Another special Bradley’s Buzz: All-free agency edition!

The NBA: Hawks on the clock!

In his breakdown of the top 30 free agents (link requires registration), Chad Ford of ESPN.com lists Mike Bibby as No. 7 among unrestricted free agents — Zaza Pachulia and Flip Murray are included among “other notables” — and two more Hawk properties among the top restricted free agents. And now you’re asking: Two?

Yep. Marvin Williams is No. 3, and Josh Childress, who hasn’t played for the Hawks since May 2008, is No. 5. Here’s what Mr. Ford has to say about those two, and also about Bibby:

Williams: “Has as as much raw talent as anyone else in the class of 2005, but he’s been frustratingly inconsistent in his first four years with the Hawks. While he’ll probably stay in Atlanta, he’s not playing well enough to earn anything close to the $60-64 million over five years that [Danny] Granger got last fall, to contrast Williams with one small forward from his draft class.”

Childress: “Shocked many in the NBA by deciding to bolt for Greece last summer. It’s unclear whether he’ll decide to return to the NBA this fall, though it seems very likely he’ll be back eventually. But with bad blood lingering over how his negotiations went last summer with Atlanta, the current expectation is that we shouldn’t expect to see him return to the Hawks, though they still hold his rights.”

Bibby: “Had a solid season as the Hawks’ point guard, but it’s hard to see him making anything near what he’s made the past few years. The Hawks are a young team still searching for a long-term answer at the point. Bibby was a nice stopgap for 18 months, but I doubt he has a long-term future in Atlanta unless he’s willing to take much less money, especially when you factor in that the team traded for Jamal Crawford, drafted Jeff Teague and could be pursuing Jarrett Jack in free agency.”

Speaking of Bibby and Marvin …

Writing for ESPN The Magazine, Rick Bucher lists the former as the 13th-best free agent available and the latter as 10th-best. Bucher assesses each and speculates on possible destinations. (Requires registration.)

Should the Hawks bring back Josh Childress?

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On Bibby: “His game: One of the best 3-point-shooting PGs in league. Still effective on pick-and-rolls but more of a set-up-the-offense, flare-to-the-corner type now. A defensive liability but better in a strong team concept. Is not a playmaker but doesn’t try to be one; moves the ball on the perimeter, happy to feed and play off a bona fide star.

Right system: Thrives with passing big men, a slower pace, a player’s coach and at least one screen-setting big man. Long, athletic, hard-nosed wings are recommended so he can hide on defense.

Wrong system: Anywhere that requires him to create shots or provide dribble penetration. A team that lacks a shot-blocker or at least one defensive-oriented wing.

Best fits: Hawks, Blazers, Rockets, Grizzlies, Wizards, Hornets.”

On Marvin: “His game: Versatile scorer, especially now that he has developed corner 3-point range. Can isolate and score on post moves or face-up drives. Might have been Hawks’ best defender when healthy; developing into stopper for league’s growing legion of playmaking small forwards.

“Right system: Handle still needs improvement, so he needs shooters/scorers who space the floor. Good transition finisher. Would flourish with a disciplined defensive team.

“Wrong system: One built around a dominant, scoring post player, because the best part of his offensive game is around the paint, and his 3-point shooting isn’t that good.

“Best fits: Heat, Mavericks, Blazers, Pistons, Bulls, Hawks.”

Bucher also identifies three of his top 20 free agents as possible fits with the Hawks — Jason Kidd, Ben Gordon (me, I don’t get that one) and Anderson Varejao.

Atlanta, GA — hoops mecca?

According to esteemed former colleague Steve Aschburner of SI.com, our fair city ranks among the NBA’s top 10 as a desirable destination. Writes Aschburner of the A-T-L: Gotta be the shoes. NBA players historically turned road trips to Atlanta into shopping sprees for their feet at Friedman’s. Now the weather, the nightlife, the Hawks’ youth and their recent playoff runs make this city even more attractive.”

Ranked 10th? San Antonio, which has, at least check, seen four championship parades over the past decade. Ranked 11th? My favorite place in the whole wide world — Cleveland, Ohio. Ranked 12th? Boston, which according to Aschburner has never been seen as a friendly place by NBA players. Ranked last? Minneapolis, where Aschburner lived when last I checked.

