If McGrady replaces Crawford, Hawks have problems

Tracy McGrady can't score like he used to. (AP photo)

Tracy McGrady can't score like he used to.

The Hawks are scheduled to play their lone home exhibition Dec. 22 against Charlotte.

Let us hope the Atlanta Spirit doesn’t plan to fund raise between quarters.

The Hawks plan to sign veteran Tracy McGrady to a one-year contract for the NBA minimum. This can be taken either as a pretty good sign or a really bad sign. It’s a good sign if McGrady’s addition is meant only to add depth on the bench. It’s a bad sign if his signing is intended to soften the blow for the possible loss of Jamal Crawford.

This is the McGrady of 2011. He is long past his All-Star days in Orlando and Houston, but he can still play a little bit. He

Jamal Crawford averages over 15 points per game. (Johnny Crawford)

Jamal Crawford averaged over 15 points per game for the Hawks last season. (Johnny Crawford)

showed last year in Detroit (39 starts, 72 games) that he can still handle the ball and give the Hawks some quality minutes off the bench.

What he can’t do is provide the scoring Crawford can, and this is where the Hawks’ financial issues come in.

The team has been for sale. It already has salary-cap issues. You can once again blame Joe Johnson’s contract, which will pay him $18 million this season. Add Al Horford ($12 million) and Josh Smith ($12.4 million), and that’s already $42.4 million for only three players.

General manager Rick Sund, who takes his cue from ownership, isn’t anxious to go over the cap (which was at $58 million last year) and play a luxury tax, which is probably would it would take to keep Crawford.

But the Hawks are kidding themselves if they don’t think they need Crawford’s scoring (15.4 points per game last year, which was No. 2 on the team). The condensed NBA schedule, which will provide few days off, means depth is more important than ever.

Among those pushing the Hawks to re-sign Crawford is Al Horford, who told our Michael Cunningham, “We are a much better team with him,” Horford said. “We need his scoring and his presence, and he just makes our team better.”

Even ownership can’t dispute that. But as we’ve seen over the past few years, the financial decisions this organization makes don’t necessarily equate to success.

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter (@JeffSchultzAJC). Friend me on Facebook (Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC).

175 comments Add your comment

Danny O

December 8th, 2011
9:11 am

Don’t get Tracy McGrady. For once in your franchise life, please do something smart in the offseason!

Hankie Aron

December 8th, 2011
9:26 am

It’s a foregone conclusion Danny O

Hankie Aron

December 8th, 2011
9:27 am

Jeff-15 min in between the first 2 comments tells you all you need to know about what Georgians think of the Hawks

mike

December 8th, 2011
9:28 am

I don’t think he was signed to replace Jamal Crawford..my belief is that he was just added for bench depth. Let’s all hold our judgement until all the free agency stuff ends.

I definitely think we need Jamal on our team.. he has won countless games for us the past couple years, no doubt about that.

Hankie Aron

December 8th, 2011
9:29 am

I agree btw about Crawford. He is a solid scorer that we will definately need if we want to get past the first round

rduck

December 8th, 2011
9:29 am

can we just lock out the Atlanta Spirit?

Hankie Aron

December 8th, 2011
9:30 am

Oh and T-Mac is looking kinda fat in the pic. Look at it again.

Ted M

December 8th, 2011
9:31 am

I know, broken record, but JJ contract has ruined any chance this team has winning in the next 3 or 4 years.

That is the stupid owners fault not JJ’s.

Hankie Aron

December 8th, 2011
9:31 am

Must be the light or the shadow

DePort

December 8th, 2011
9:34 am

McGrady is not a bad signing … he is for depth on the bench and he isnt going to cost us much … stop all this drama … and lets go get another big man or sign crawford back!

Famous Rob

December 8th, 2011
9:36 am

Sometimes I feel like we’d been better off keeping Crawford, and dissing Joe when we had a chance. Cheaper with the same results… hummm

Chris

December 8th, 2011
9:39 am

McGrady will be the Hawks version of Chipper Jones. If he so much as gets a paper cut, he’s done for the season. Sund better pay the luxury tax to keep Crawford. If not, the Hawks are in serious trouble this year…

Trojan

December 8th, 2011
9:39 am

Crawford plays no defense and is not worth the money. And the Hawk’s salary issues started the day that ASG paid $20 more than the next highest bidder for JJ. McGrady is not to replace JC. McGrady is a great signing.

joewhite

December 8th, 2011
9:39 am

I like the tmac sighing for depth off the bench for sure, imagine him,joe,josh,al and if crawford is here all them on the floor at some point will be good at times.

Steve

December 8th, 2011
9:44 am

Why couldn’t the Thrashers have taken the Hawks with them??? Nobody does or will ever care about the Hawks. Atlanta is all about college football and baseball! Good article though Jeff.

MannyT

December 8th, 2011
9:45 am

The Hawks have and will go over the salary cap. They were reluctant to go over the luxury tax level. However, in the new CBA, the disadvantages over a little luxury excess may change. Once the rules are clear, I suspect the Hawks will make a decision.

