what you might have heard or read. And I can’t imagine why he would be against the deal. It’s not like he was tied to Speedy or in love with Acie.

NC BRAVES FAN: Thanx. So, I guess I can retire now?

mos def

June 24th, 2009
8:39 pm

just read on espn.com that the trade is being held up because coach woodson isn’t sold on the trade, are you serious woody, you don’t even play to two we are giving up, this guy has no clue

Craig Claxton

June 24th, 2009
8:54 pm

Thank God for Woody!!!

Get rid of Josh Smith

June 24th, 2009
9:13 pm

Wow…just wow…as if it wasn’t bad enough watching Mike Bibby man beat him to the basket anytime he wanted, now I get to watch Crawford man beat him too…first the big contract for Josh Smith, now this, lol…but this makes him a great GM…if Sund could get rid of Josh Smith and get Amare Stoutemare then he would be a great GM…

jdewayneatl

June 24th, 2009
9:13 pm

Good move. If we don’t bring in a pass-first pg such as Raymond Felton to start, we are guaranteed a starting five that could score with the best of them.

Still hoping to bring in Raymond Felton. Scoring off the bench would be something serious with a combination of Flip Murray and Jamal Crawford.

Big Ray

June 24th, 2009
9:30 pm

I like the deal. Not only do we get a more useful player than Acie was, or Claxton could ever be, but we have a more useful asset. Sit tight as Crawford could be used in another deal.

But I’d just as soon keep him. He’s a great scoring punch to add to the roster. No complaints here.

Harry Hawk

June 24th, 2009
10:30 pm

I don’t like this deal at all.

Michael

June 24th, 2009
10:43 pm

Am I the only one still not over the trading of Dominique Wilkins AND a draft pick for Danny Manning? Both guys were free agents at the end of that season, which basically means the Hawks just threw the Suns a draft pick.

Harry Hawk

June 24th, 2009
10:44 pm

It’s not because we’d be giving up Claxton and Law, mind you. It’s because Jamal Crawford plays better in a wide-open system. The Hawks are not a run-and-gun team. Because Crawford isn’t a very good shooter, he doesn’t fare well in halfcourt offense. He also needs a lot of shots. We already have enough trouble getting shots for our forwards.

Billy

June 24th, 2009
11:16 pm

I like the fact that the Hawks got Crawford for two reasons. 1) This obviously give the Hawks another proven scorer. 2) Poor Acie Law can go to a team that may actually USE him. When the Hawks drafted AL, I was ecstatic (having watched him alot in college). Then I see that loser Mike Woodson sitting him on the bench. Has Woodson ever given a legitimate reason why the “point guard of the future” can’t get more than 10-12 minutes a game?

Either way, AL is better off, and that makes me happy. Now I don’t have to hate the Hawks for not playing him. But Mike Woodson is still a horrible coach. And that’s a different blog.

Herschel Talker

June 24th, 2009
11:37 pm

Who cares? The Hawks are irrelevant.

Lieutenant Dan

June 25th, 2009
12:05 am

Being from Seattle and reading how everyone is drinking the Rick Sund cool-aid is laughable. My advice is put the bongs down now. Rick is only average on his very best day. The greeter at Walmart is an up-grade. Just wait and see. We are still recovering from the mess he left behind. YOU CAN HAVE HIM. I will check back with you in 6 months

R. Stroz

June 25th, 2009
12:22 am

Lets take a look at the Hawks draft picks the last few years:

1) Josh Childress left for Greece.

2) Josh Smith can’t get along with Woody.

3) Sheldon Williams was traded.

4) Soloman Jones rides the bench 95% of the time.

5) Salim Stoudamire was not re-signed.

6) Al Horford didn’t improve much from his rookie season.

7) Marvin Williams hasn’t improved over the last two seasons.

8) Acie Law has hardly seen the court in two seasons.

Now, name the one constant that each of these players encountered.

WOODSON.

Did any of these players improve each season under Woodson? NO.

Now, many of us wished that Billy Nightmare had drafted better, me included.

But given Woodson’s track record with our draft picks, do you think Chris Paul and Brandon Roy would have become stars under Woodson?

Woodson is the problem. Woodson can’t develop young players. Woodson willn’t give the young players a chance to develop. Woodson wants players that other coaches have taught how to play at the NBA level.

So what purpose does Woodson serve? Why was Woodson coaching a team that WAS loaded with young players?

What can Woodson do well? The Hawks do run three different plays on offense, I guess he calls 1,2, or 3.

Snarf

June 25th, 2009
12:43 am

Harry Hawk you are way off the handles makes everyone thinks Crawfords plays best in open system but he actually plays much better in a structured system where he knows where everyone should be and where is his shots will come from .Looking up his numbers once I heard the news I noticed he was shooting 45% from two and 43% from 3 in Dantonis offense in NY. Everyone figured it would continue because hey Nellie ball is basically do what you want but his numbers fell mainly because there was no structure and everyone just went for themselves .

