Friday, July 31, 2009

Garret Siler Has Two Camp Invites

Reportedly, he can choose between trying to make the roster of the Atlanta Hawks or the roster of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

In Atlanta's camp he'll begin camp behind (at least* and for all practical** purposes) Al Horford, Zaza Pachulia, and the $855,000 owed Randolph Morris.

*obligatory Joe Smith mention

**Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia can share the court. Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia and Josh Smith can't.

Minnesota, however, doesn't have a third center, arguably doesn't have a second center*, and their reserve power forwards (Darius Songaila, Brian Cardinal) have no intention of occupying the post.

*82games credits Oleksiy Pecherov with playing most of his minutes at center under the assumption that Javale McGee was the power forward during the 158 minutes (of Pecherov's 277 total minutes) they played together. In limited minutes, Pecherov has been a non-descript rebounder for a man of his height and a pronounced jump shooter.

In weighing his offers, Siler and his agent will surely weigh the relative lack of similar competition in Minnesota against the Hawks' recent penchant for filling the end of the bench with local guys. All things being equal, Siler would probably prefer to be a Hawk. Right now, things don't appear to be equal and I wouldn't be surprised if Siler takes his shot in Minnesota rather than Atlanta.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Reactions To the Unofficial Marvin Williams News

I thought I'd wait until things were settled but that's apparently not very new media of me. If the years and money being reported (5 years, $37.5-40 million) are accurate this seems like a good deal for the Hawks whether the intend to keep Marvin Williams or use him as a trading chit. I'd be surprised if he, barring injury, fails to provide $8 million worth of production in any of his age 24-28 seasons.

Tom Ziller likes Marvin and gives Rick Sund high marks for signing him to a long-term deal on the (relative) cheap:
The Hawks played hardball this summer with restricted free agent Marvin Williams, just as the Hawks do with most restricted free agents. Last year, Atlanta GM Rick Sund allowed Josh Smith to hang in the RFA win, only bringing the electric forward back when Memphis got Smith to sign a reasonable offer sheet.


Williams as an unrestricted free agent could have received closer to $50 million, even in this climate. He's a stellar defender at the small forward spot, agile and looooong. But during his first three seasons, Williams's offense lagged and his instincts weren't quite developed. He worked hard last summer to develop a jumper ... and it worked! He went from quizzical to stud in one season, and he's one of the more promising small forwards in the league as a result.

A salary contained below $10 million annually is good work for the Hawks, especially when you consider how reasonable Smith's contract looks. The Hawks still need a piece (or serious improvement from the young core, or a standout season from rookie Jeff Teague) to do better than fourth in the conference, but there's time. There's time.
Mark Bradley calls this "just about the greatest summer in Hawks history" which says something about both the organization's recent streak of competence and its history.

At The Baseline, Bethlehem Shoals comes dangerously close to ticking off each item on the mediot checklist:
Thus, Williams is, to some degree, getting paid based on potential. You'd think that wouldn't be happening in this economic climate, but it is. Roughly $8 million a year for a guy who doesn't even start consistently. The Hawks have Josh Smith, a 3/4, under contract through 2013; they darn sure are keeping 4/5 Al Horford when he's up for an extension; and they still hold the rights to Josh Childress, even if he's headed back to Greece for another overseas tour.
First, the factual error: Williams has started 202 of the 205 games he's played over the last three seasons with two of those reserve appearances occurring in April 2009 after he'd missed a month with a back injury and the Hawks had secured the fourth seed.

Secondly, the description of Josh Smith, a man incapable of getting in a defensive stance, who possesses poor lateral movement, and is the worst jump shooter in the NBA as a "3/4." I think it's safe to dismiss as facile any analysis that fails to understand Josh Smith's obvious strengths and limitations.

He needed only to complain about high ticket prices, call Williams selfish for agreeing to a contract offer, or raise the red flag over early entrant to hit the trifecta.

Monday, July 27, 2009

John Schuhmann on Josh Smith's Performance in Vegas

John Schuhmann at
It wasn't a good camp for Smith, but he salvaged it a bit in the second half on Saturday, with some hustle plays, a huge block and a nice drive around Jeff Green. Still, he can't shoot, and that can't be ignored.
Didn't distinguish himself enough defensively, shot poorly and turned it over too much. Not a good 3 days.

