Hawks are moving slow in NBA’s market for centers (UPDATE: Marvin-for-Shaq trade?)

shaquille-oneal-be-the-match

Shaquille O'Neal (The Big Peach?)

(Updated below with report that Shaquille O’Neal could come to the Hawks in a sign-and-trade with Cleveland for Marvin Williams.)

The Hawks remain relatively quiet on their plans to acquire a center (or not) in the free agent market. But quiet is not good right now. Look around.

♦ Miami has signed Zydrunas Ilgauskas as a free agent from Cleveland. Not a huge surprise. He seems to like following LeBron James around, as evidenced by him re-signing with the Cavaliers late last season after he had been traded to Washington and subsequently released a month earlier. Long story.

♦ Boston signed Jermaine O’Neal as insurance while Kendrick Perkins recovers from knee surgery. Smart move by general manager Danny Ainge.

Who should the Hawks sign at center?

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♦ Dallas re-signed Brendan Haywood.

♦ Golden State acquired forward/center David Lee in a sign-and-trade with the New York Knicks for three players and a draft pick.

♦ Utah, quickly replacing the loss of free agent power forward Carlos Boozer, who signed with Chicago, acquired forward/center Al Jefferson from Minnesota.

Hello? Anybody home?

The Hawks can’t afford to sit back. Even if lineup changes (Jeff Teague to starter; Mike Bibby to the bench) and new coach Larry Drew improve things at both ends of the floor, the team has lacked another significant “big” for some time. Al Horford needs help inside. Here are the best remaining options.

1.) Shaquille O’Neal: Not nearly the player he used to be, obviously. But don’t get caught up in the he’s-old-and-fat argument. He can still play and give the team valuable minutes off the bench. He gives the Hawks the big body they need at both ends, clogging space, and he can still play defense and rebound. As a bonus, he’ll take some media pressure off of Joe Johnson and he’ll certainly sell tickets. O’Neal’s options appear limited. It may be down to the Hawks or Dallas.

(UPDATE: NBA.com is reporting the Cavaliers’ interest in Marvin Williams, who has been a huge disappointment for the Hawks, is to the point that they’re trying to acquire him from Atlanta in a sign and trade for Shaq. The deal would give the Hawks’ payroll relief.)

Atlanta has budget limitations after agreeing to give guard Joe Johnson a $124 million max contract, with ownership unlikely to approve a deal for O’Neal or any other backup center that goes much above the veteran minimum. The Hawks are also interested in free agent center Brad Miller and Bucks free agent center Kurt Thomas.

Cleveland got a $14.5 million trade exception by agreeing to a sign-and-trade deal for LeBron James to Miami, in addition to two future draft picks from the Heat. The Cavs could use part of the exception to absorb Williams’s $6.7 million salary for next season.

Atlanta also got a trade exception, worth about $2.9 million, when it agreed to a sign-and-trade deal that will send free agent forward Josh Childress to the Phoenix Suns for a future draft pick, and can use that exception to acquire a player making that much money.

The Cavs’ new general manager, Chris Grant, was working as the Hawks’ assistant GM when Atlanta took Williams with the second pick overall in the 2005 Draft, opting to take him over point guards Deron Williams (who went third to Utah) and Chris Paul (fourth to New Orleans).

2.) Brad Miller: A well-traveled seven-footer but still effective. He might be a better fit in Drew’s offense than Shaq but obviously doesn’t bring the same marquee value.

3.) Kwame Brown: A few readers have been pushing him, based on the fact he is younger and more athletic than Shaq. Problem is, he’s been “younger and more athletic” than almost everybody his entire career. He’s still a slug. He certainly brings nothing to the table offensively. Pass.

Who’s your pick? O’Neal, Miller or Brown. Or are you satisfied with the current roster?

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

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162 comments Add your comment

Jim

July 14th, 2010
10:34 am

why couldn’t we do 2 of the 3 on the list. didn’t we just get a 6.5 Million trade exemption from the suns? Use that on one and MLE on the other.

Barton

July 14th, 2010
10:35 am

Barton

July 14th, 2010
10:35 am

Coscro

July 14th, 2010
10:35 am

Top 5? I don’t think Kwame would be good as a first option

jarvis

July 14th, 2010
10:36 am

Kwame and Smoov deserve each other.