Post Belkin, the ASG has been stuck in the limbo of replacing 40% ownership. Almost no one wants the PLURALITY of fiscal responsibility w/o the MAJORITY of decision making. Maybe they need to go in the other direction and find 20 people that want 2% ownership. It’s still a clownish solution, but might be better than circling the cash poor wagons.

With a shorter season, no Lakers home game, and a compressed schedule, I can’t wait to see how they manage the arena expenses this season. CBA should make it better, but loss of cash now could make it worse. Cue the digital demand pricing signs that raise concession costs for better games 8-O

Bama Mike

December 8th, 2011
9:47 am

The ASG as well as GM Sund has distanced themselves so far from the fan base they might as well reside at or near the Artic Circle. When is the last time you have heard Sund on any of the radio call in shows. They are the lone cancer cell remaining in this sports town.

Don't care!

December 8th, 2011
9:51 am

Sorry, but I’ve instilled a self-imposed lock-out for this season.

PMC

December 8th, 2011
9:53 am

Headline could have just read… “Hawks have problems”

Starts with Rick Sund and his amazingly nonsensical contract decisions.

Paying Marvin, case #1 against Mr. Sund.

PMC

December 8th, 2011
9:54 am

They should try the Packers model except ACTUALLY sell the team for $275 a pop.

Bill

December 8th, 2011
9:55 am

I hope the fan base decides to stay home and force ASG to sell.There maybe worse organizations to own this team (Liberty Media comes to mind), but there has to be somebody out there.Ten years of labor peace should help lure a competent owner.

Still Laughing at Mike Bianchi

December 8th, 2011
9:58 am

I’m OK with T-Mac as a relief for Crawford, but Crawford’s the man, he gives us that spark of energy and is the opposite of T-Mac in terms of locker room guy

Trojan

December 8th, 2011
9:58 am

Your headline is misleading. Perhaps by design. McGrady is not the problem. It is the pitiful management by the Hawks. If anyone pays attention to the Hawks, they would have known that JC leaving was determined over a year ago. Pay attention and don’t put down a star who is coming for the minimum.

Still Laughing at Mike Bianchi

December 8th, 2011
10:00 am

this would be the year for the Hawks to get to the ECF, the only legit contenders in the East are Chicago and Miami, the Knicks could be a problem if they somehow get CP3

Nique

December 8th, 2011
10:02 am

I’d of course like to keep Crawford, but If we let Crawford walk, i’d be ok with that if we go get Micheal Redd as a replacement to add some scoring punch off of the bench. Kirk, T-Mac, & Redd should supply a pretty consistance offensive punch off of the bench & we could also get Redd for around the Vet minimum. If Crawford walks, we have to replace him with another shoter, if we don’t ppl will be able to clog the lane on Teague at times when JJ goes cold & this will limit his production.

Still Laughing at Mike Bianchi

December 8th, 2011
10:02 am

Josh Smith should be worth more than Joe Johnson’s wristband, that tells you the financial know-how of the Hawks ownership

Spanky Monkey

December 8th, 2011
10:06 am

McGrady has been injured a lot over the last 7 years. If he is healthy then maybe he can give you 15 points per game. He used to be one of the best players in the NBA. The Hawks are stupid for giving Joe Johnson that bloated contract. Now they can live with it handicapping the entire team.

Spanky Monkey

December 8th, 2011
10:07 am

And again the drafting of Marvin Williams over Chris Paul rears its ugly head…

Jerry West

December 8th, 2011
10:08 am

Maybe Joe and Al and Josh can kick in some $$$ to help resign Crawford

Michael Scott

December 8th, 2011
10:08 am

I did not go to business school. You know who else didn’t go to business school? LeBron James, Tracy McGrady, Kobe Bryant. They went right from high school to the NBA so…So, it’s not the same thing at all.

busterbrave

December 8th, 2011
10:09 am

bench,yes, replace crawford no! lets hope our resident genius owners don’t start thinkin’ they know how to make personnel,and financial decisions; let sund do what he can with the resources allowed to him,and get out of his way!!!!

Spanky Monkey

December 8th, 2011
10:10 am

Joe Johnson is a $5 million a year type player not a $18 million a year type player. There ya go…

James

December 8th, 2011
10:13 am

Reminds me of when the Hawks lossed David Thompson and Marvin Webster to Denver.To soften the blow the team brought in Connie Hawkins(for those who dont know google him)who was well past his prime.Joe Johnson’s contract is going to strangle the Hawks for a long time.The ball movement is much better with Crawford than Johnson and Horford knows it.This has got to be the worst managed franchise in all of sports.

Danny O

December 8th, 2011
10:14 am

I don’t care for “stock” cars that only make left turns, but you don’t see me jumping on the blogs and saying that NASCAR should stop coming to Atlanta.

