Hawking hour

The longed-for, prayed-against NBA Free Agency period starts up as soon as you can say tomorrow’s here. The Hawks, as is their way in these types of things, are just good enough to be completely forgotten. They will not end up with a big-name free agent unless that “big-name” is the one that nobody in Atlanta seems to want anymore.

The needs are the same that they’ve been: Another scorer/leader,[1] an actual big man that isn’t named “Zaza,”[2] and a point guard.

Scorer/Leader

Joe Johnson has two bad options. Option 1: Re-sign with Atlanta. Option 2: Sign somewhere else.[3]

If he signs with Atlanta, he will make the most money David Stern allows his employees to make. Reports say it’s going to be around six years and $119 million. All other teams can only offer him around five years and $92 million. I have no idea what you do with $27 million when you already have $92 million so if I was him, I’d be looking at signing elsewhere. Then again, I won’t have that much cash.

Leaving would give Joe a better chance of winning. The Hawks’ ownership will not spend the money to win a championship. They probably don’t have it.[4] If he goes to New York, New Jersey, Dallas or somehow finds a way to finagle himself into the Lebron-Wade-Bosh superteam, he has a better chance than the .00001 per cent chance of the Hawks’ championship scenario outlined below.

If/when he doesn’t re-sign, the Hawks will be without their top player and one of the top-20 players in the NBA. It’s that simple. They will not win as many games. They may not make the playoffs. They will lose. It appears the Hawks have begun preparing for this with the drafting of Jordan Crawford and the offer sheet to Josh Childress. Together, those three may be able to get us in the playoffs, but that will probably be it.

Big Man

Al Horford can only be a 6’10” center[5] for so long before teams realize he’s not actually going to lead a team to a ‘ship. He can put up 15-10 forever, but Dwight Howard will go for 20-15 and beat him.[6] Zaza isn’t the answer because he’s too inconsistent and isn’t nearly as funny playing 30 minutes a game as his current 12.

The bad part here is that there are so few big men to be had. No free agents are out there except for the equally under-sized Carlos Boozer who we can’t afford anyway.[7] The most likely scenario to bringing in a center involves a sign-and-trade sending Joe to Dallas and bringing in Dampier/Haywood.[8] So we’re probably not going to get a big man.

Point Guard

It’ll probably be a couple years before we’re able to bring in our Brazilian owners and Ronaldinho so until then…

The two point men we have now are either too old or too young. It pains me to watch Bibby move side-to-side. It’s what I would imagine an old, blind, three-legged dog chase a cat that isn’t old, blind, nor missing a leg. Teague just hasn’t figured out the league yet. I think he will, but he doesn’t have it yet.

The End Game

The worst part of the Hawks’ situation is that no matter what they do, it will not matter. They will not be better than the Magic.[9] They won’t be playing the same game as whatever teams end up with multiple of the big stars.[10] So happy hunting, Mr. Sund.


[1] After the advances brought on by Jamal Crawford in the scoring department, it turns out they got no further in the playoffs.

[2] Because a man named “Zaza” will win an Oscar before an NBA championship, and unless he’s Ben Wallace, championship centers aren’t 6’9”. I don’t care how energetic they are.

[3] OK, so those are the same two options that all free agents have, but they look a lot worse when they’re put like that.

[4] Then again, that could mean the Hawks are about to get sold to a Brazilian oil tycoon billionaire who would pay lawyers to have the NBA salary cap ruled illegal because it goes against free market systems the US economy is based on, bring in Ronaldinho to play the point, and turn Phillips Arena into a club on non-game nights. Possibly on game nights, too.

[5] And I don’t believe he’s 6’10”.

[6] It’s called a physical limitation.

[7] Oh, yeah, even after we lose Joe, we’ll have about $8-10 million to spend.

[8] Netting Caron Butler, Beaubois, maybe Josh Howard and a No. 1 and getting rid of Marvin would make this worth it.

[9] The Magic don’t have any of their main-rotation guys eligible for free agency.

[10] If the Heat get Lebron-Wade-Bosh, the NBA will end. That will be torture. Every NBA team will sell 25,000 tickets to the game when they’re in town and 351 when they’re not. The other 39 home games won’t matter.

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