Posts Tagged ‘Joe Johnson’

Hawks are surviving nicely without Joe Johnson (go figure)

Josh Smith, Devin Harris and the Hawks have had a lot of reason to celebrate so far this season. (AP photo)

Josh Smith, Devin Harris and the surprising Hawks have had a lot of reasons to celebrate so far this season. (AP photo)

Notwithstanding that 15 games is a small sampling size, it’s worth noting that the Hawks don’t appear flummoxed or discombobulated this season, even without the former king of clutch and locker-room glue that was Joe Johnson.

(I thought I’d open with a joke. Try the veal.)

The Hawks are 10-5. They have the third best record in the Eastern Conference. They are running. They are moving the ball. They are playing unselfishly. They are having fun. They seem to actually like each other. So this is what it looks like.

Welcome to Fantasy Island.

“I’m surprised. I’m shocked,” Josh Smith said. “When teams have a lot of new faces like we do, it usually takes until about December or January to click and gel. But we’re doing it right away.”

There’s a temptation to suggest the Hawks have been greater than the sum of their parts. But that would suggest …

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Hawks’ Ferry doesn’t foresee Josh Smith going anywhere

Danny Ferry envisions his new team with Josh Smith on it. (AP photo)

Hawks general manager Danny Ferry envisions his team with Josh Smith on it. (AP photo)

In his first few weeks as general manager, Danny Ferry has managed to exorcise the Hawks’ franchise of two mistakes (Joe Johnson for his contract; Marvin Williams for the assumption he had a pulse), acquire nine new players through trades and the draft and live in three different Atlanta hotels.

On Wednesday, he exhaled and we had breakfast (in a hotel).

“I really haven’t lived in Atlanta yet,” he said. “When I’ve been in town, I’ve spent most of my time on the 19th floor [at the Hawks’ downtown offices]. But I’ve enjoyed the challenges.”

The new Hawks haven’t played a game. Yet, Ferry enjoys a level of popularity that Pete Babcock, Billy Knight and Rick Sund never attained. Locating a Russian billionaire to assume $90 million of your team’s payroll can do wonders for a general manager’s Q score.

At least in the short term — and assuming Dwight Howard isn’t walking …

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VIDEO: Talking about Hawks, Danny Ferry, Joe and Josh

I chatted with Cinesport’s Noah Coslov on the Hawks’ hiring of Danny Ferry as their new general manager and the contract situations of Joe Johnson and Josh Smith.

Just one question: Does this video make me look bald?

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Hawks make the right move (honest) hiring Danny Ferry

Danny Ferry. (Getty Images)

Sorry, Danny Ferry is no longer in a position to bring LeBron James with him if he takes the Hawks' GM job. (Getty Images)

(This Sunday blog has been updated with the news this morning that Danny Ferry has been hired as the Hawks’ new president and general manager.)

There will be a blur of issues for the Hawks’ new architect to deal with, but all that really matters today is the organization seems to have the right guy in charge.

The Hawks have finalized the hiring of Danny Ferry as their new team president and general manager, replacing Rick Sund. New general managers, like new coaches and first-round draft picks, come with no guarantees. But Ferry has a strong reputation around the league as a sharp personnel guy and he did a solid job for five years as the Cleveland Cavaliers’ general manager.

Ferry spent the last two years as vice president of basketball operations for the San Antonio Spurs, following his resignation from the Cavs in 2010. He and owner Dan Gilbert split …

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We give you odds on Braves’, Falcons’ or Hawks’ title parade

Forgot what a sports parade looks like? Here's Braves World Series hero Tom Glavine in 1995.

Forgot what Atlanta parade looked like? Here's 1995 Braves World Series MVP Tom Glavine.

It is that time of year when two leagues are close to determining new champions and every sports fan in Atlanta thinks, “There goes another parade.”

A potential NBA title in Oklahoma City? A possible Stanley Cup in Los Angeles (only slightly better than if Ilya Kovalchuk led New Jersey)? Are the sporting gods planning any more shots to the groin area? Is Mike Mularkey destined to lead Jacksonville to a Super Bowl? (On second thought, we’re probably safe.)

Not counting minor leagues or sports teams that would make you pause and think, “Wait, do they count?” Atlanta has celebrated only one pro championship since the Braves and Falcons theoretically lifted the city out of amateur status in 1966.

Depending on how generous you want to be with the math, Atlanta is 1-for-46 years, which equates to an annual parade percentage of .022, or 1-for-155 seasons (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL), which is a …

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Rick Sund shouldn’t be making decisions for Hawks

Rick Sund will decide on his future soon, but Hawks should be hiring another decision-maker. (Jason Getz/AJC)

Rick Sund will decide on his future soon, but Hawks should be hiring another decision-maker. (Jason Getz/AJC)

As early as next week, the Hawks will make an announcement on the status of Rick Sund. Maybe he comes back as general manager. Maybe he comes back as team president. Maybe he comes back as consultant, spiritual adviser, GM Emeritus and VP of Deflecting Blame for the Joe Johnson Contract.

