The Hawks make a trade, but it’s not the trade they needed

Kirk Hinrich: He's a solid pro, not a savior. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Kirk Hinrich: He's a solid pro, not a savior. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

The Hawks needed to make a trade in the worst way, and the trade they made wasn’t the worst ever. It was OK. Not great, not awful. Just OK.

They shipped Mike Bibby, who was too old and not really a point guard anymore and imported Kirk Hinrich, who’s a good player but who hasn’t been exclusively a point guard himself. They shed Mo Evans, who was expendable, and Jordan Crawford, about whose promise they’d raved only last summer, and acquired Hilton Armstrong, who’s averaging 1.9 points and 2.8 rebounds.

Best-case scenario: Hinrich does his hybrid-guard act — he used to be quite good at it, but his numbers haven’t been anything special the past four seasons — and puts the other Hawks in the right position and this team manages to win a first-round series.

Worst-case scenario: Hinrich fails to mesh with Joe Johnson — say what you want about Bibby, but he and Johnson made a nice tandem — and the Hawks, who have bombed out in Round 2 the past two seasons, bomb out in Round 1 this spring.

Either way, the addition of Hinrich and Armstrong is no cause for re-calibration of this team’s ceiling. The Hawks aren’t much different today than they’ve been for the past three years. They’re a pretty good team in an Eastern Conference that keeps getting more competitive at the top.

If the notion was to find a galvanizing talent at this deadline, they failed. The man that would have remade the local club just got traded to New Jersey, and he was, fittingly enough, one of the two famous men on whom general manager Billy Knight passed to draft Marvin Williams in 2005. Utah moved to trade Deron Williams, and the Hawks apparently weren’t in the bidding. (Deron Williams was picked one spot ahead of Chris Paul, and the two have long ranked, to the Hawks’ lasting chagrin, among the NBA’s five best point guards.)

Instead the Hawks landed Hinrich, who’s a solid pro but not an All-Star, and Armstrong, who’s a younger Jason Collins. And it’s clear the Hawks were the desperate party here: Why else trade three players for two and throw in a first-round pick to boot? That’s a high price to pay for a hybrid guard who was made superfluous in Chicago by Derrick Rose and who isn’t needed in Washington because of John Wall.

Say this, though, for Rick Sund: At least he did something. At least he acknowledged what had become blatant: This team as constituted had reached its peak and was on the descent. It hasn’t fallen to pieces yet — it’s still fifth in the East — and it’s surely too talent to collapse utterly, but the talent that had been compiled and nurtured by both Knight and Sund has topped out. It needs something else, even if the something else is little more than change for change’s sake.

Two NBA teams had had the same starting lineup since February 2008: One is the Celtics, who’ve won a title and graced another NBA final; the other was the Hawks, who hadn’t managed to win a game beyond the first round. Bibby was the last of that starting five to arrive — he came by way of a February deal with Sacramento — and he wasn’t the Bibby of old at any time in his Atlanta stay. But he was a solid pro who knew how to play, and without him these Hawks might never have made the playoffs at all.

Now he’s gone, and it was past time for him to leave. This trade is probably enough to keep the Hawks ahead of the Knicks in the East, probably not enough to elevate them above Orlando for fourth place. It gives them hope in the sense that something has been done, but the right something again eluded this franchise. Deron Williams, the guy they needed back in 2005 and needed today, got traded on Wednesday, and it wasn’t to the Hawks.

By Mark Bradley

272 comments Add your comment

Dylan

February 23rd, 2011
9:20 pm

hawks4life

February 23rd, 2011
9:21 pm

first? and sad to see my boy mike go, but it was needed

Dylan

February 23rd, 2011
9:21 pm

anyway I think this is a bad trade Bibby was a good 3pt shooter should have traded Joe Johnson

KakNiqueTree

February 23rd, 2011
9:21 pm

Oooh, FIRST, WHOOPDEDOO! So hinrich mentored drose in chicago, john wall in dc. so he’s gonna do it for jeff teague, now right? hahaha

Thornton Melon

February 23rd, 2011
9:22 pm

The Hawks still have a team?