So I guess we could say the author really isn’t a homer.

And a little flatball free-agency, too

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Marian Hossa is a highly desirable free agent. But I ask you: When isn’t Marian Hossa a free agent?

Esteemed former colleague Craig Custance, writing for Sporting News Today, rates Hossa No. 1 among this crop of NHL FAs. (Mark Recchi, briefly a Thrasher himself, is No. 23.) We can’t know where the coveted Hossa will land this time, but this much is certain:

Whichever team signs him will lose the 2010 Stanley Cup finals. Guaranteed.

33 comments Add your comment

Ed-Covington

July 1st, 2009
7:41 am

First?-Citibank advertises on Greek basketball jerseys?

Alex H.

July 1st, 2009
7:42 am

Jarrett Jack…that would be nice. I sort of miss Childress and his fro’. Rick Sund and Thomas Dimitroff…We seem to have hired two bright minds in the recent past.

Ernest

July 1st, 2009
7:47 am

While I like what Bibby has brought to the team, I can’t see it happening for financial reasons. A team needs a rotation of 4 guards during the season. If they make a fair investment in Bibby (7+ million) to go along with Johnson (14+ million) and Crawford (8+ million), that does not leave much for an investment in the front court, where we are lacking.

I agree with those that say ZaZa is important as he brings size (6′11″ @ 270lbs) and familiarity to the team. Unless RandMo really steps up his game (I think we’ve seen the best of him), the team needs another front court player that is defensive minded and has some girth. That will be important in the playoffs when teams play more of a half court game.

I’d like to see the Hawks lock up Marvin to a long term contract. He’s improved his game every year in the league and there is no reason to believe that he won’t keep doing that going forward. We don’t want him as an UFA next season when we need to take care of JJ.

The Truth

July 1st, 2009
8:33 am

It seems like all Chad Ford of ESPN.com did was echoed the sentiments of these blogs. His analysis is consistent with what we bloggers have been saying all along. The only difference is that he is getting paid and we are not. I really need to send him an invoice.

mountain_jim

July 1st, 2009
8:48 am

I was hoping for Jack to replace Bibby, but admit I have not seen much of his work last season. Someone who did see most of his games said he was a turnover machine, but I assume he still is way better defensively than Bibby, and Hawks need better D at the starting point.

Glenn

July 1st, 2009
8:52 am

I say do a sign-and-trade between Marvin Williams and Jarrett Jack so we can take care of the point guard situation, resign Zsa Zsa, and look for another big so we can move Horford when Josh needs a break and/or Al gets in foul trouble. You could also use the extra money to go after our other restricted free agents, other free agents we have targeted, or wait until next year.

I wouldn’t touch Josh Smith, even though he’s frustrating at times, as he’s been getting better every year, and he’s a high energy guy and can defend. His outside shot has improved.

The only issue I see is getting some front-line help for Joe so he doesn’t have to carry the load in the beginning of the game. I think Jarrett Jack is a younger/faster/stronger version of Bibby, and a much better defender, also able to get in the lane where Bibby usually stayed back. Horford’s mid-range game has improved, Jack’s outside game is strong as is his ability to drive and dish, so I think the offense would be much better.

This also let’s Crawford come in and let he and/or Joe also act as point guards for spells so we can go large at times with high scorers when we need those spurts.

Finally, the other advantage to Jack at this point is that he’s already been in the League a while and I think Woodsen wouldn’t be able to do too much to screw him up; Bibby came in like some other more established Point guards and didn’t suffer like rookies under Woodsen.

Mac

July 1st, 2009
8:59 am

Jarrett Jack would be a good pickup. Are the chances of that happening pretty good, or no? What does Bibby want to do? Would he take less to come back? If he’d take less to allow more spending on another position that would be a good thing.

Or, heck, maybe they could just re-sign Rumeal Robinson. Or Al Wood. Or DerMarr Johnson. Or Charlie Hardnett.