Introducing Solomon Jones to Eight Points, Nine Seconds

Little I offered will be new to anyone familiar with my opinion of the subject but I hadn't had cause to link to the TrueHoop Network's fine new Pacers blog.

First Descriptive Passage Regarding Josh Smith's Time in Vegas

The news isn't encouraging and the sarcasm is probably unnecessary. From Chris Sheridan (Insider):
Appeared to be packing on a few extra pounds, and his game still seems too unrefined for him to be seriously considered in the big man mix for next summer. But if he shoots 80 percent at the line and 50 percent from the field in '09-10, he'll help his cause.

Hawks Rescinded Qualifying Offer To Jones And Thoughts On Joe Smith

Deep in Sekou Smith's latest blog post:
Solo is moving on at a time when the Hawks could use a big or two like him, which makes his departure for Indiana all the more perplexing. After all, he was a restricted free agent, due close to a $1 million if he had signed his qualifying offer (the QO was rescinded so he would be allowed to sign with the Pacers without any interruption). I needed an explanation and Solo provided one last week. “The Hawks kept it real with me,” he said. “They told me that my role was going to be pretty much the same as it was last year, and that I wouldn’t have a chance to move up and get more time unless somebody got hurt like last year. And I realize that’s just the way it’s going to be with Josh and Al [Horford] and Zaza already in place. It’s cool. I get a chance to go somewhere else and try and start over and see if there’s a chance to have a bigger role. The Pacers want me up there right away to get to work and that’s a good thing. I’m looking forward to the opportunity. But I appreciate the Hawks keeping it straight with me and not trying to sell me something that they couldn’t deliver in terms of playing time and opportunity.”
Emphasis mine.

Thumbs up to Jones for his perceptive analysis* of the Hawks' post rotation which offers as good as segue as I've yet managed to broach the subject of Joe Smith in this space. Smith would be a fine addition but he (or any other serviceable veteran or intriguing young big man) will probably not have a measurable positive impact on next year's team on the court.

*Better than Sekou's ("...the Hawks could use a big or two like [Jones]...") with which one might argue were one not willing to give Mr. Smith a pass on work filed while on vacation.

Last year, with Al Horford missing 15 games, Josh Smith missing 13 games, Zaza Pachulia missing 5 games, and Marvin Williams absent for 21 games and thus unable on those nights to slide down to the four, Solomon Jones played just 675 minutes. One big guy who will almost certainly still be on the roster next season, Randolph Morris, played just 89 minutes. Another post player who might be back, Othello Hunter, played just 92 minutes.

The fourth big man in the rotation is extremely unlikely to play 1000 minutes next season. He's fairly unlikely to play 800 minutes. If either occurs, something bad has almost certainly occurred be it injury or a recurrence of the head coach's aversion to the threat of foul trouble.

Joe Smith would be a nice insurance policy, possibly provide some value as a teammate and locker room presence, and likely provide a psychologically healthier experience for Hawks fans during his brief appearances on court than Solomon Jones ever did. I'm not positive, for example, that Smith can get out to the three-point line, much less run into shooters after they've released their shot nor have I ever witnessed Smith fall down as a result of trying to catch a pass. It wouldn't be a bad signing, but it's unlikely to make much of a positive difference either.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pacers Sign Solomon Jones To 2-Year Deal

Jeff Rabjohns of The Indianapolis Star:
The Indiana Pacers have agreed to a two-year deal for forward Solomon Jones, a person familiar with the situation confirmed today.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
I guess my suspicions were correct and the Hawks never did extend a qualifying offer to Solomon Jones. Keep the lack of official announcements regarding generic organizational business in mind the next time anyone in a decision-making capacity utters the words "criticism" or "scrutiny." Neither really exists in this market.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Woodson, Larry Drew Speak On Teague

News from the first day of mini-camp as Jeff Teague signed his contract yesterday and, in doing so, was able to play basketball.

Mike Woodson:
"We’re going to touch him again once he leaves here. We’ll be in his ear. I want him to know exactly what’s coming. He has to be vocal and be ready to run this team because if he’s not, the vets will eat him up in training camp. But he’s got the tools. And it’s going to be a learning process. I think he’ll be fine."
Larry Drew:
"Since I’ve been here, we have not had a point guard with his type of speed that can make a shot and has all the tools to run the pick-and-roll. And that’s something you have to defend every night in the NBA."
Call me crazy, or just too aggresively inferential, but I don't think either one of those gentlemen is speaking strictly about Jeff Teague.