Doesn’t really matter what he decides. It’s a problem.

Sund is considering retirement. Do you know what some say when an athlete is considering retirement? He already has checked out. The same belief should apply to coaches and team executives.

In all likelihood, no matter what Sund chooses to do, he will remain with the Hawks through the draft. He still has the downtown office on Marietta Street. He will attend an NBA draft combine this weekend. He will be the Hawks’ executive talking to other general managers about players who potentially might be available in trade.

Sund goes …

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Does Dwight Howard’s baggage outweigh his talent?

Howard (AP photo)

When it came to survival, Stan Van Gundy should've known he wasn't going to win a battle with Dwight Howard. (AP photo)

Last November, I proposed a trade for the Hawks: Deal any two players on their roster for Dwight Howard.

Joe Johnson and Josh Smith. Josh Smith and Al Horford. Johnson and Al Horford. Marvin Williams, several Mediterranean islands and the undying gratitude of every Atlanta resident.

But given what just occurred, I’m wondering how much better off the Hawks would be in the long run with such a diva on the roster.

The Orlando Magic, in an expected move, fired coach Stan Van Gundy, ostensibly because Howard wanted him out. Even before Van Gundy went public late in the season that Howard was trying to get him fired, it was clear the two were in an unworkable situation.

Ownership knows firing their coach and general manager (Otis Smith) won’t lose them any ticket sales. Losing Howard would. So this was an easy choice. Of course, if Howard leaves any way, they will …

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Hawks plagued with too many issues, from owners to Joe

Whether it's Larry Drew or somebody else as coach, Hawks have problems that can't easily be fixed.

Whether it's Larry Drew or another coach, Hawks have problems that can't easily be fixed.

In many ways, the Hawks are no different than other organizations. They end the season with a loss and for several weeks plot their makeover.

Maybe they need a new coach. Maybe they need a new general manager. Maybe a star player who can be the rose one minute and the thorns the next needs to be traded. Or maybe a dysfunctional ownership group comes to the realization, “This isn’t working. Let’s go back to selling cellphone towers and newsletters. We’re outta here.”

But in at least one way, the Hawks so often are different from other organizations: No matter what decisions we logically think they can make this summer, it’s difficult not to come away with the belief that they’re still going to be in trouble when next season opens.

Most franchises give you hope. The Hawks give you hangovers.

The Braves missed the playoffs and did little this past winter to improve themselves, …

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Al Horford on Game 5: ‘I didn’t know if I was going to play’

Smile, Al Horfford: You just rescued the Hawks in the NBA playoffs. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

Smile, Al Horford: You just rescued the Hawks in the NBA playoffs. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

Three hours before tip-off, three hours before the performance that would reaffirm what Al Horford means to this basketball team, the Hawks’ center had no idea if he would be able to play.

“I got to the arena around 5 o’clock, and I didn’t know if I was going to play,” Horford said in a corner of the locker room late Tuesday night. “It was pregame. I was real uncertain. I was feeling tight. I couldn’t get my full range of motion in my pec and my shoulder.”

The Hawks already were in relative crisis mode. They were down 3-1 in a playoff series that they had once led 1-0. They had flat-lined in Game 4 in Boston. Now Horford can’t play?

The only thing preventing this from devolving into slapstick would’ve been Alan Henderson walking through the door and saying, “Don’t worry guys, I got this” (before sneezing and throwing his back out again).

Fortunately, tragic comedy was …

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Horford leads way, as Hawks survive for another day

Al Horford, in his first start in nearly four months, was Hawks' best player early against Boston. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

Al Horford, in his first start in four months, was Hawks' best player early and late against Boston. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

With his dual-personality basketball team facing playoff elimination Tuesday night, Hawks coach Larry Drew started a center (Al Horford) who was coming off his first game in nearly four months and a forward (Marvin Williams) who had played his way on to the bench for much of this season.

“We wanted to give a different look and see if it jump-starts us,” Drew said.

This is where the average Hawks fan inserted the just-rearranging-the-chairs-on-the-Titanic joke. Because, well, what is an Atlanta sports fan if not someone with a sense of impending doom?

But something weird happened. Actually, more like something Hawks happened. Philips Arena was Sybil Central again.

They trailed by 10 early. They led by 12 late. They blew the lead (of course). They got it back (of course).

They led 87-83 with a minute left, but left Paul Pierce wide open for a 3-pointer …

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