ATL Hawks

July 1st, 2009
9:06 am

First of all, we need to get a younger PG who doesn’t mind running a bit unlike Bibby. We need someone who can play some defense and keep Horford and Smith out of foul trouble. I like the Jarrett Jack idea because I believe he will thrive back in Atlanta, his comfort zone. We should get Childress back only to trade him as a package for a big named center. I think Flip is a great backup PG and should stay. Randolph Morris needs to go. Zaza is decent but we could also trade him along with another player for a better forward/center. I think we should keep Marvin but either get rid of Josh Smith or fine him every time he tries to shoot a jumper or show off. He is incredibly talented and would be a great pickup for some other team but he is too wild for Atlanta. I would love to see Chris Bosh or Amare Stoudemire in Atlanta, along with Jarrett Jack.

Joey

July 1st, 2009
9:12 am

Yeah, Ed, nothing like a bailout to help your advertising budget. Citi Stadium, pro bb jerseys, etc….

Bill

July 1st, 2009
9:26 am

JJ, Jarrett Jack sounds good.

Jfreak

July 1st, 2009
9:43 am

I believe everyone thinks Jack would be a good fit so no point in going there. I wish we could get Childress back but probably wont happen. As far as trading his for a good center that wont happen either. Centers are hard to find but swing men are a dime a dozens. I would love to see a deal for Bosh or Amare?? Doesn’t seem likely but it is possible?? Can’t a brotha have a little hope??

Ella

July 1st, 2009
10:06 am

Michael Vick Leaves Construction Job to Go “Work” with Young Boys????

Yes, the new Michael Jackson has arrived.

Dub C

July 1st, 2009
10:21 am

Bibby puts too much pressure on Joe Johnson defensively. Although Bibby demonstrated good on-the-floor leadership and good offensive skills, he really hurts the team on the other end of the floor. Adding Jamal Crawford and Teague is interesting because now it’s not as important to resign Bibby, especially if Flip is resigned. There’s still that concern of how much Woodson will actually play Teague. I honestly think we had our future PG in Law, but I’m not going there.

The Hawks must focus on the front court more than the back court. With only Horford and Josh Smith under contract, it could get very ugly, fast.

Mr. Bradley, do you know if Rick Sund is targeting any one particular FA, outside of our own ZaZa? I honestly don’t think ZaZa will be back.

Johnny Hazeltine

July 1st, 2009
10:54 am

Mike Bibby vs. Jarrett Jack vs. Raymond Felton vs. Ramon Sessions

PROS:
~ Bibby has been there for a year and a half, and can hit the 3, consistently.
~ Jack is bigger, can defend two positions, and Atlanta fans will love him back.
~ Felton is quick and can penetrate into the lane. Good thief.
~ Sessions has been very efficient, with feel for making the right pass.

CONS:
~ Bibby is weak one-on-one defensively, and cannot get into the lane consistently.
~ Jack is not an efficient passer, and a streaky shooter.
~ Felton is not a strong shooter, and gets overcharged at times.
~ Sessions is still unproven, has limited range, and is not a strong defender.

I’d go after Felton, and if he’s too much money, then I settle on Jack.

All I'm Saying Is...

July 1st, 2009
10:58 am

Hawks need minor changes and not a major overhaul. Now we know that we were hurting big time (Marvin, Al, JJ) during the Cleveland series so that was no indication of what our guys can do. Here’s what Rick Sund needs to do now:

1) Re-Sign ZaZa. He knows the system and we need his grit and hustle off the bench.
2) Re-Sign Flip. No brainer move especially since Rick signed him to begin with.
3) If Bibby is willing to take a 50% salary cut, re-sign him giving us a great guard rotation.
4) Reach out to J-Chill. If he wants to come home, then sign him.
5) Then either do a sign and trade using Marvin to go out and get a defensive minded big man for the middle (my preference is Tyson Chandler if he’s healthy) OR re-sign Marvin and go out and get Gortat (best big man available to sign assuming Orlando let’s him walk since he is a restricted free agent which is likely b/c they want to keep Hedo which will put them over the cap).

With that done and an injury free season (or at least have everyone healthy during the playoffs), then we should be positioned to make a strong run in 2009-2010.