If you don’t like the Hawks, don’t go to the games. But don’t be a jerk and advocate for the team to leave Atlanta. There’s still plenty of basketball fans here. To each his own.

5150 UOAD

December 8th, 2011
10:22 am

Jeff you are not going to get hits writing about the NBA, but I guess you have to cover it.

Matt

December 8th, 2011
10:25 am

Can’t afford to keep any legit NHL stars on our ill-begone hockey team, but can afford to make Joe Johnson one of the highest paid players in the league. JJ makes more than LeBron.

I don’t want the basketball team to leave, but I won’t support them until the Atl Spirit Group are gone (which I realize is patently contradictory). In the meantime, is it too much to ask to allow Thrashers fans to tar and feather the Spirit Group in Centennial Park? I don’t want them to be hurt (too badly), but I think it’s time we set up a pillory for them outside of the aquarium for a good public shaming.

Man… I hate those guys.

Shug

December 8th, 2011
10:29 am

Tracy McGrady? Wasn’t Dan Roundfield available?

STRETCH

December 8th, 2011
10:34 am

I also agree that people shouldnt blame anything on a proven veteran who’s coming in for the minimum.

They have 45 mil locked up in 3 players! Well, every organization in the NBA knew JJ was not worth 18 mil a year but the Hawks management.

Ted M

December 8th, 2011
10:40 am

Jeff – You should sponsor a contest to see who can guess how much money the Atl Spirit will lose. With no penalty for guessing to much of course.

A great prize would be Braves tickets.

clintlanta

December 8th, 2011
10:41 am

we better sign him!
JC is a damn stud, period. Trade coach-killa-ball-hog-bad-shot-JSmoove (Incredibly dumb name) asap and resign JC….
Play JTeague early and often, he can continue to grow, allow Joe to take some advice from the former cold blooded T-Mac, he needs to JJ how to have a pair of bb’s…..
We need to play with swagger, as a team and we need JC. If we lose JC the Hawks will lose yet another Atlanta born fan.
Do something Front Office. DO SOMETHING!!!

STRETCH

December 8th, 2011
10:44 am

As much as i love Smoove, the writing is on the wall. The only way this team is going to get more competitive, they have to move either him or one of the “Big 3″ on that team for some more depth, players that can contribute immediately.

hawks d

December 8th, 2011
10:45 am

DO NOT SELL JAMAL!!!!!!!!!
WE NEED EXPERIENCE, DEPTH, AND SCORING TALENT!!!!! T-MAC IS NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR JAMAL!!, I REPEAT, T-MAC IS NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR JAMAL!!

El Bravo

December 8th, 2011
10:46 am

Schultzie, you actually argued against resigning Crawford. We can’t afford to pay him if we want to have depth on our bench for the tough season ahead. TMac is a nice piece and if we get a player like Brewer on a sign and trade for Crawford we start to gain nice depth. If we could add another two bargain bigs (Kwame Brown, Reggie Evans) and another combo guard (Anthony Parker or DeShawn Stevenson) and we should be set for the season. If anything, I would target Kenyon Martin who is trapped in China right now but would be a nice addition in March.

Jesse

December 8th, 2011
10:50 am

He’s better than Marvin. Start him at SF.

Daniel

December 8th, 2011
10:51 am

Love Crawford as a Hawk, but he simply is not worth a long term contract or more than 5 milion per year; he does not play defense and is getting older. Jeff, we need less big overpriced contracts, not more.

Maybe

December 8th, 2011
11:02 am

Its a good move for Atlanta. Jamal’s streaky offensive breakouts are overrated, especially when you factor in his Mike Bibbyish defense. Tracy McGrady is a better scorer (when healthy), a better passer, and most importantly a better defender.

The thing that most people fail to see is that the Hawks made Jamal better, not the other way around. Before he got with the Hawks he never saw the playoffs. Players are made in the playoffs and the Hawks gave Jamal a stage, and even then it was half and half. He was no where to be found in the 2nd round against Chicago when the Hawks needed him most.

judy

December 8th, 2011
11:02 am

Joe Johnson is worth every penny he is getting. It’s not his fault that he isn’t stupid like LeBron who left his Ohio team. Joe works really hard to do his best.Go JJ and the Hawks!!!!!!!!!!!!The true Hawks fan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maybe

December 8th, 2011
11:03 am

MB in SC

December 8th, 2011
11:06 am

I like Jamal as a player, and he seems like a great guy. However, I don’t see him integral to the Hawks. They Hawks have scorers. They need well-rounded players that can surround the scorers, play tough D, and get some rebounds.

Realistic

December 8th, 2011
11:09 am

Here is the list of Hawks players who need the dominate the ball to be at their best: Joe Johnson, Jamal Crawford, Jeff Teague, Tracy McGrady. One of those won’t be back. Joe cost too much to let go. T-Mac just got signed. Too soon to know if Teague is legit. Looks like Jamal is gone. We enjoyed you while you were here.