Micah Hart has a nice item (also, pictures) regarding second-round pick Sergiy Gladyr:
[Gladyr] can't work out with the rest of the group yet because of an issue waiting to be cleared up with FIBA, but he was able to do some individual drills after the workouts were over. From watching him for only a few minutes, it's obvious the kid can shoot. He has a clean, nearly effortless release, and was nailing jumpers from all over the floor.
No word on who on the initial roster isn't there but Othello Hunter was added at some point as was Clemente Martin*.

*6-4, 205 from Newberry College...second team Division II All-Southeast Region Team as a forward...30.8 3PTFG%, 53 assists, 104 turnovers as a senior

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Other Mini-Camp

The Hawks' mini-camp should begin this afternoon. The USA Basketball mini-camp begins Thursday in Las Vegas and, as was announced long ago, Josh Smith will be taking part in the latter alongside 22 other young professionals. The camp culminates on the Saturday the 25th with an intrasquad game.

I don't know if anything noteworthy will occur but consider this a reminder to keep your ears open and eyes peeled.

Basketball-Statistics: At Which Position Are Great Players the Most Important

Is Jon Nichols doing the most interesting work around right now or just the most interesting work I know about or just the most interesting work I know about and believe I understand? Regardless, his latest piece appears to support the Hawks' disinclination to rush into a big, long-term deal with great guy, nice player, probably underutilized, almost certainly not a franchise player Marvin Williams:
Overall, it appears that small forwards are the most important, followed by power forwards, centers, shooting guards, and point guards. I’ve heard people suggest small forwards are crucial to a team’s success in the past. Three of the remaining four teams in the playoffs last year featured a small forward as their main playmaker. And as my study on the shooting abilities of small forwards showed, it’s best not to have a specialist at that position. What you need is a player who can do it all because that position appears to be very important to your team being successful.
For those so inclined, I highly recommend clicking through to study the full range of data which is, as always, well presented.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

FanHouse: Povtak: Hawks Showing No Love For Childress

Money quote:
"Things were close, very close. Milwaukee would have been a great situation," Childress said Friday evening from Los Angeles during a conference call with reporters. "Coach (Scott) Skiles made it clear that he really wanted me to be part of his team. The whole coaching staff and managements really let me know I was wanted. They saw me as a big part of their future."

Although Childress liked what he heard during his visit earlier this month in Milwaukee, his restricted free agency still gave all the leverage to the Hawks. Without enough room under the salary cap to match his contract in Greece, the Bucks needed to do it with a sign-and-trade deal that included either Bruce Bowen or Kurt Thomas.

Charlotte also pushed hard for a deal with Childress, but they were only offering Raja Bell in return to Atlanta.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Researching The Mini-Camp Invitees

The current roster. Leo Lyons, Dionte Christmas, and Shawn Taggart are the most interesting invitees to me. Lyons, Christmas, Taggart, Garret Siler, and Yaroslav Korolev are playing/have played in the Las Vegas Summer League. Christmas also payed in the Orlando Pro Summer League.

Hawks Hold Their Rights
Jeff Teague
Sergiy Gladyr
Cenk Akyol (Euroleague, Turkish League)

Those With NBA Experience
John Lucas III (D-League stats, TAU Ceramica)
Chris Taft (The only reference to Chris Taft I could find since his 8 game stint in the D-League in 2008)
Yaroslav Korolev (Dynamo Moscow: #45)

Undrafted 2009 Draft Eligibles

Veteran Free Agents (No NBA Experience)
Corey Williams (D-League stats, 2007) aka Corey "Homicide" Williams (HT: @langwhitaker)
Ivan Harris (D-League stats, 2009)
Frank Robinson (Euroleague)
Sundiata Gaines (Serie A)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hawks Interested In Ike Diogu?