At the end of next season, reevaluate everything and take additional steps if required (for example, cut Woody loose if necessary, re-visit whether JJ continues to be our guy, etc.).

Mark Bradley

July 1st, 2009
11:36 am

All I know is that Mike Woodson said Monday he wants another veteran big man — and that’s even if they keep Zaza.

O'Brien

July 1st, 2009
11:37 am

I think Rasheed would be a good pickup, plus that would keep him away from San Antonio, Boston and Cleveland.

I also like Jarrett Jack instead of Bibby (Jack plays better defense, and wont require as many shots as Bibby).

One thing I am proud of about these Hawks (since BK got here). We havent given out the big contracts that come back to haunt us, like Dalembert, Brian Cardinal etc.

Chris

July 1st, 2009
12:56 pm

Now that the iPhone has Copy and Paste, I bet I can be an AJC columnist too. Outstanding journalism.

Mink

July 1st, 2009
1:10 pm

Josh has improved his shooting? He is a high energy guy? Did you watch the same Hawks I watched this year? Smith is the 3-point laughing stock of the league. He DID come in and knock down some bombs early in the year; however, as the year progressed, he and Horford got worse and worse with their mid-to-deep shooting. In the playoffs, when it counts, you could hear the entire Philips Arena shouting “NO!!!” whenever he would pull a three.

I’ll give you he was a high-energy guy in the playoffs, where again, it counts, but in the regular season he was a team cancer with a bad attitude. I saw at least twice a game where he would stay backcourt and argue with an official about not getting a foul call while his teammates played 4-on-5. Don’t know why he argued…it’s not like he would’ve hit a free throw anyway..

Mink

July 1st, 2009
1:11 pm

Smith was THIRTEEN PERCENT from behind the arch in the playoffs, 2/15…

Mink

July 1st, 2009
1:21 pm

Now, for the offseason, I’m all for letting Bibby walk. We are a defensive team first, and I think with Flip, Jamal, Teague, and Joe, we will have no problem getting the ball downcourt. Not sure how well Crawford plays defense, but he can’t be worse than Bibby.

Zaza: Bring him back if you can sign him for the right price. He doesn’t have the skillset to make 6th man money. Cleveland is talking about signing Verejao to a 2-3 million contract; we should be able to do the same with Zaza.

Bibby: I already explained how I feel about him. He can shoot the lights out and I love him, but when he’s on the court, the other defense scores at will because he allows penetration.

Flip: Showed that he’s good enough to start on some teams this year. He would be a solid mentor for Teague, and provides both a vocal and a defensive spark when he’s on the floor.

Marvin: He has made major strides. If he can stay healthy, he can be our X-factor; that guy that disappears on the court just long enough for the defense to forget about him. He was GREAT on defense this year.

Childress: I never really cared for him that much. He was a slasher type that played good D, but if he wants any real money, we have to let him walk, assuming he comes back stateside.

Why aren’t we going after Charlie Villanueva? He could fit our team so well. He can stretch the floor, grab rebounds, block shots, and provide mismatches all over the place. I’d rather have him than career Cancer Rasheed Wallace. If we could make a play for Carlos Boozer that’d be great too. He would like it here.

JSS

July 1st, 2009
1:44 pm

The words “Al Wood” or DeMarr Johnson should never eminent from a certain poster’s keyboard again…

Indiana tendered Jarret Jack, he has to be a sign and trade… Nin, is there any way that the Hawks can afford that in all reality? I don’t it with the numbers and scenarios that have been put forth by Hawks management towards the players they want to bring back… Surprise me…

ken

July 1st, 2009
3:01 pm

Okay, in reality we are not going to bring all our free agents back. I think Zaza should be a priority, then either Bibby or Flip for a reasonable price. Be foolish to let Marvin leave for nothing, so either resign, tender one yr deal or sign/trade. Also this may be a good time to get something for Josh Childress’ rights? We’ve already got rid of some dead weight with Crawford trade. Now if we can snatch one more decent big man, I think we’re doing well.

ken

July 1st, 2009
3:30 pm

Hey Mark, you have any idea if hawks are just focusing on resigning own free agents or are they actively going after anyone else? Any mention of them going after Jarrett Jack or Andre Miller at the point, and Gortat, Varejao or Channing Frye to fill out the post?

