Face Off: Say goodbye to Marvin, hello to Caron Butler

Read Jeff Schultz’s view: Hawks need to get the point — and it’s Rafer Alston

Marvin Williams is the least essential Hawks starter. He scores points and takes rebounds but seems to leave no imprint on games, and one of the reasons Joe Johnson gets the ball with three seconds on the shot clock — or, worse, Josh Smith gets it 25 feet from the hoop — is that Marvin, four years a pro, still won’t assert himself.

I want to see Marvin not assert himself elsewhere next season. I want the Hawks to re-sign him — he’s a restricted free agent — and ship him and Acie Law to Washington for Caron Butler and Javaris Crittenton. The Wizards are looking to cut salary, so that part would work for them, and they’re also looking to get younger. Williams turns 23 on Friday; Butler is 29. (See ajc.com photo gallery.)

Butler is a small forward with deep range and — key point — a ton of self-assurance. He wants the ball when the clock’s ticking low. He averaged 20.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists last season to Marvin’s 13.9, 6.3 and 1.3.

My biggest complaint has been that too much of the Hawks’ offense begins and ends with Johnson. (”Iso-Joe,” as clever bloggers have dubbed it.) Butler would lighten that load by making plays of his own — Marvin, as we know, makes few plays — and would provide cover should Mike Bibby leave as a free agent. A team could make do with Flip Murray as its starting point guard if he has Johnson and Butler at 2 and 3.

This trade need not be a loss for the Wizards. In a city where he isn’t known mostly for not being Chris Paul, Williams still could develop into something more than a team’s fifth-best starter. (Not so long ago, he was considered the most gifted player of his draft class.) But it hasn’t panned out for him as a Hawk and, with Johnson and Smith and Al Horford ahead of him now, it won’t ever.

Butler would upgrade the Hawks at one of the two positions that could stand upgrading. The other is point guard, and that’s more problematic. Bibby, who’s an unrestricted free agent, might not want to play for half what he made last season and could well leave. (Law’s time here seems done.) Flip, whom the Hawks will surely re-sign, is best deployed as a scoring sixth man, not an orchestrator. That’s where the draft comes in.

There’s not a Paul or a Deron Williams to be had, but there are some promising guards who figure to be available at No. 19. Eric Maynor of VCU could be there. Patty Mills of St. Mary’s could be. And Ty Lawson of North Carolina, who seemed slotted to go in the lottery, has been dropping in the mock drafts. He could be there, too.

The Hawks are getting close to something good. They don’t need to be taking the long view now. Caron Butler will make $21 million over the next two seasons. That’s a reasonable price for the guy who could bring the Hawks that much closer to Orlando and Cleveland and Boston.

333 comments Add your comment

Rufus1

June 17th, 2009
11:08 am

I like the Marvin for Caron, but Javaris for Acie, I think that is crazy. What has Javaris has done more than AC. It is clear from your love Josh and now Javaris, you have a MAN CRUSH on athletes.

HawkKingBibby

June 17th, 2009
11:15 am

Mark this is a great idea but Rick Sund is going to have to get the Wizards gm real drunk to agree to this trade.

Drez

June 17th, 2009
11:18 am

Why would the Wizards make this trade???

HawkKingBibby

June 17th, 2009
11:20 am

I think like you say if we get Butler we can rely on Flip for a year to start and draft a point as well. I have one ? though, you seem real positive the Hawks will resign Flip and its not the 1st time you wrote that. What makes you so sure?

mryan

June 17th, 2009
11:22 am

Great minds think alike Mr. Bradley. Caron Butler is in need of a change of scenary and I think the ATL is a perfect landing spot.

ILL-logical

June 17th, 2009
11:23 am

A sound but modest proposal Mr. Bradley, however it still doesn’t address the fundamental challenge that the Hawks organization continues to face: Mike Gearon has not been a good steward of the franchise.
Certainly changes in the faces on the floor are in order. The question is why in a town where over half of the current or past NBA live and play can’t there be a better selection of free agents and certainly better coaching and general management?

If you look at the organization from top to bottome objectively(if true sports fans could achieve that state) there is nothing that says championship aspirations or effort.

I am not advocating letting the perfect becoming the enemy of the good-I don’t see very much good in the future. The fact that there are 6 free agents on an up and coming franchise doesn’t speak well of the strategic planning for the organization. and to have all of the coaching staff being effectively relieved of their duties doesn’t inspire convidence either. And let’s not forget the small matter of the team’s finances.