Gtjacket44

July 14th, 2010
10:36 am

Jim

July 14th, 2010
10:38 am

or we could send the 6.5 million trade exemption, bibby and zaza to wizards for gilbert arenas and still use the MLE on a center.

Starters
Teague – point
JJ and Gilbert – wings
smooth and al – post

Bench
Jamal, Jordan, Marvin, Center

Marvin will be a better player on the second unit. We definately get worse defensively with arenas but better offensively.

Coscro

July 14th, 2010
10:38 am

dream scenario Shaq and Miller. But, I’ll take Shaq and Brown. Maybe the big peachtree could teach the guy a little something so he can step in for him in two years.

jarvis

July 14th, 2010
10:39 am

Yes Jim. I’m sure that’s just what the Wizards want.

Barton

July 14th, 2010
10:40 am

I like Brad Miller’s shooting touch and offensive game, but I truly feel like we need Shaqzilla to bang with Dwight and Bosh. He’s a known bruiser too and the Hawks need some of his toughness. Could be exactly what they need to get that label as a tough team not to be messed with.

SecondSage

July 14th, 2010
10:41 am

We need a hole clogging body, Kwame at 2 mil a year can do that. Shaq is the best option but Kwame, for what the Hawks need, can fill the void. Plus he gets a chance to stick it to Jordan 4 times a year.

Mike Woodson

July 14th, 2010
10:41 am

Why couldn’t they do this while I was there? I couldv’e used a couple of big men. Regardless, I would think the Hawks need to go after Shaq pretty hard..not only to fill seats but to clog the middle so Al Horford can play in his true position. Also, Brad Miller is a good option because of some of the interior nastiness needed for the NBA. We definitely need someone and if the Hawks stand pat..it’s going to be another second round elimination for sure! Let’s go Hawks!!

Jeff, what do you think?

Jim

July 14th, 2010
10:41 am

wizards just want to unload his contract now that they have wall. orlando is offering vince carters last year to them. Bibby could help mentor wall and be a quality backup.

Jesse

July 14th, 2010
10:42 am

Sign Vlade Divac out of retirement….

DP

July 14th, 2010
10:43 am

Dallas traded Dampier and his non-guaranteed contract for Tyson Chandler so they’re not an option for Shaq anymore. But I think Shaq would be a locker room cancer for the Hawks. Neither Larry Drew or anybody on the Hawks roster has the stature to keep Shaq in line.

Kwame Brown is a stiff. Brad Miller is washed up.

I vote none of the above. All things considered I don’t think any of them are a signficant upgrade over Zaza, the incumbent stiff.

coachx

July 14th, 2010
10:44 am

We need Shaq to wrestle with the big boys for a 20 minutes in about 50 games next year.

We got ZaZa to play the other 32 games.

Most importantly….we need Shaq’s size and strength in the 2nd round of the playoffs.

GT Alum

July 14th, 2010
10:46 am

Jim, I don’t think the contract has been officially announced, so we don’t know for sure exactly how much the contract exception is going to be. However, from the numbers that have been tossed around, it looks like the contract will make Childress a base year compensation player, which means the exception will be half of what Childress makes in the first year of his contract. He’ll get raises each year, so the first year value will be below the average.

All of this means the trade exemption will likely be in the $2.5M range. Basically, it’s probably not going to be big enough for us to acquire a player without sending a player. We’ll just be able to take back a little more salary than we send out.

HawkKingBibby

July 14th, 2010
10:47 am

Jeff, Stephen A. Smith says the Hawks already offered Shaq 2 years 11 mill with the M.L.E. Ajc ( Mike C. ) says the Hawks are still kicking the tires wondering whether Shaq is a good fit or not and havent made him any such offer. Which is it? Are the Hawks waiting on Shaq or is he waiting on us?

Jerry West

July 14th, 2010
10:47 am

Horford/ Jamal/ Bibby

for

CP3/ Okafor

Do it already, Sund. “Onions!” – Bill Raftery

GT Alum

July 14th, 2010
10:49 am

I honestly think Sund is waiting around because he felt he had to figure out what he was going to be paying Joe. I don’t know if he needs this deal finalized because he’s planning on using that trade exemption in a trade to acquire a big man or what, but he seems to be waiting to have the Childress situation resolved before acquiring any new players.

The FAN speaks....

July 14th, 2010
10:54 am

None of these options are viable. We should go after solid back up players and fill the roster out i.e.:
Toliver
Mahini
Anthony

All are cheaper, younger, bodies who can play in the post. Why is Shaq, Miller, Brown the only options we have

If a trade must be made.. I say call up PORTLAND.