ken

July 1st, 2009
3:35 pm

From what i’ve seen thus far, it seems like Rasheed Wallace is definitely headed to either Boston or San Antonio, cause don’t believe it is about money for him. Looks like to get Lamar Odom or Marcin Gortat, teams are going to have to overpay for them. Hedo Turkoglu will land in Portland or Toronto, while Charlie Villanueva will land in Detroit or Cleveland. If the hawks are seriously going after anyone out there, then why weren’t they on anyone’s doorstep at midnight like other teams?

BrittishAnger

July 1st, 2009
5:37 pm

I hate you guys…you people and your almost mentally handicapped notions that J-Chill might return to Atlanta one day (sure he will, the day I buy Delta and The Atlanta Spirit Group). I’m going to continue to be the person on the negative end of this, because WE DON’T NEED HIM! Bleeding Baboons man, Evans and Murray did plenty in his stead, and Childress’ numbers took a massive dip because of his position in a deep, deep team; why would we want him back? Because he was an ATL boy? Because of the ‘fro? Buddha’s Blessings, we’ve got Jamal and Mo as our sixth men extraordinaire’s, plenty of cannon fodder from the actual NBA free agents who are here in the States now, why are you all so certain a guy making a salary anybody here would likely murder for would even want to come back to a team that wasn’t willing to pay him jack for being a bench player? He’s doing that now in Greece, and despite what ESPN.com would have you believe, he isn’t that worthwhile in any regards short of becoming an overpaid, under appreciated 6th man candidate. Drop the rights we hold to him to clear salary space and resign Bibby and Marvin, try to soothe Zaza into taking his old contract again with one year as a team option, and let go of one of the restricted 12th men and pick up Garret Siler since he went undrafted.

Sekou, I asked this question on Bradley’s blog yesterday, and I figure I’ll pose it to you as well: what makes anybody think that Euro League is to the NBA what Minor League is to the Majors? No team purposefully sends players to that league and then calls them up when they’re needed…isn’t that what our NBADL is supposed to be for anyways?

BrittishAnger

July 1st, 2009
5:46 pm

Sucks, this is your blog…never mind the last question…I’ll try and dig through and see if you ever responded….

BrittishAnger

July 1st, 2009
5:49 pm

….and you didn’t, so please consider the question directed at you Mark….

BrittishAnger

July 1st, 2009
6:46 pm

…in regards to the first post…Yes, they do…although I miss the days when Arsenal FC wore Sega jerseys…good times….

Mark Bradley

July 1st, 2009
7:46 pm

I think the best European leagues — Spain, Italy, Greece — are superior to the NBDL, Brittish.

And Ken, I think the Hawks’ first priority is to try and keep the guys they have. (At least two or three of them, anyway.) Then they might turn elsewhere. But they’ll have to have fallback plans in case, say, three of four leave.

BrittishAnger

July 1st, 2009
8:24 pm

Okay, I knew that (I’ve watched Mike Batiste play and own folks out there, remember?). What I’m asking you is whether teams from the NBA are specifically sending players to European leagues with intentions of calling them back whenever they choose? We didn’t do that with J-Chill, and I doubt that was the case with David Andersen, but the draft punditry kept putting that out there (especially with Gladyr), and I find it kind of insulting to that league to assume that’s the case, considering the level of the players are, as you agreed with me on, far above those in the DL (quick trivia, who led Euroleague in Assists this season, and what school did he originally play for?).

Oh, and it’s official, Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva will play in Detroit next season, barring some deranged sign and trade deal….There goes our Chocolate Factory deal….

Brendan

July 2nd, 2009
2:29 am

So, the Chicago Blackhawks are doomed to lose the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010? Let’s see if it happen. Marian Hossa signed for 12 years (!!) with Chicago, for $62+ million. Hope it works out for him.

niremetal

July 2nd, 2009
8:09 pm

The style of play in the US and Europe is so different that I don’t think you can compare the NBDL to Euro leagues like that. Maybe once they widen the lane and move back the 3-point line, though….