Sam Amick of The Sacramento Bee checks in with unrestricted free agent Ike Diogu (HT: CelticsBlog):
Diogu said "about 10 teams" have shown interest in him, including Atlanta, New Orleans, Boston, Dallas, Charlotte, Toronto, Denver and Washington. Depending on what transpires in the summer months on the free agency front or in terms of trades, the Kings – who have approximately $6 million in salary-cap room and are shopping for a frontcourt addition – could still be an option for Diogu. Diogu's agent, however, said he has no reason to believe his client is in the Kings' plans.
Diogu could be a very nice addition for the Hawks, and, depending on the cost, could be a better alternative than David Andersen. Digou lacks Andersen's range but possesses both a useful face-up jumper and post game and should be a far better offensive rebounder than Andersen. Andersen is likely to be the better defensive rebounder and might be the better defender if only by default.

The Last David Andersen Post

From The Australian, Andersen on the trade:
"This is a dream come true. I'd been on the books at Atlanta for seven years, but for one reason or another I never got to play with the Hawks. I still had a year to run on my Barcelona contract, but I had a get-out clause if I was picked up by either the Hawks or another NBA team. I'm really excited about the prospects of actually finally getting to play in what is the biggest league in the world."

"This move to Houston is a dream come true. I've always wanted a shot at the NBA to prove I can play at the highest level."
I'll miss the dream of his promise but I'll probably get over it soon.

Hawks Trade Andersen To Rockets

The return:
The Atlanta Hawks traded the rights to forward-center David Andersen to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday for an undisclosed second-round draft choice, cash and future considerations.
Daryl Morey:
"David has been a winner with every team he has played for in Europe. He is a very well-rounded player who possesses good offensive skills and a very good shooting touch for a big man."
The surprise would have been an announcement that the Hawks were bringing Andersen over to play in Atlanta as there's been no inclination the organization has any interest in building a deep bench.

The decision to pay Jamal Crawford $9 million to replicate Flip Murray's 2008-09 production suggests that cost is not currently an obstacle* so I suspect the driving force behind the (apparent) preference for bench players of the Solomon Jones/Mario West/Randolph Morris variety is the realization that (at least when given a real, live starting point guard) an eight-and-a-half man rotation is the most Mike Woodson** can manage, and, considering the list of players (Zaza Pachulia, Josh Childress, Anthony Johnson, Acie Law IV, Salim Stoudamire) who have been unconvinced by or simply left in the dark regarding the decision-making process by which minutes are allocated, perhaps it's best to augment that short (for an 82-game regular season) rotation with guys who are just happy to be there.

*Deciding to pay Jamal Crawford $9 million dollars does limit your remaining options, though.

**Who, it should always be pointed out when discussing personnel moves catering to his predilections, is in the final year of his contract.

A quick glance over the fence and it appears that the Rockets will have, if Yao Ming misses the entire season, a post rotation of Luis Scola, David Andersen, Carl Landry, and Chuck Hayes for the cost of three second-round picks, cash, and the rights to Vassilis Spanoulis. The injuries to Tracy McGrady and Yao (who combine to make up more than 55% of Houston's payroll) probably preclude the Rockets from contending for an NBA Championship but that hasn't stopped Morey (and Carroll Dawson before him) from making lemonade.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

An Addendum To Yesterday's Prediction Post

Neil Paine, at Blog looks at Win Shares and aging. The concluding paragraph:
As you can see, on average guards do disappear sooner than players at other positions, starting at age 32. The conventional wisdom is that smaller players who rely on their speed/quickness tend to lose that ability (and therefore their viability as NBA players) in their early 30s; bigger players, of course, lose it at that point too, but it doesn’t matter as much for them because they were never very fast to begin with. Based on these results, I’d say the conventional wisdom has been confirmed — guards do appear to “lose it” sooner than big men, starting in their early thirties. That makes the recent re-signings of aging PGs Jason Kidd and Mike Bibby particularly risky, and the buyer should certainly beware when it comes to Allen Iverson, who could end up being the poster child for this phenomenon.
There's lots of interesting* data and charts for those inclined.

*There's a 59% chance that Jeff Teague peaks between his third and sixth year assuming he plays at least 2000 minutes in an NBA season.

Josh Childress Is Returning To Olympiakos

Sekou Smith has the quotes:
"I still have some unfinished business to tend to. I definitely have unfinished business in Greece."

"When I left Greece to come back [here to the U.S.], I had it in my head that was going back to Greece no mater what. Then when I got home and had my feet on the ground for a couple of days, I really wanted to explore my options and see what was out there. It was 50-50 from there."