BW

February 23rd, 2011
9:22 pm

Trying to keep up with the New Yorks and New Jerseys is impossible as long as Atlanta Spirit Group owns the Hawks…oh yeah first.

Tim

February 23rd, 2011
9:23 pm

I’ll miss Bibby

BW

February 23rd, 2011
9:23 pm

rather SEVENTH

JMar

February 23rd, 2011
9:25 pm

Awesome – I love the idea of trading any hope for the future (last year’s and this year’s first rounder) for a 1 1/2 year rental of an overpriced veteran point guard who should improve the team just enough to secure a fourth or fifth seed.

El Bravo

February 23rd, 2011
9:25 pm

A pretty good trade when you consider that the Wizards took over Bibby’s contract…

potluck

February 23rd, 2011
9:26 pm

Hopefully Hinrich can play good Defense at pg, rack up some assists with our starters and hit the open shot. We need someone who could drive the ball and get to the line still

kral

February 23rd, 2011
9:27 pm

hope we are better

JSS

February 23rd, 2011
9:27 pm

Told you that they had nothing that anyone really wanted…

bigeasy830

February 23rd, 2011
9:27 pm

Terrible trade, Hinrich is not much better than Bibby but makes way more money, Armstrong is a bust, Jordan Crawford will be a good player in this league, and good players have been drafted in the second round so they surely could have gotten a good player in the first round if they had a GM with half a brain.

El Bravo

February 23rd, 2011
9:28 pm

Mo Evans was a 17 minutes, 4.5 pp game player with a bad wheel, JC2 was not even seeing the floor and the 1st round pick will be outside the lottery so it is not like we mortgaged the future…

El Bravo

February 23rd, 2011
9:30 pm

Lets face, with JJ in the fold for the next six years JC2 was going to be no better than a bench player. Players of his ilk are dime a dozen in the NBA…

RSX

February 23rd, 2011
9:32 pm

12th

All I know is, I want Dwight Howard when he becomes a free agent. If this helps with that, then good. If not, then fuggedaboutit it.

JIm

February 23rd, 2011
9:32 pm

Well – We really didn’t give up much.

Mike

February 23rd, 2011
9:32 pm

I think that there is other trade coming, besides I think that Josh Smith would be dealt, besides he is a best trade piece with Crawford.

Sam

February 23rd, 2011
9:35 pm

Who did you expect the Hawks to give up to get Deron Williams, Mark? They didn’t have nearly the cache of trade-able parts that the Nets did. The Hawks have no one near Favors as a prospect or the draft picks to move. Plus the Nets gave up a playmaker like Devon Harris. They certainly weren’t going to do Williams for Williams and Bibby.

matt r

February 23rd, 2011
9:35 pm

Yeah, this is definitely a meh

ole richie

February 23rd, 2011
9:36 pm

i hope your right mike.

BALI

February 23rd, 2011
9:36 pm

pulled the trigger which surprises me…think the hawks need to do more this offseason but do not believe they will ever be a real threat as a championship team…not enough money or support in the atl

chem

February 23rd, 2011
9:36 pm

The hawks got hosed. Statistically Hinrich and Bibby are similar, but Maurice Evans, 2011 first rounder, and Crawford > Armstrong

ole richie

February 23rd, 2011
9:37 pm

wish we coulda used those guys to get a package with NOLA for paul and west

todd grantham

February 23rd, 2011
9:38 pm

the Hawks treat players like baseball owners do managers: fire one just for change sake and hope for the best.

Ron D

February 23rd, 2011
9:38 pm

Not a wise trade unless they plan on packaging some players at year end to set up another trade. Essentially, you trade your 2010 and 2011 1st rounders and 2 proven vets for one starter (13 pts a game) and a reserve with a nominal scoring average. Say what you will but the Hawks started winning when Bibby came to town.

todd grantham

February 23rd, 2011
9:39 pm

i dont believe the Hawks will ever be a consistent winner with the present hierarchy in place. fire them for change sake.

