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
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