"My team did well, but there’s no question, I didn’t have the year I wanted to have, and with that being said, I have some serious work left to do in Athens. That was part of my decision to go back, as well."
Best case scenario? Jeff Teague proves a useful NBA player this season and the Hawks use the rights to Childress as a sweetener to get some team to take the final year of Jamal Crawford's contract.

Worst case scenario? The Hawks lose the rights to Childress for nothing and the cost of the loss is likely underrated as, by the time it comes to pass, most everyone has gotten over the shock of the possibility of it happening.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Some Early Prediction Thoughts

all stats taken from

I'm researching and exploring some methods to utilize in the hopes of making a more objective, more accurate prediction for the 2009-10 season with the goal of getting within, let's say, ten games of the Hawks' final record. A small step but one which would constitute an almost 30% improvement for me over last year's prediction. It's all about setting attainable goals. That last sentence is surely a petard on which I'll be hoisted.

This first table looks at Win Shares, cataloging each player's rate of Win Shares per 1000 minutes for his career, the 2008-09 season, and while playing for the Atlanta Hawks.

WS/1000 Min

NameCareer08-09w/ ATL

One can pretty easily take those rates, make an educated guess about each player's 2009-10 rate, assign minutes for 2009-10 season, and calculate a rough estimate of the team's projected wins. Something like this...


Last year's 47-35 team (46-36 Pythagorean record) earned 45.1 Win Shares.

The reasoning behind that Jeff Teague projection will be the subject of a future post which I'll preview here only by saying that point guards drafted outside of the lottery over the last six seasons, even point guards who have gone on to be above average players, have pretty much all been below average players as rookies. Collectively, they've been well below average.

Though Win Shares is a useful tool for a rough exercise such as this (not least of which because one needn't make hundreds of calculations) it doesn't give you much of an idea about the shape of a player's contributions. Thus, as a complement to Win Shares I've also looked at each player's Offensive Rating (ORtg) and Defensive Rating (DRtg) for the 2008-09 season and their careers.


Two things to notice in the above table:
  1. Lots of Hawks exceeded their career averages (last season inclusive) during the 2008-09 season. I think it's fair to expect the young players (Horford, Williams, Smith) to continue outperform their career averages even if they might not improve upon or even repeat their 2008-09 numbers. I think it's fair to expect the older players (Bibby, Crawford, Evans, Pachulia) to perform closer to their career averages in 2009-10. As for Joe Johnson, he's posted (in chronological order, 2005-2009) Offensive Ratings of 109, 109, 109, 110 and Defensive Ratings of 114, 111, 112, 110 in his four seasons in Atlanta. I suspect he'll post similar rates next season.
  2. Notice the similarity between Flip Murray's 2008-09 and Jamal Crawford's career. I still don't think that Crawford is likely to provide an upgrade over what Flip Murray produced last season.
There are a couple of extra steps to projecting a record from individual ratings. I estimated each players minutes per game (eMPG) for 2009-10, multiplied their ORtg and DRtg by (eMPG/48), added up the results, divided both sums by 5 to get estimated Offensive and Defensive Efficiencies, and then used those to figure pythagorean wins. The estimates below resulted in an Offensive Efficiency of 109.4, a Defensive Efficiency of 108.2, and 44.3 wins.


Now, as to whether these objective measures confirm my suspicions that the Hawks have merely re-constituted last season's team (assuming they re-sign Marvin Williams) or whether this post just confirms that, before the fact, I can only conceive of avenues of inquiry which confirm my suspicions, I'm essentially neutral. What say you?

In lieu of content...interactivity

The Hawks plan to make re-signing Mike Bibby and Zaza Pachulia official this afternoon. No such official announcement is planned for Marvin Williams. Yet.

The NBA blogosphere is atwitter* abuzz about the summer league. Hawks fans don't have the pleasure of investing themselves fully in the proceedings** but that doesn't mean there aren't events of interest.

For example:
Please share any links*** or thoughts of interest in the comments.

*Up, running, and logoed: The True Hoop Network Twitter feed.

**Not entirely unlike the 2003-04 through 2005-06 regular seasons.

***In the interests of fairness, a compendium of Celtics bloggers' attempts to describe how slow Nick Fazekas is would not be unwarranted.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Pachulia To Sign Contract On Monday

From the man himself:
I'm sure most of you heard already but we reached the agreement with Hawks:))had phisicals this morning and signing officially on Monday.
I'm glad it worked out and glad to be part of this team. And one more thing:HAWKS FANS U R THE BEST. Thanks for all the support. Love yo
I pretend the latter tweet was written with Drew in mind.