Jared

February 23rd, 2011
9:40 pm

Looks like a good trade to me. KH is better than bibby in all categories. Basically we just added 2 more points per game and one more assist.

hawk fan 33

February 23rd, 2011
9:40 pm

I agree Mark. The Hawks needed to take a chance and go for a bit more. While Hinrich will be an upgrade over Bibby, we needed more. Hilton Armstrong? Eh, don’t see that as much of an upgrade over Jason Collins. I don’t like that we included the first and Jordan Crawford, who fell into Coach Woody Drew’s rookie trap. I don’t think this is a case of Acie-Salim revisited. He could actually pan out. There are rumblings of Nene being on the block…why not go for a Nene-Felton package? Perhaps something else is in the works.

D A DoubleU G

February 23rd, 2011
9:41 pm

Bradley,

Is there ANYTHING that makes you happy in this world??

You need Jesus.

todd grantham

February 23rd, 2011
9:41 pm

wonder what Al Horford thinks of this latest development

T.O

February 23rd, 2011
9:43 pm

what’s the point?? Stupid trade. We were better not doing anything.

Brayne Varner

February 23rd, 2011
9:43 pm

who cares about giving up that draft pick. it’s not like we have a history of developing real NBA talent out of last first rounders.

K from da Wood

February 23rd, 2011
9:44 pm

Why can’t the Hawks get rid of the underachieving, overpaid Marvin Williams…they couldn’t just throw him in to the deal???

Mark Bradley

February 23rd, 2011
9:45 pm

Belated kudos, Dylan.

Mark Bradley

February 23rd, 2011
9:46 pm

And Kirk Hinrich is a better defender — much — than Mike Bibby.

Nick P.

February 23rd, 2011
9:46 pm

i still remember Billy Knight saying that “he found it funny that everyone in Atlanta thinks we need a point guard” when he went ahead with the Williams draft, i personally wanted Chris Paul, i still think he is the best complete point guard in the league, both defensively and offensively, i even would have accepted Jarrett Jack who actually topped Paul head to head in college for Tech, but Chris Paul should be a Hawk right now!

hawk fan 33

February 23rd, 2011
9:49 pm

Todd G, if Hilton Armstrong comes in, shocks the world, and proves to actually be a quality starting center (highly doubt) then he may end up the happiest person in ATL regarding this trade. f

Jermaine

February 23rd, 2011
9:51 pm

Well on the bright side, at least Teague gets to start a game this season.

nobody

February 23rd, 2011
9:51 pm

I would have been happy with this trade if it was Mcgee instead of Armstrong. Jordan Crawford and a 1st are way to much for Hinrich. Bibby and Armstrong dont really matter. This trade was just Jordan for Hinrich.

Josh

February 23rd, 2011
9:53 pm

complete lateral move except for losing the draft pick. that sucks. the Hawks aren’t worse, but they’re not better.

crabapplejoe

February 23rd, 2011
9:53 pm

Man oh man…why don’t the Hawks just bring Pop Seed back up from the development league and let him start……

nobody

February 23rd, 2011
9:53 pm

Sund needs to realize unless we do something huge we will not win a title until the likes of Lebron, Carmelo, and Rose are out of the league

cj

February 23rd, 2011
9:53 pm

The Hawks continue to prove they lack the necessary business and basketball knowledge to be a winning and successful NBA organization. The Hawks will not become a tier 1 organization / team until they are sold to someone who possess vision, passion, and a championship mindset.

nobody

February 23rd, 2011
9:55 pm

The Hawks have a lot of talent. Why dont we ever win? Subpar coaching, bad front office, and terrible owners. Joe, Josh, and Horford would be a tremendous core if they were coached right. Also we have ZERO bench other than Jamaal. We arent going anywhere

just wondering

February 23rd, 2011
9:55 pm

what’s the poop on the French guy we got that was overlooked by everyone else.. Popye Something (not Popeye the Sailor ). He is, as I recall, a tallish point guard they sent to the instructional league or something.. is he in the picture for the future?

Zach

February 23rd, 2011
9:55 pm

why am i watching this trash? we are terrible.

bjohndawg

February 23rd, 2011
9:56 pm

This is little more than a trade for trading sake.
They could have done more. Much more.

werty

February 23rd, 2011
9:56 pm

the hawks are looking terrible. lets hope they make another trade