Hes never taken more than 17 shots per game and in NY he was excellent in the screen roll and as a spot up shooter . Hes not coming to be the man and I think he will accept any role given him as long as we are winning . I read some of his quotes about the trade and I think he just wants to get into the playoffs . Its up to the coaching staff to use him properly.

JSS

June 25th, 2009
1:28 am

Lt. Dan, two words Billy Knight… We are not drinking the Rick Sund Kool-Aid. We’ve drank the bitter wine of 6′9″ bondage… This is like finally getting to see the world after being stuck at Jeff Schultz’s house for 3 years… Barely legal gets boring after awhile… YIPEE!!!

Terrell

June 25th, 2009
1:56 am

R. Stroz,

Lets take a look at the Hawks draft picks the last few years:

1) Josh Childress left for Greece.(They weren’t going to pay him stater’s money, and this was Sund’s decision not Woody’s.)

2) Josh Smith can’t get along with Woody.(That’s the emotions of both the player and the coach.)

3) Sheldon Williams was traded.(Wasn’t who Woody wanted anyways)

4) Soloman Jones rides the bench 95% of the time.(This one I don’t understand with you as well.)

5) Salim Stoudamire was not re-signed.(What has he done in SA?)

6) Al Horford didn’t improve much from his rookie season.(Al was hurt and what he didn’t show in stats he showed in leadership.)

7) Marvin Williams hasn’t improved over the last two seasons. (Actually his defense improved greatly and he became a 3-pt shooting threat)

Twinkie defense

June 25th, 2009
2:20 am

Low price to pay for Craw (in players, NOT salary – $9.4 & $10.1 mil over the next two years), but you heard it here first: if Jamal Crawford replaces Bibby on the squad the Hawks fall out of the playoffs next season.

Crawford is skilled but soft. Very soft. Streaky scorer. Good passer but NOT a PG. And quite possibly the very worst defender in the entire League (look it up).

Adding another scorer to complement Bibby, JJ, Smith and the rest – not a bad move. Craw as a starter replacing Bibby – bad, bad move. Let’s see what happens next before we start handing out executive of the year awards…

[...] deal for Crawford makes sense for so many reasons, as the digital tag-team duo of Mark Bradley and Jeff Schultz have already pointed out in separate takes on this latest roll of the red, white and blue [...]

Josh

June 25th, 2009
5:07 am

He is from the Seattke area and Marvin Williams is from the Seattle area. I think they missed something , Say Marvin splits ok so now you a big hole at the three , bring in Crawford at the off guard and slide Jo Jo over to the three and that maybe better for the team. Don’t see how they pull it off but could you imagine how scary this team would be if everyone else came back and you have a bench that goes Flip Crawford Mo Evans and Pachulia? Damn wish the team would spend the coin to do it.

UGASlobberknocker

June 25th, 2009
6:54 am

Qjuit worrying abut Woodson. I believe Sund is a smart guy, so he sees Woody cant coach. He will be gone after the first Hawk losing streak next year and then Sund will get a real coach.

[...] If you missed it, Sund actually had a lot going on. The team is close to finalizing a trade for Golden State guard Jamal Crawford, and all Sund have to give up is Speedy Claxton and Acie Law. If I’m Mike Bibby, I just lost significant contract leverage.) [...]

Lowcountry Bulldawg

June 25th, 2009
7:20 am

One issue the Hawks had in the playoffs was finding a consistent #2 option behind JJ. This is the answer in Crawford, having been a #1 option and a couple of 50 points games under his belt. Biiby and Josh where inconsistent in there games in the playoffs and you simply cannot afford that. You gotta have a scorer and Sund fixed the issue by trading retreads.

Mitch

June 25th, 2009
7:25 am

Jeff, as usual good story and funny and just well written. I love reading your articles. You inform and entertain well. Thanks for a great break each time I read. Rock on man!

Hilton

June 25th, 2009
7:26 am

No, there is no NBA and there are no thugs in Heaven, but thanks for asking.

Fred Pennington

June 25th, 2009
7:55 am

Crawford is a team killer. Add that to Josh Smith and the fact that Mike Woodson is one a one-year deal. IMPLOSION!

http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-2723-Atlanta-Hawks-Examiner~y2009m6d25-Anybody-but-Jamal-Crawford

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

June 25th, 2009
8:08 am

Some of these love fest comments about Woody & Sund made me throw up in my mouth a little

Boy

June 25th, 2009
8:29 am

Pau Gasol for Abdullah the Butcher was the worst thing Babcock did to us! or wuz that Knight?