Cheap, Available Backup Power Forwards Who Might Be Useful

I don't think there's any doubt the Hawks have spent the lion's share of the money they're going to spend this summer, and, while the backcourt may be slightly over-subscribed I don't think anyone would complain were the Hawks to bring in a power forward to provide at least two out of the three following attributes: defense, rebounding, providing a viable alternative to playing Josh Smith on the nights the team needs a viable alternative to playing Josh Smith because Zaza Pachulia is, to Mike Woodson, a backup center rather than a third big man.

Ignoring, for now, the possibility that this fourth big man might arrive in exchange for the rights to Josh Childress, I present some free agent possibilities.

Suggestions (in alphabetical order)
  • David Andersen
  • James Augustine
  • Maceo Baston
  • Ike Diogu
  • Nick Fazekas (training camp invite)
  • Drew Gooden
  • Richard Hendrix (HT: Third Quarter Collapse)
  • Leon Powe (it would be like making a pre-emptive deadline deal to improve the team only cheaper)
  • Chris Wilcox
I think those are all within the realm of possibility and more likely than either Solomon Jones or Randolph Morris to contribute (positively) next season. Please discuss these candidates and/or suggest your own in the comments.

Mike Woodson Is On To Something

At Hardwood Paroxysm, Jon Nichols looks at how the shooting ability of point guards affect a team's offensive efficiency (click through for graph and full analysis):
Although they all generally have the same duty (run the offense!), different point guards in the NBA possess a variety of skills. Whether they are big or small, quick or fast, or aggressive or passive, they come in all shapes and sizes...Is the ability to shoot three-pointers well a key skill for point guards?
The short answer is yes.

I would guess that better shooter = more efficient offense holds true across all positions. I suspect the next step is to study whether the difference of affect for point guards is appreciably different than that for players at other positions.

A Sentimental Tidbit For a Certain Demographic

You know who you are and if you'll love this, rue this, or skip it entirely: Salim Stoudamire wants Josh Childress to join the Bucks.

"Not only is he a great player who is willing to do all the little things to help a team win, but he's a good guy, too. He's a very honest and caring person. It would be a blessing if he came here."

AJC: Smith: Hawks, Pachulia Agree To Terms

No details yet:
Free agent center Zaza Pachulia has agreed to terms with the Hawks on a long-term deal, according to two sources familiar with the situation.

Pachulia, 25, spent the last four years with the Hawks on a $16 million deal. His new deal is believed to be for the same amount of years but with a significant raise, according to one of the sources familiar with the situation.
EDIT (9:15am, 7/9/09): As mentioned in the comments, it's "estimated" to be 4 years, $19 million. A fair deal for all involved, I say.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

2009-10 Salary Cap Set

It's official:
The National Basketball Association today announced that the Salary Cap for the 2009-10 season will be $57.7 million. The tax level for the 2009-10 season has been set at $69.92 million. Any team whose team salary exceeds that figure will pay a $1 tax for each $1 by which it exceeds $69.92 million.

The 2008-09 Salary Cap was $58.68 million and the tax level was $71.15 million. Although league-wide revenue increased 2.5% this past season, the decrease in the Salary Cap and tax level for the 2009-10 season is the result of the formula used to set the Cap and tax under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement.

The new Salary Cap and tax level go into effect at 12:01 a.m. ET on Wednesday, July 8, when the league's "moratorium period" ends and teams can begin signing free agents and making trades.

The mid-level exception is $5.854 million for the 2009-10 season and the minimum team salary, which is set at 75% of the Salary Cap, is $43.275 million.
The official salary cap is four hundred thousand dollars higher than was estimated. The tax level is five hundred thousand dollars higher, or, one-half of a Mario West qualifying offer.

The Hawks will have officially committed $48.8 million in salary to seven players once Bibby signs. That does not include qualifying offers* to West, Solomon Jones ($1 million each) and Marvin Williams ($7.355 million) or Jeff Teague's rookie deal ($1.145 million) which would put the team over the salary cap with 11 players on the roster.

