Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Truth (and nothing but)...

Well, I waited all week to hear the perspectives of the Hawks and their fans and bloggers and writers regarding why the Hawks aren't involved in any trade talks at the deadline.

To hear EVERYONE tell it, we'd compromise our core, we're set for the playoffs, or some other nonsense. Well, I knew it was a reason I started this blog...and that's to tell the TRUTH - straight!

The Hawks are not involved in trade talks for 2 reasons:

1. Our ownership is not willing to invest more money in a team that is still working at a deficit (and from a business perspective - I don't blame a fan who wants a title - I 100% blame them.)

2. Our fan base and organization is going to be happy as long as the Hawks win the first round and compete in the 2nd round.

Now, let me go ahead and say it - I believe Rick Sund would make phone calls and get us in the Amare, Jamison, Camby, etc races to get us some help. These conversations about upsetting chemistry and we got enough right now and all that are bunk...if the Cavs, Celtics (in past years), Blazers, Lakers (in past years) all felt the need while sporting some of the best records in the league decided that they could get better by signing a player - you can rest assured that the Hawks damn sure can add talent to bolster their chances at winning a title. In a season where our 'depth' has turned into Jamal, Zaza, some Mo, and not much else - you can be sure...talent would be welcomed here.

So, I say all that to say - I believe GM Sund would do it if he could. But he knows that we're not able to do anything with our ownership's pocketbooks. If we could we'd sign 2 more players and let Teague and Hunter and RandyMo play in the D League. If we could, we'd know that Camby would have helped our frontcourt defense/rebounding issues. If we could, we'd add Jamison to provide us a player with real low post moves. If we COULD!, but we can't...not we don't want to, not we think this team is set to win a title. We ALL know let's dispense with the conversations to the contrary.

The second point and one that I think is more damning and that's that - we don't REALLY think we're going to make noise in the playoffs. Now, as a fan, I demand that we do everything we can to win a title, but that's not what I hear from anyone in this organization - that winning an NBA title is the goal. It wasn't until midseason that I heard anything about trying to get the top 2 seeds in the league, very little about winning the division. Most of our discussion is about keeping 11 other teams behind us and trying to make the Big 3...the Big 4 (us being 4th), so now we actually think we can be 3rd or 2nd in the pecking order. But the organization and the fans don't REALLY believe that. They may say they do now after 50+ games, but they really would be happy to compete well in the 2nd round of the playoffs. That's the goal for the season - anything else is gravy. And when that's the goal and nothing has happened that makes you think that's in jeopardy (save the fact that if we do have to play the Cavs or Magic and we haven't improved a bit...we've looking at a 4-5 game round 2 loss), then you don't make a move that may cost you some money now or maybe some upside in your players later.

And this all could be the way to play it. We're a LeBron James move and year more grizzle on the Celtics and Joe Johnson re-signed at reasonable price away from being in a Big 2. So, I'll trust in Rick Sund's ability to keep us where we are or inch us up a tad in the offseason, but let's all keep it 100.

We're not doing anything, not because we don't need to, not because we're totally hamstrung, but because ownership isn't going to pony up and because the fans and organization are happy with the season and will be happy as long as we win another playoff series. That's all - now off to watch the Hawks/Clippers...


CoCo said...

I think the problem is the Hawks just don't have the contracts and in the NBA the money has to match. Plus, everyone is in "clear cap space for the summer of 2010" mode so they're not willing to take on more than a year. And, all of the pieces the Hawks have that are interesting to people, the Hawks can ill afford to move. They aren't moving Josh, Al, Jamal or Joe and Marvin's contract is reasonable, but not during the clearing cap space year. The money in the NBA has to match, so there's no way the Hawks can get a Marcus Camby. They don't have the contracts.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

In many ways you're right, but my point is that - these guys have structured it that way. We won't even consider players who are going to get waived for depth. I wouldn't mind a little Brian Cardinal instead of Mario West. I wouldn't mind a Big Z when he gets bought out...these are things that we aren't going to even consider and that's all I'm really saying. They'd make moves and try things IF they thought we care or if money wasn't the main thing.

CoCo said...

I really can't see Big Z signing with anyone except Cleveland, but I would like us to do something that would make the team better, but like Sund said if you trade an 8-12 guy, you're going to get an 8-12 guy and hell Woody doesn't play 8-12 guys anyway. If they're not going to make a move that will make us noticeably better, then they may as well not bother which is what I think is going on.