Javy

July 14th, 2010
10:56 am

Just give us our standard D-League scrub or over the hill Vet we usually get. Screw getting someone that can offer up an ounce of resistance to Howard.

WELCOME BACK RANDOLPH MORRIS! You big dumb Ox.

jarvis

July 14th, 2010
10:56 am

Enough with the Chris Paul talk. New Orleans has made it CLEAR the he is 100% not available.

Move on.

Sutton's Fro

July 14th, 2010
10:57 am

Jerry, that’s a jode, right? CP3 is a free agent next year, who has already talked about going to the Knicks with Melo, and Okafor isn’t much of an upgrade from ZaZa, much less a young All-Star like Horford. Plus you’re trading away 2 of our best scorers. Get another cup of coffee, dude.

Sutton's Fro

July 14th, 2010
10:58 am

um. “joke.”

mountain_jim

July 14th, 2010
10:59 am

Sund is the slowest moving GM in the league. Saves some money at times, but sure limits the talent left for acquisition. by the time he and the owners stop contemplating their collective navels.

Are there any other centers who might be had in trade? These options bite the big one.

richham

July 14th, 2010
10:59 am

Jerry West

That trade isn’t half bad. It actually would work. I would hate to get rid of Horford, but that would actually give us a center and a point guard.

I would love to see that trade go down, just to see how it would play out. The Hawks don’t look any better than the second round, so why not. That might actually make the team better overall.

The Dogfighter Returns

July 14th, 2010
11:01 am

The hawks are idiots. New Jersey picked up Anthony Morrow for 12 million dollars for 4 years meanwhile Joe Johnson is resigned for 20 million a year.

Joe “no facial expression” Johnson. I have no idea why they signed that bozo. He is a useless basketball player.

The hawks would have been better of with morrow and brewer than this moron.

jarvis

July 14th, 2010
11:02 am

The Hornets ownership fired their GM this week because he wouldn’t step to the plate and say emphatically that the team was committed to Paul.

If that doesn’t tell you that they won’t trade him, I don’t know what does.

shawn

July 14th, 2010
11:03 am

Does it really matter who they get given being the same dvivision with Heat and Orlando? Hawks are not going to beat any of those team in playoff anyway.

TONE

July 14th, 2010
11:03 am

If the owners want to have any chance at all of selling enough tickets to pay JJ the better get Shaq , but who knows i bet Shaq has a better chance of ending up in Miami than Atlanta.
I am betting that the Hawks do nothing else this off season and make the playoffs as a 6 or 7 seed because teams other than Miami are trying to get better.

Ted M

July 14th, 2010
11:07 am

The Hawks already blew their wad. That’s why they have stopped moving as opposed to moving slow on free agents.

Can Zaza improve his game and keep it up consistently? I’m really wonder that, what does everyone else think?

Jerry West

July 14th, 2010
11:08 am

Sutton,

No it’s not a joke. CP3 isn’t a FA until 2012. He gives you an on-floor leader/ decision maker, face of the franchise, and a mentor to Teague. (See Collison’s comments on what Chris has done for him). You just committed a bunch of money to Joe, who’s in his prime, so hell why not go for it all right now? You could even sign Shaq with the MLE and feel better about doing it, because you’d have a strong personality that he’d respect (not to mention a PG who’d know how to feed him).

And back to Paul’s free agency for a min, he leaves, you’ve been grooming Teague for a couple years behind him. He stays, you’ve likely gotten Teague enough buzz as the backup to have him as a valuable trading chip in case you need to package him up and dump Okafor.

Speaking of Okafor, he’s overpaid yes, but he’s better than Zaza.

Herschel Talker

July 14th, 2010
11:10 am

Schultzie:

Who cares about the Hawks? Go Braves.

HT

jeff becker

July 14th, 2010
11:12 am

i say we sign shaq or miller, whichever fits drew best, AND Brown…. would be nice to have an immovable force in the paint, even if they are a bricklayer… imagine how many weakside blocks smooth would have if he could predict where the shot was coming from…. such an obvious need you’d have to be really stupid not to address it…. hmmm…..

jeff becker

July 14th, 2010
11:14 am

oh yeah, and herschel, we have GOT to sign willingham sooner than later… melky must die… somebody tell bobby that blanco has moved past him on the depth chart lol… he’s too loyal (reminds me of woody with bibby in playoffs… loyal to a fault)

Tremaine

July 14th, 2010
11:14 am

Shaq clearly is the best option. The hawks management is being cheap and trying to wait for him to lower his price. All Brown and Miller did last season against Dwight Howard is collect fouls. The hawks need someone to clog the paint because if they don’t Lebron and Wade will stay in there.