It is entertaining to banter about who is great and is not / who is better suited to to do what, however until or unless their is some real leadership at the top , all of this but sound and fury that signifies nothing.

Herschel Talker

June 17th, 2009
11:27 am

The Hawks are irrelevant

you kiddin ?

June 17th, 2009
11:30 am

Jarvis Crittenton? Is that a joke? Acie is 10 times better than that tool. He was overrated when he played at Yech and he’s a nobody in the NBA.

Ernest

June 17th, 2009
11:32 am

>A team could make do with Flip Murray as its starting point guard <

Not sure I agree with this statement. Some players are best coming off the bench and I think Flip is one of those. At the end of the day, it does not matter who starts but who finishes…

This is an interesting trade proposal however I may be one of the few fans that can see the contributions Marvin makes to the team. Chemistry is an important factor with basketball teams and I think Marvin ‘fits in’ with what the Hawks are doing. They want him to look for his shot in the beginning of the games then serve as an outlet to drive to the basket (with hopes of getting fouled) near the end.

While Butler is a good player, he may inadvertently take away from both Al and Josh’s development. By that I mean he will probably need a certain number of touches and shots per game which would take away from Al and Josh.

phoenix falcon

June 17th, 2009
11:33 am

the Hawks have enough forwards, they need a center ( Orlando’s back up center could fit the bill) , and a point guard, we have been saying this for how long? why is it so clear to everybody else, but not the people who can do something about it? this is not brain surgery.

Mark Bradley

June 17th, 2009
11:35 am

The Wizards are an aging team with some massive salaries — Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison make a ton of money. It will be cheaper to have Marvin in a sign-and-trade than to pay Caron Butler around $10 million next season, and Marvin is six years — actually, seven as of this moment — younger.

As for Flip: No other general manager likes Flip as much as Rick Sund. Trust me on that.

shresee2

June 17th, 2009
11:36 am

How could we beat the Cav’s when the rumor mill on the cav’s website says they want and can afford Josh Smith. That Josh Smith would be explosive in their offensive and a missing piece needed for lebron. How could the Hawks complete with that with only draft picks or players people want to give away. I know we should not get caught in the rumors but trading Josh to a east team rival seems like suicide. How would that be to trade josh to cleveland and they win the championship. I know the hawks have to do something but we cannot go back to a 13 or 30 win season. If we get these players will Woody open up and really use them and get deeper into the bench and not ride JJ for the most minutes.
How about charlie Villanueva? The Hawks have created a fan base that makes it tough for teams to play here and we want to be a place that players want to come. Other organizations say we lack real leadership and are just cheap. Others share your thoughts!

The Dust

June 17th, 2009
11:37 am

JOSH SMITH MUST GO!

Trey J

June 17th, 2009
11:38 am

I live in Washington and I saw a lot of Wizards game on TV….LOL I only went to the Verizon Center when my Hawks came to town. Sort of like what the Hawk fans do in reverse at Phillips.
I would love that trade! Butler is a baller and would automatically bring the Hawks about 7 or 8 additonal wins! I’m not hating on Marvin but he’s not the answer in Atlanta and like the song saids “a change would do you good”!
However, with all that being said honestly why would Washington give him up? They got a young talented team with a new coach and he’s the leader on that team not Agent O!
I hope there’s something to this trade rumor and not just away to take my mind off that issh about trading Josh! The Hawks have a good thing going but still the biggest problem isn’t the players it’s the coach!
Gosh I hate stating the obvious….our coach is Avery Johnson but the ownership is too cheap to make the move. I’m tired of that stuff about him winning more games. Shoot the team is just growing up so they should win more games but when the game is close watch this team and tell me it ain’t coaching.
My bad I know we were talking about the Trade for Butler but if Woody is still there we will be talking about this same problem next year.

phoenix falcon

June 17th, 2009
11:39 am

” shresee2 ”

What???????????

Mark Bradley

June 17th, 2009
11:42 am

I agree: Law has a greater upside than Crittenton. But Law has no future here, and Crittenton would be the makeweight to balance the trade scales money-wise.

And for those saying the Hawks need a center: Do you really believe adding Orlando’s backup and making Al Horford scoot over to 4 will help this team more than upgrading — and Butler is an upgrade — at small forward?

Brendan

June 17th, 2009
11:42 am

Does Marvin Williams suck so bad that he simply must be traded? Wasn’t he a lottery draft selection?

