It's a fair desire, but I have to ask how you propose that be done? Who on this roster (other than the productive and reasonably priced Al Horford and Josh Smith) would any other NBA team want for themselves?
- The one-dimensional starting point guard owed another $6.4 million next season?
- The injured and aging starting shooting guard in possession of a brand-new $123 million contract?
- The injured and disappointing starting small forward owed almost $25 million over the next three seasons?
So that leaves you with trying to improve the team by bartering Jamal Crawford* or Jeff Teague** or Mo Evans. Given the Hawks' record with second-round picks, I don't see moving any of those leading to significant improvement.
*There's still time to deal him. Some team might suffer an injury and the backcourt and be interested in bringing him on for the stretch run.
**Sacramento might have interest in him but the Hawks have constructed their roster in such a way that trading Teague (who's two coaches deep in disillusionment) for frontcourt depth could actually make the team worse at the point.
Who's to blame? Rick Sund gets his share of blame and he deserves* some of that. But it's a fair question how much power he has. He didn't choose the head coach. It's unclear how much of the effort to re-sign Joe Johnson was instigated by Sund and how much was Sund carrying out the wishes of his bosses. He's shown no (useful) imagination in filling out the bench but, again, how much of that is his work and how much is it due to the ownership's fondness for familiar names. If Sund is prone to having his decisions overruled and if he knows, as he must, that ASG won't fire him and pay two general managers for even part of a season what's his motivation to do more than cash the checks until his contract runs out and let ownership's next fourth- or fifth-choice general manager candidate attempt to clean up their mess. It's not admirable behavior, but it's understandable.
*Losing Josh Childress for nothing should be a horrible embarrassment.
The key problems for this team are organizational and they begin with ownership. There is no reason to believe that this is not, from Joe Johnson to Jason Collins, exactly the roster that ownership wants. Until ownership changes*, this team will have fundamental limitations. Limitations that Rick Sund can't transcend, that Larry Drew can't transcend, that Al Horford can't transcend. This a 45-win team with no cap flexibility until the Summer of 2014. They don't have a stockpile of draft picks or a history of scouting success to mitigate that lack of flexibility. Ownership has quite willingly saddled themselves to stagnation on the court, cut corners off the court, and the financial result for them will be, at best, stagnation.
*Either the makeup of ownership or their behavior.