Also you forgot to mention that Shaq is a great passer.

scottc

July 14th, 2010
11:16 am

Shaq to clog the middle. Don’t count on him for anything else. But that could be enough to get to Round Three.

gotten older

July 14th, 2010
11:20 am

How can we have any faith that the leadership of the Hawks will do anything to make the team better? I just don’t understand why many of the other teams are making moves and the Hawks are not. Just don’t understand.

NC Braves Fan

July 14th, 2010
11:20 am

Guess if I have to choose one of the three I’d go for Miller. Shaq is probably a better player, but he would definitely be a risk as far as team cohesion. Shaq is probably not a distraction that the team and a first-year head coach need to deal with.

Whatever the plan, I hope it comes together soon.

Pounds

July 14th, 2010
11:22 am

We will pick up Shaq or Miller (probably Miller) and this will change EVERYTHING! The Hawks will make it to the 3rd round next year and give the Heat a run for their money. If we pick up a proven center that will free up Horford and Smith plus it give us more depth (the number one ingredient for a quality playoff team). Its going to happen. And we don’t need to fret about Joe Johnson. He’s going to continue to lead and prove to us that he’s worth all the money that was forked out to bring him back.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

July 14th, 2010
11:22 am

The big peach sounds good to me .
but it will never happen

TrueHawk

July 14th, 2010
11:29 am

Keep Alade Aminu and give him minutes. Forget about old players who should be thinking retirement. We need fresh legs that can run and leap out the gym.

Just Being Real

July 14th, 2010
11:30 am

just know I was the one who called him the “Big Peachtree” first followed by “Shaq-lanta”

jeff becker

July 14th, 2010
11:31 am

i suppose great passing and free throws are a wash…

Khao$

July 14th, 2010
11:31 am

After the max contract that JJ received, I can no longer call the ASG cheap. However, you’d better believe their perception around the league (as a meddlesome and dysfunctional ownership group) has a lot to do with the fact that free agents are still skeptical about coming here, despite recent winning.

Thus, we have little edge if any on Chicago when it comes to Brad Miller and Shaq is probably using us as leverage because our attendance is such where he can make the viable argument that we need him more than he needs us. I believe Shaq would at least consider Miami at the minimum if they had any interest in him. Why? They probably give him the best opportunity to match Kobe’s ring total. However, he’s burnt bridges. With us, the interest is mutual, but we aren’t championship caliber yet and the ASG has a bad rap. Those two factors alone work against us.

Best believe, while FA love to live in ATL and party here, they think twice about playing here because of the ASG. The only thing we can do is throw boat loads of money at them.

By the way, if Shaq became at Hawk, Shouldn’t he be called the “Big Bird”?

ADR

July 14th, 2010
11:32 am

I would have to go with shaq or kwame- shaq can still give us almost unstoppable post scoring

Just Being Real

July 14th, 2010
11:35 am

@ Khao$ -Big Bird

got a lil ring to it

TruthSeeker

July 14th, 2010
11:38 am

Unfortunately, this isn’t surprising. The Hawks are as content to stand pat as any organization I’ve ever seen. Now, that philosophy has worked to a certain extent. There’s been improvement in the win-loss record every year. But when you’ve hit a plateau, which the Hawks clearly have in getting swept in the second round (and not just getting swept, but getting utterly annihilated) each of the last two years, you want to see management get creative and do some things to give you a chance to break through. I can’t think of one creative thing Sund has done in the three summers he’s been the Hawks’ GM. Getting Jamal Crawford was a no-brainer since Golden State basically handed him to us on a silver platter.

I like the idea of getting Shaq. I think he can help. But in an offseason where Miami and Chicago have loaded up and Boston and Orlando have retained their core players, does adding a 20-minute-a-game center as your big offseason acquisition excite you? It doesn’t excite me. It also doesn’t fill me with much optimism.

Just Being Real

July 14th, 2010
11:38 am

cause I know if we get Kwame Brown I’m a call him the “Brown Turd”