Anonymous said...

I had this same discussion with a friend of mine the other day. His thoughts were that if you are not trying to win a championship year in and year out then you are not trying.

While I can see his point because if you spend money on a team you have to hope that they are doing everything to win. It is frustrating when you see these other teams upgrading and they are already in front of you in the standings.

The debate is do you go for broke and jeopardize the future for a chance at winning now. When does the future become now? It is a tough question. Personally I would like to see the Hawks become consistent winners before throwing all the chips in and trying to win a championship. The bad thing is you may have to sell out to ever get the fan base to fully support the team.

The Casey said...

To me, Marvin's the only real trade piece we've got that would bring back anything we want. The problem with trading him for a big is that then you have to come up with another wing player from somewhere. You don't really want Josh playing the three; you need his presence down low. And if you start Mo Evans, you need another wing player on the bench (unless you're Mike Woodson, because then you think Mario West can be a key contributor on a championship team).

So, really, you're looking at a Marvin-for-another wing player trade, which is likely going to be a wash. Igoudala and Richard Jefferson are reportedly on the block, but a straight-up trade isn't getting either of them. I wouldn't mind either one of them, not just for this year, but as insurance in case Joe doesn't re-sign; but not enough to sell the farm. In the end, I think any move the Hawks could make would end up being a move just for the sake of making a move, so I'm not expecting anything here.

CoCo said...

I definitely know money is an issue with this group, but I don't think that money is the primary reason they aren't doing anything in this instance. Well, at least not because they're being cheap. (although only having a 13 man roster clearly shows they are cheap) They just don't have the contracts. Marvin's contract has some clause this season that they can only take back a salary that's worth half of Marv's contract or some crap like that, so even though he is the most expendable player any move you make concerning him is going to be a lateral move so why bother?

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

I think Kris is getting closer to my point. You guys are worried about the activity that we should be undertaking today in practical terms and I am saying I agree that we probably don't have much wiggle room. Here's my specific point...who thought Memphis would give away Pau Gasol? Who thought the Wizards would give away their entire team at the beginning of the season? Last season, there were all kinds of buyout guys. My point is that we're NEVER in the discussion. How do I know that I don't want Kevin Martin over Joe Johnson until we talk about what the cost really is?

I think we are so worried about guys being miffed about being in trade talks that we don't even try. I don't care if Joe Johnson is upset that I shopped him to see what he can bring back. I don't care if Marvin is upset that we are thinking about moving him since he's not performing - same for Bibby or anyone else to just see how we make this team and in the future. So, my point is that my 2 reasons speak to the point that we aren't ever really exploring ways to make us BETTER. You think the Cavs needed Jamison to win a title. I don't, but hey - if they can get better they will. Same for the Celtics - you think they are sitting around waiting to get beat by us 4 more, they said - go get SOMEONE who can beat the Hawks (enter Nate Robinson).

That's my point - we KNOW we can't beat the Magic and we've done nothing and my only explanation for that is that we are resigned to the fact that the $ aren't there AND/OR we are gonna be pleased (not thrilled, but pleased) with making the 2nd round. Anything else is gravy. That's the point i was trying to make. Maybe I didn't do a good job since I got Lang questioning me, but I think if y'all are honest - we aren't even trying to be creative about how to make this team a contender now.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Final thought - I'm certain about this much...the window for titles don't open for long. We are a Joe Johnson leaving w/ no decent fill in and a Josh gun pull in the locker room away from having the whole thing blow up and THAT'S why I just say that while I trust Rick Sund - I think more is at play. You can't convince me that this organization thinks we're a real NBA title contender as we are currently rostered and if that's the case - inaction means we are content with what we got and where it will leave us.


Anonymous said...

I think there is a lot more commentary about trades and offers that go on behind the scenes. Rick Sund told us during our meeting with him that no we weren't in any substantial trade talks that the time around the All Star Break was an important time for throwing ideas out there. I think these guys talk a lot and discuss a lot of different things that just never leak out.