Johhny Utah

June 17th, 2009
11:43 am

Did you not watch any effing games this year bud, Marvin guarded the best offensive player on the opposing side and was the best defensive player on the team. The first game against the Cavs in December when Cleveland was on a 12 game winning street Marvin completly shut down LeBron. If he was not injured during the playoff series the end result of the series would have been completly different, hard to make an impact with a broken wrist.

phoenix falcon

June 17th, 2009
11:44 am

if they trade the the most talented player on the team, i could no longer be a fan of the team. We can all see, the falcons want to get better, the braves want to get better, not so much for the Thrashers and Hawks, and i don’t think that, that is a coincidence they are owned by the same group.

dap01

June 17th, 2009
11:46 am

Get rid of Woody and AC would have a future here. Who’s future is more important, Woody or our young players.

KG

June 17th, 2009
11:48 am

I like Marvin for Caron but not Acie for Javaris. I just don’t think Marvin is going to get much better than he already is. I would be happy with trading him for a 1 or a 5 and bringing Chills back.

phoenix falcon

June 17th, 2009
11:51 am

yes mark, THEY NEED A CENTER, then Horford can play at his natural position, resign Zaza, if they can’t resign Bibby, they still have Flip, they still have A.C., and they can still draft a point guard. i just don’t see how Butler makes this team into a Championship contender.

Mark Bradley

June 17th, 2009
11:52 am

Marvin Williams isn’t a terrible player. He’s a decent player. He averages double figures in points and he’s an OK rebounder. And he tries to play defense. But he’s the least essential starter on his team four years into his career, and that’s not a good sign.

Sam Wetherson

June 17th, 2009
11:53 am

Johnnu Utah I really question of some of these people actually watch the games. Marvin is a very good player stuck in a bad system. How does Caron Butler make us better. Marvin is one of only a few players that can actually guard Lebron James effectively. Josh Smith can’t, JJ can’t and Caron Butler sure as hell can’t. Marvins gets 14 a game very efficiently. Give him Josh SMith’s shots and he would average 20+ a game easy. He and Al Horford are forced to stand around and watch JJ/Bibby dribble for 20 seconds or watch Josh Smith pretend he is Larry Bird. These guys must be getting kickbacks from Josh’s agent. Marvin Williams is the least of our problems.

Melvin

June 17th, 2009
11:54 am

I like Caron for Marvin idea (minus Acie for Javaris). I’m a little worry about Caron ability to guard Turk, Pierce and Lebron. Then again, who can guard those guys. Having a legit 2nd opt or opt 1b that could get ya 20pts a night would move this team closer to the big dogs in the east. It’s a gamble I would roll the dice on. It’s easier to find another wing if Caron doesn’t workout.

Truth About It.net

June 17th, 2009
11:54 am

Do your homework Mark…

The Wizards aren’t necessarily trying to cut salary, they are trying to win a championship before owner Abe Pollin fades into the sunset.

Pollin has even come out saying that he would pay the luxury tax to win.
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/mar/20/wizards-owner-pollin-ready-to-pay-penalty-to-win/

Aside from that, Caron Butler is an affordable all-star … Marvin Williams is not even close to an All-Star game.

On talent alone, a GM would have to be an absolute idiot to make this trade .. or Kevin McHale .. or Chris Wallace. Ernie Grunfeld is not an idiot.

I kinda expected better from you Main Stream Media types … no offense.

HawkKingBibby

June 17th, 2009
11:54 am

Mark, I was just thinking that Marv is a BYC player so the Wiz would most likely have to take Speedy in this trade also for it to work.

phoenix falcon

June 17th, 2009
11:55 am

Mark it would be a worst sign if Marvin was not starting at all, he has gotten better every year, i expect him to be better next year then he was last year, meanwhile Butler will be 30.

Mark Bradley

June 17th, 2009
11:55 am

Are the Celtics a championship contender? Who’s their center? Kendrick Perkins? Is he as good as Al Horford? Nope.

If you don’t have one of the league’s five best players — and neither the Hawks nor the Celtics do — the way you win a title is to have three or four of the league’s 10 best players at their respective positions. (That’s the Rick Sund doctrine, and I believe it.) Joe, Josh and Al have that capability. Caron Butler does, too. So that’s four really good players plus a PG. That team would win 50-plus games, which would put it in the picture in the NBA East.

phoenix falcon

June 17th, 2009
11:57 am

” HawkKingBibby ”

if they take speedy, and his contract with them in a deal, i would feel ( as a hawk fan ) MUCH BETTER ABOUT A TREAD LIKE THIS.

darrell starks

June 17th, 2009
11:58 am

Why make that trade when we need to use marvin for a bigger fish do you want championship or 6th seed every year i say trade horford marvin and the 19th pick for bosh and if he resign the following year thats good if not thats more money to go after lebron who LUV THE ATL.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!