*If anybody can point me to an official announcement regarding any of these qualifying offers, I'd appreciate it. The only thing I have is a Kitsap Sun article quoting Marvin Williams, Sr.

Mike Woodson and Josh Smith on Re-Signing Mike Bibby

"All I can tell you is to look at our team before he came here and then look at our team after we had him. This guy changed our team. His teammates love playing with him, and he’s great for me, too. He made a huge difference for me from a coaching standpoint. I can’t overstate his importance to what we’re doing here."
"Mike was the main difference for us. We had some good guys, some vets and young guys over the years, that came in and held it down for us at point guard, but things changed for the better when Mike Bibby showed up. And nobody can argue that."

Tuesday, July 07, 2009 Bradley: The biggest mission accomplished

Mark Bradley:
Mike Bibby was the key to this offseason. If he re-signed, the Hawks would be OK. He’s going to re-sign, and that means they’ll be more than OK. They’ll be really good.

Bibby was always going to be the toughest case. He made $15 million last season, and he has been a big name since he was a freshman at Arizona. He’s not the player he was in college or at Sacramento, but he’s ideal for what the Hawks do, which is play off Joe Johnson.

Bibby also represents the line of demarcation for the Hawks. Without him they were rudderless. With him they became a real team. To have gone so long without a point guard and to lose him now would have been a blow. But they kept him. They kept him and they added Jamal Crawford and Jeff Teague, and no matter what else happens this summer must already be deemed a success.

FanHouse: Ziller: Hawks Keep Mike Bibby

Tom Ziller:
You know, Billy Knight may have gotten a bad rap. We'll need to reassess his Atlanta legacy at some point. Among other solid draft picks (Josh Smith, Al Horford) and signings (Joe Johnson), the 2008 trade for Mike Bibby -- Knight's final move at the helm of the Hawks -- looks pretty good right now.


Knight landed Bibby 1-1/2 years ago, giving up only some expiring contracts and ultra-bust Shelden Williams. Of course, instead of drafting Williams, Knight could have had a solid point guard (Rajon Rondo) or playmaker (Brandon Roy) in the 2006 draft. But that's just picking nits. While overpaid the previous three seasons, Bibby provides just what the J.J.-led Hawks needed: someone to take ball-handling pressure off Cool Joe, and someone to hit shots. Bingo. Bibby will be doing that for the Hawks through 2011-12 at a really fair rate of pay.

Ball Don't Lie: Dwyer: Mike Bibby Stays in Atlanta

Kelly Dwyer:
At this point, in 2009, he's OK. He's 31, 15 and five assists, league-worst defense. Six million a year may not seem like the end of the world, but you watch this guy drag up the court in 2010-11, knowing that he has a year and a half left. You make sense of this, even when he expires in 2012.

This is the easy way out. This is where you go when you are tired of thinking. It's not the worst re-sign in NBA history, but it is a cop out, a lazy move, an uninspired turn. You just bid against yourself to keep Mike Bibby around. That shouldn't be applauded.

Bibby, Hawks Reportedly Agree To Terms

Sekou Smith:
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.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Hawks Make Offer To Zaza Pachulia

Sekou Smith's twitter account keeps the blog from staying dark today:
Source: Hawks have presented their case to Zaza Pachulia & await his decision on a new deal. Stay tuned.
It's nine hours old but I'm confident there will be better days than this in the news regurgitation business.

EDIT: Also a bad day for punctuation and/or sytnax in post headers.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Greasy Fun Fact

From Kevin Pelton's breakdown of free agent shooting guards at Basketball Prospectus:
Believe it or not, there is actually a fascinating statistic featuring Mario West. Because he has spent the last two seasons with the Hawks as the most limited of defensive specialists, usually being called upon by Mike Woodson to play the final possession of a quarter/game, he has averaged just 4.6 minutes per game. Amongst players with at least 100 games, that is the lowest career minutes average since Paul Noel, who played for New York and Rochester from 1948 through 1952 in the BAA and the NBA. A couple of guys have come close, but no one else has averaged fewer than five minutes in an appreciable career since the 1950s. While interesting, this does not exactly bode well for West's future.

Pre-Holiday Links

Kevin Tatum of The Philadelphia Inquirer has "a source with knowledge of the situation" who says Mike Bibby wants to stay in Atlanta.