Typically trades like the Pau Gasol trade don't happen. I mean we can't expect to get a Kevin Martin, Amare Stoudamire, or Chris Bosh without giving up something substantial for it. Camby was the only one that was reachable I thought with spare parts and the Clippers still ended up getting two decent players in return for him.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

I hear you, Kris. I won't doubt that what you're saying doesn't have some legs regarding guys always having conversations, but let's just be honest - you haven't heard the Hawks involved in ANY serious trade talks since Billy Knight left town. And most of those were about clearing cap room or getting draft picks.

Bibby was the first trade made to make us better. Crawford was the next one and that fell in our laps. And all I'm trying to get across at this stage is that we need more. All the teams that are reaching for the brass ring are looking and discussing what they need to get better except us. We're the only team acting like (from the GM, coach, and players) we have enough right now when it's 100% clear that we DON'T.

So, I'm just saying we all should be saying what Joe kinda alluded to and that's that - hey, all those other teams are trying to get pieces to make themselves better and we ain't, so we gotta try to try harder, do more, or whatever to make up for that. OR just resign ourselves to that fact that this ain't our year. My logical mind says - let's just be honest and tell the truth - we are not expecting to win the division, the East, or the NBA. We'd be happy if it happened (I mean George Mason did go to the Final Four), but honestly - it's not and so let's work from that construct. that's what I'm taking from all of this. As a fan, I'm hoping for the best, but you can't convince me that ANYONE believes we are built to win anything more than one series this year. That's not a criticism - that's the reality I'm working with. Do you guys really disagree with that?

CoCo said...

I agree with you Luv. I honestly do think Rick Sund and the boys will be fine with a second round appearance. You know I am one of the few people who like you is not terrified of Joe leaving. I just don't view him as irreplaceable like most Hawks fans seem to. I think ownership is just as sentimental about Joe as some of the fans are and they're going to probably offer him way too much money because of it. I would have dangled him out there, but as Sund told us, they've structured other contracts and etc to put themselves into position to re-sign him. They're ready to hitch their wagon to Joe for another five years due to fear of the unknown. At least that's how I see it.

The Casey said...

The only way the Hawks are winning more than one series is if they don't face ORL or CLE in the second round due to seeding or upsets. A series against BOS is no lock, either.

The other concern I would have about making a major trade is how Coach Woodson would deal with it. If we did trade Joe for more of a spot-up kind of shooter, would we still run the same offense, or would we change things up to take advantage of the new pieces? As frustrated as we get with Iso-Joe, I think it's better than Iso-Kevin Martin. So a lack of confidence in Coach Woodson could also hinder trading opportunities.

And I agree with you, CoCo. I wouldn't mind trading for a 2 or a 3 that's a proven scorer and trying to go with more of a full-team approach, with Jamal being your 4th-quarter takeover guy when you need him.

CoCo said...

Yeah the coach is a whole other problem that needs addressing. And, if we're going to spend the next 4-5 years with this core group of guys then they need to find a guy that can get the most out of them. A guy who isn't afraid to reign Joe in when he's out there taking terrible shots and etc.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Well, this is why I started Hawk Str8Talk - we've been so happy to see the Hawks flying with the big dogs - I can't tell you how often I go to the standings section of ESPN right now or to the Power Rankings to see where we sit - that I think we take a defensive approach to upsetting the apple cart.

I'm simply saying at this juncture - do we have a path to a NBA title as presently constituted this season? If not, is there something we can do now? That answer is probably no, but if the first answer is - we need more pieces, then my point is when are looking for those pieces cuz other teams are working on that part NOW. They aren't waiting for Joe to get old or Josh to bloom more or Al to get more post moves. So, I don't want euphoria of having a winning team to usurp the only goal in my mind and that's 'can this team, this coach, and this management team win the title?' Any component that isn't helping that needs to be looked at for an upgrade.

And my total point is that I don't see us looking at the very least - we may not find it right now, but if no one thinks we're looking, then why bother with us? It's kinda like the point where people say no free agents would sign with us...well, why the hell not? Atlanta is in the top 5 places ANY NBA player would live, so why wouldn't they want to play here. Who bought into that theory? It was true 95% because we sucked, but now - why aren't we in the LeBron, Wade, etc discussion if Joe doesn't want to take our $15M last year...far as I'm concerned that's a problem and it's one I plan to explore at the next Blogger night.

RivBoatGambler said...

I would certainly dangle JJ and Bibby for a top PG and less skilled defensive guard. Josh and Al are the future of this team given their youth and upside with a reasonable salary. I would like to judge Marvin this time nest year.