Mark Bradley

June 17th, 2009
12:01 pm

Marvin plus Horfy is too much to give up for Bosh, who might not be here more than a year. Sorry, Darrell, but we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one.

Mark Bradley

June 17th, 2009
12:03 pm

Yeah, HawkKingBibby, I thought about throwing Speedy in, but that just seemed way too lopsided. (But I’m not a cap maven, and base-year compensation still stumps my band.)

I figured it like this: Law has a greater upside than Crittenton, so the Wizards gain on that end. Butler is a better player than Marvin, so the Hawks win that half. And everybody’s happy!

Najeh Davenpoop

June 17th, 2009
12:05 pm

I agree with the people posting above who say Law is better than Crittenton, but if that’s what it takes to replace Marvin with Caron Butler, I’m all for it. Law can be a starting point in this league — it’s Woodson’s fault he’s not given that opportunity. But Butler is an All-Star caliber forward, and although he’s in the same boat as Johnson to an extent in that he’s not a franchise player, adding him will give the Hawks two players who are just beneath that level (possibly three if Josh realizes his potential this year).

Najeh Davenpoop

June 17th, 2009
12:06 pm

The only question I have is whether the Hawks or Wizards have any reservations about trading within the division. I have always thought that’s a dumb reason not to do trades, but the fact is there are GMs in every sport who resist making intra-division trades.

Mike B.

June 17th, 2009
12:08 pm

If the Hawks could pull a deal such as this, I would start believing in our ownership. Word is the Wiz are looking to lower payroll and still be competitive. This deal would be a stretch, but would do that for them. For the Hawks, we need some help for Joe (and hope he doesn’t bolt next year). We also need a solid #1 guy. Butler isn’t that guy, but with 2 solid #2 guys (Joe and Caron) and a developing #2 (Josh is not a go to guy nor is he a finished product) we would improve greatly. Of course Salim….Acie is better that Crittenton, but it’s obvious Woody won’t play him so let him go and develop elsewhere. If the Hawks could pull somethting like this, I would have more faith in the orginization.

phoenix falcon

June 17th, 2009
12:08 pm

” I figured it like this: Law has a greater upside than Crittenton, so the Wizards gain on that end. Butler is a better player than Marvin, so the Hawks win that half. And everybody’s happy! ”

all except hawk fans who want a trophy. all except the players who would make another early exit in the playoffs.

Mark Bradley

June 17th, 2009
12:09 pm

Yeah, Najeh, you make a good point. (You always do, by the way.) But I couldn’t find anybody out West I really liked. I can’t imagine the Kings parting with Kevin Martin, say.

Dan

June 17th, 2009
12:10 pm

silly AJC columnists trying to write about the NBA. Why don’t you leave the basketball talk to Sekou, you know, someone who actually knows something about the Hawks.

shresee2

June 17th, 2009
12:13 pm

phoenix falcon This is what I was referring to on Clevelands news site
AP Photo/John AmisIf the rumors that Josh Smith could be available are true, should the Cavaliers take a look?
Cavalier Attitude: “Something tells me that if the Cavs are looking for a young, long-term solution at power forward, Josh Smith is as good as it’s going to get. They just don’t have the pieces for Amar’e Stoudemire if STAT ever becomes available. If they want Chris Bosh, then they’re going to have to wait for the summer of 2010 and free agency, because if they don’t have the pieces for STAT, they certainly don’t have the pieces for Bosh. Smith is neither Amar’e nor Bosh, but he’s a heck of a solution and a great fit for the Cavs on both ends of the floor.” » Read more
WaitingForNextYear: “Given a new team to play with, one with strong leadership and a high level of chemistry, it would be incredibly intriguing to see how Smith’s game could blossom in Cleveland. He’ll be 24 next season, and he’s signed to a reasonable amount through 2013, giving the Cavaliers another long term piece to the puzzle and further adding to the stability of this roster. For a player who has had a +15 PER in every season of his career and over the last 3 years has put up 16.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 2.43 blocks per game, he would certainly be an exciting addition in the wine and gold.” » Read more

edward

June 17th, 2009
12:16 pm

Love the article Mark and would love for Sund to somehow pull this trade off. It would make the Hawks a much better team on both ends of the court, and especially in crunch time and having someone else who could help Joe out and take over a game. Even though I do like Marvin he really does have the least impact on our team compared to our other starters. The only question I have is why would Washington do this? I understand the money part of the equation. I’m just scared that they will trade Jamison insted of Butler to save money and get younger. Hope you are right Mark, this trade would put us up there in the East and make us a bonafide contender. One question: Who would you like for the Hawks to draft? How bout Lawson? I think he is perfect for what we need. Imagine him leading the break with Josh, Joe, Caron, Al, etc? Pretty good I’d say.

