Free agent point guard Mike Bibby has agreed to a three-year deal worth an estimated $18 million to return to the Hawks, according to two people familiar with the situation.The Hawks really are going to pay Jamal Crawford $9 million to attempt to replicate Flip Murray's 2008-09 season. That crosses "cheap" off the list of valid criticisms of Atlanta Spirit.
Bibby is almost certain to be a more productive player both in absolute terms and in the context of the Atlanta Hawks than either Crawford or Teague in 2009-10 and, at this annual cost, Bibby won't be an obscenely paid backup in the deal's final season when, one hopes, either Teague will be ready to start or the Hawks will use the $10 million they won't be spending on Jamal Crawford on a new point guard.
Assuming that Marvin Williams, in a worst-case scenario, plays the 2009-10 season on his one-year qualifying offer, the Hawks are but re-signing Zaza Pachulia away from fulfilling Mike Woodson's dream of keeping a 47-win team together (down to the fumbly, bumbly, flubbery end of the bench) to better "evaluate" them.
My early guess is that some will learn and some will have it confirmed that this team really is a 45-win team capable of narrowly winning or narrowly losing a first-round series, before, should they manage the former, struggling to compete in the second-round.
Not there aren't potential reasons for optimism: if healthy, Williams, Josh Smith, and Al Horford could all be better players (even as it's unlikely any of them will become a bigger part of the offense), Crawford's presence might encourage Woodson not to run Joe Johnson into the ground by Christmas, they might not lose Josh Childress for nothing in return, and Teague could always develop ahead of schedule. Still, there's a twinge of disappointment that we're going to be watching a sequel (possibly a sequel with far less rebounding) rather than an original work come October.