If the CBA introduces a harder cap it is time to stick with youth and talent. In two years, advantage Hawks.

Next year Jamal might be in the same boat JJ is in depending on what he thinks he is worth. We need to get something in return for the experienced talent.

I want a Hawks team to be able to compete for the next 5 years rather than resign older vets who have a real possibility of serious decline in two to three years with 6 year contracts.

The best thing that can happen is winning a second round playoff series and then trading JJ/Jamal and while their value is peaking.

If there is no new hard cap the owners have shown to spend as much as they can and even lose money in the process. JJ/Jamal/Al, we will not be able to afford them all.

Of course for those who want us to go into the cap and spend 93 million like the Lakers, please cut the check. Only cost you 23 milion a year. Get-er-Done. Forgot to add the millions in return for being under the cap. Make that 27 million.

Anonymous said...

I get what you are saying and I think it is disappointing as a fan if you fell like your team isn't trying to win a championship. My opinion is I don't think the owners think we are in all out mode yet. I believe the goal right now is to build a consistent winner which if you really think about it is about money. If the team is winning then it will make more money.

The Joe Johnson thing, and I don't want to come across as being all out sold on Joe. I like Joe, but I also realize his limitations. I came away from our meeting with Sund more positive that Joe Johnson will be back in Atlanta than I have been. I think that is about keeping the team at the level it is currently on. Might not be the move to get us to a championship but at the same time I don't know if there is a move out there that you make that will get you there overnight. Those Garnett and Gasol trades just don't come along often.

Now this has me curious because I have asked myself this question many times and it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with what we have been talking about here, but if not Joe then who? If we let Joe walk or sign and trade who do we want back? I want realistic ideas here. D-Wade isn't coming because we can't afford him even if Joe isn't here. My fear is Joe walking or letting Joe walk and having to fall back on a Ray Allen for a year. There is no way this team will be better next year if that happens.

The tough part is, personally I don't want to see us fall back. Maybe a step backwards is necessary to move forward.

The Casey said...

If not Joe, then how about a PG and let Jamal start at the 2? Having said that, I don't know who's available in the free agent market, and the Hawks don't have a lot of money regardless.

Anonymous said...

Casey that is a viable option, but does it make us better? Jamal has been huge for the team coming off of the bench. Probably depends on who the Point Guard is.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Well, I'm always loathe to do the who part because that's just too subjective and causes too many debates about the viability of said trades, but I come back to my point, say - don't say D Wade...I say why not D Wade...if D Wade doesn't come back, why not try a sign and trade with Joe and some player who has value. Would I trade Joe and say Josh Smith for Michael Beasley and D Wade. YES!!!!! I'd really tear up at losing Josh, but for D Wade - I'm taking him in a nanosecond.

Or if they'd take Marvin - that's all the better. Is that a step backward record-wise? Maybe, but the upside is too great to pass up and so, to the point, is that going to happen? I don't know, but I know that this concept that has us on the sidelines during an offseason when the best collection of talent I've ever seen just seems ludicrous to me. For the first time, I'm wishing I was in the Knicks position or the Bulls position over ours. They have a piece or two AND the ability to sign players who can win titles. We are hoping that we can do a Detroit Piston like deal.

So, I know I didn't answer your question, but I'm also saying - Joe Johnson is not LeBron James or anywhere close. He's closer to Michael Redd than D Wade and you how quickly Michael Redd fell out of style. That's why I think we shouldn't be hitching our wagon to a fear of life without Joe. We should be looking for ANY opportunity to make our team better and to me, that really starts with us looking for a point guard who runs an offense. I want a point guard who dictates the flow of play. The only way that I'd like our point guard play is if he was giving the ball to LBJ, D Wade, or Kobe. Those are the only three guys who can make work what we try to make work to championship effect with Joe Johnson. Getting away from that offense and our coach would do wonders in my mind.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

And to be clear - the reason we had 10 years of bad basketball started with the fact that we were tired of having a ceiling of 2nd round playoff loss. Nothing has changed in my mind on that - if we don't track toward having a ceiling of championship - then something has to change. right now, i'm not for changing for change sake, but I am for keep making moves until you have a ceiling of championship and if you have the right management, your mistakes are dwarfed by your successes.