What could the Hawks want (or get) from Milwaukee in a hypothetical Josh Childress sign-and-trade? Charles F. Gardner of The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel opines:
It's unclear what assets the Hawks might be seeking from Milwaukee, but Hammond acquired two expiring contracts from San Antonio (Bruce Bowen and Kurt Thomas) in last week's trade that sent Richard Jefferson to the Spurs. The Bucks also have point guard Luke Ridnour's $6.4 million expiring contract.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Sekou Smith Adds Depth To Josh Childress Reporting

Two essential nuggets from his latest blog entry:
...two of my spies have made it clear that were Childress to receive any sort of “reasonable” NBA offer (the $5.8 million mid-level exception or below), the Hawks would match it before Childress finished signing his name on the offer sheet (the aim, however, is to work out a sign-and-trade deal to appease both sides since Childress has made clear his desire to play elsewhere, per a source).
Childress was in Atlanta last Sunday to meet with the Hawks’ brass and made clear that he would do his due diligence in evaluating his NBA options before deciding whether to return to Greece or not. It’s smart business yet again on the part of Childress, who had drawn interest from a number of other teams (Lakers, Clippers, Cavaliers and Spurs are included in that list, according to my league spies) curious to explore the potential of him making an return to the league now as opposed to at the end of his contract with Olympiakos.

Your Annual Nick Fazekas Update

So now I lied yesterday, but this is big news: a Nick Fazekas (D-League) sighting. He'll be playing for Boston's summer league team* in Orlando next week. In addition to his professional numbers linked above, here's a reminder of why I liked Nick Fazekas coming out of Nevada:


Pts, A, TO, BS, S are per 100 individual possessions

I'll never understand how professional talent evaluators could have cumulatively decided that athletically limited college stars Adam Morrison and JJ Redick were lottery picks but Fazekas, who spent his last three years at Nevada scoring at a rate similar to Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin, grabbing a quarter of possible defensive rebounds, blocking shots at a reasonable rate for a power forward, and improving his offensive rebounding was worth a second-round pick and, to date, just 269 NBA minutes.
Maybe college stats aren't important except for massively overcorrecting for vague perceptions of schedule strength.

*Hey, a Mike Sweetney sighting, too.

Josh Childress To Visit Milwaukee Today

Gery Woelfel reports:
Jim Tanner, the agent for Josh Childress, said he and his client will arrive in Milwaukee Thursday to meet with Bucks officials.


"He is exporing whatever opportunities that are available to him in the NBA,'' Tanner said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "We've received a number of calls about him from NBA teams."
Brew Hoop comments:
The idea of pursuing outside free agents was basically a foreign concept to me for the past few months, so I haven't really even been talking about it. But now that the Bucks have some luxury tax breathing room it's once again an option--especially with Charlie V gone and Ramon Sessions' future up in the air. One intriguing possibility is former Hawks' swingman Josh Childress, whom Woelfel reports was in town today. It seems like ages ago that I harbored vague and in retrospect comical dreams of using Jamaal Magloire as bait to pry Childress from the big man-starved Hawks, but in reality that was just three years ago. Hey, Magloire wasn't that bad at the time.

Combining efficient scoring with the length to be a disruptive defender, Childress could either start at small forward or be a killer sixth man at both the big guard and three. He's still technically the Hawks' RFA, but with Bibby and Marvin Williams also in free agency it's possible the Hawks could let him walk for a full MLE deal (the most the Bucks could offer) or more. Or he can play another year in Greece.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

First and Final Summer League Post

There are only two summer leagues this year: Orlando and Vegas. Only three teams aren't fielding a squad of rookies and free agents for either event: Miami, Charlotte, and Atlanta. New Jersey and Philadelphia are splitting a team in Orlando. Oklahoma City has a team in both events. Mario West and Solomon Jones still received qualifying offers.

Free Agency: Opening Day

To be updated throughout the day as warranted...
*Seriously, at this point the former's presence on the roster can't be excused by the team trying to wring ever bit of quasi-legitimacy out of a terrible draft pick (by the previous GM no less) and the latter's presence can't be blamed on the organization being cheap. At some point, the organization's inability to recognize and acquire NBA-caliber talent will be the only plausible explanation for the dire condition of the end of the bench. I'd rather the Hawks spend the money on Leon Powe's rehab.