Mac

June 17th, 2009
12:17 pm

Doesn’t the presence of Speedy Claxton mean the Hawks point guard position is solid? I mean he has had a lot of time to rest and heal.

Mike B.

June 17th, 2009
12:17 pm

There is nothing on Cleveland’s team we would want outside of Lebron to get Smith so that’s out of the window. Maybe if they package Mo Williams, Delante West, and big Z, but that (like this thought) would be foolish.

Aaron

June 17th, 2009
12:18 pm

The only differences between Marvin Williams and Caron Butler are as follows:

Marvin is younger and bigger.
Caron is a better passer and has more plays run for him.

http://www.basketball-reference.com/fc/tiny.cgi?id=yyZWK

^^^They are comparable defenders and rebounders, and their offensive efficiency are nearly identical.

Here’s a better idea – run some plays for someone other than Flip Murray and Joe Johnson, and keep the player who works hard on his game every offseason and has gotten better every year in the league.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Caron Butler as a 3rd option. The problem is that Marvin has more than enough ability and upside to be a better 3rd option than Caron Butler.

Mark, the same logic you and Sekou use to justify hanging on to Josh Smith works for Marvin Williams as well.

Mark Bradley

June 17th, 2009
12:19 pm

Edward, I’d say Eric Maynor would be my favorite PG — among those who might be around at No. 19 — in the draft, but Lawson is second. And I like Patty Mills, too. I’d consider it a win if they got any of those.

Mark Bradley

June 17th, 2009
12:21 pm

Nice one, Mac.

And Mike, I agree. Would you take Delonte West and Big Z for Josh and Mo Evans, say? I wouldn’t.

fudd21

June 17th, 2009
12:23 pm

Shresee2, but the Cavs have nothing and I mean absolutely positively nothing that the Hawks could use or would want (outside Lebron of course) so why on earth would we ever consider trading with the Cavs. Who would we get Varejao? I’m just saying

Cleveland

June 17th, 2009
12:24 pm

I agree with ILL-logical. The issue for this franchise is ownership. Until that is resolved, the teams future and finances will not attrack anyone to come and lift this team over the hurdle it has faced since Ted Turner owned the team.

You have this idea that breaking up this team will make it better, it will not. The philosophy needs to change.

1. This tam is loaded with talent that needs to be resigned. It will not happen because of ownership.

2. The talent that is here needs to play. This team was dog tired during the play offs because the rotation and the style of play used is not player or fan friendly. THIS TEAM SHOULD BE PLAYING UPTEMPO AND PLAYING MORE PLAYERS.

3. The reason that Joe Johnson has the ball in his hands at the end of the shot clock has more to do with the fact that the team doesn’t have a creative point guard that can beat his man off the dribble and get people open shots. Let Mike Bibby go (he didn’t play defense at any time)

Sam Wetherson

June 17th, 2009
12:29 pm

So Bradley the following is Marvin’s fault:

JJ-disappeared in the playoffs and most of the season.
Josh Smith-takes bad shots
Josh Smith-can’t defend or rebound for his position
We didn’t win 60 games.
Bibby-can’t defend worth a damn
we have no offense.
Injuries
Each of those problems will exist if Marvin was here or not. You think an all star is going to come in and be the 3rd or 4th option on this team. He averages 20 a game but he takes nearly 20 shots a game. Sometimes adding more talent doesn’t make the team better. Marvin and Caron’s stats are nearly identical except for the scoring. Marvin is a better defender. Butler is a hothead as well. Marvin Williams was the 13th ranked SF last year. AS the fourth option. We get rid of Bibby MArvin moves up into the top 10. How can a player that gives you 14 a game taking 7-10 shots a game be bad for a team. He plays good defense. How is he the scapegoat?? After he got hurt our record was 16-14 including the playoffs!!

dub

June 17th, 2009
12:31 pm

I like to know one thing why A.C. Law CAN’T play point guard. I blame it on the coach for not putting him in and let him play he can’t do no more than Bibby & Joe WAS DOING TURNING THE BALL OVER. AT least he take it to the basket Bibby want. everytime he made a mistake he get the hooks unless the game is out of hand.Coaching is the problem.