The only reason we aren't farther along is because our successes (like Horford and Smith) were mitigated or eliminated by missing on Paul, D. Williams, and B. Roy. If that didn't happen, blowing it up would have been well worth it. That's why the Knicks have sucked - they said...let's get a coach and just live with terrible ball for 2-3 years. And it looks like that strategy is the right one to me. Their ceiling is more championship like by the day. Ours - not so much...

Anonymous said...

Let me be the first to say if we could get D-Wade I would be first to do it. If we had Wade to go along with Smith and Horford then I don't think we would see any drop off record wise. I am no salary expert but we have Joe's bird rights and wouldn't have that with Wade. Now if I am wrong about that then please correct me because I would like to know. I don't see them doing anyone doing a sign and trade for Wade. If you have Wade then you keep him.

I value Joe slightly ahead of Michael Redd but I can see the comparison. Let me be clear I don't want to give Joe the max either. We might not regret it at the beginning of his contract but we will by the end. I just want a viable plan B. Crawford would probably have to be that but I don't see that as keeping us at the level we are now.

The gap between being really good and a true championship contender is very large in my opinion. I think it would almost at the juncture take getting a Wade, or LeBron to get the Hawks in that conversation. I think Orlando is in that conversation because of Howard. I just don't see any of those being options for the Hawks.

Anonymous said...

Also to be clear I agree with you on the 10 year rebuilding because we were tired of our ceiling being the 2nd round of the playoffs.

That to me is the debate, do you do it the Spurs way or do you go the route of what Detroit did? Both of those teams won championships so it is a stretch to compare but one has stuck with its nucleus and is now getting old and the other blew itself up when it probably could have stayed in the playoffs a few more years if they had kept Billups.

I said in that earlier post that I thought only a few teams were true contenders. Those teams had Howard, Lebron, and Kobe. Miami has fallen from that level but Wade can left a guy there. I think a guy like Chris Paul can get you there. You are right we missed out on that one. Maybe a Brandon Roy one day. My point is those aren't guys that you can just trade for without gutting your team.

Great discussion, two sides of the coin. You want a championship and I want a consistent winner. I would like to think you could win a championship having a consistent winner but The Pistons are really the only said team to have done so without a quote "superstar" on the team.

Anonymous said...

One more thing and I am going to answer my own question. The player I want and the one that I feel we need to keep a constant eye on is Chris Paul. I don't know how we would get him and I am not sure what it would cost, but this is another cornerstone.

If that situation in New Orleans goes bad and Paul wants out then we need to act. The problem is I can't with a straight face say that we could get him without giving up Smith or Horford. But if something along the lines of a signed Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams would work then I would be all over that.

That said, that is a pipe dream and is what I call fantasy basketball. I try not to get into that too much when discussing the team.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Well, don't get me wrong - I don't WANT to go back to losing, but I'm not scared of losing again for a season or two or of being 44-38 to get us to the brass ring. I'd be happy if we just got a real coach. I'd be excited to see what a Van Gundy could do with us, so this isn't a point to say that I want to go back to watching sorry Hawk games, but my point is that - I've done that for 10 years and I still revel in the years when I saved my money, got on MARTA, and watched Dominique from the top levels to see us almost beat Celtic teams of yesteryear.

So, I think we're closer on this than you think. My point is simply that I don't think our approach is an approach that gets you to a title (and that approach being that we aren't going to invest in a coach) and we won't open any avenue (and that's not a this year thing...we could have let Marvin walk last year - we could have let Bibby walk, we could have let Zaza walk, we could have not traded for Jamal, so we could have the Craig Claxton contract on the books as an expiring contract) to get us to getting that star.

So, that's my point. Everyone is so thrilled about Jamal the 6th man. What if we had Joe and Jamal's money coming off the books THIS season - there's your D Wade, LeBron money with better pieces in the front court. So, that's my point - are we thinking about a championship, seriously?

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

as for Paul, honestly - if we have to give up Horford or Smith and Joe for Paul...again, I'd do it in a nanosecond. I love both guys, but that's what we have to do to get to the next level. Then, you put role pieces around Paul/Josh or Paul/Horford - I'd be thrilled.

Anonymous said...

I completely see what you are saying. Paul is the one that I want that I think could become obtainable in the near future. I am not sure at what cost but New Orleans is going no where.