Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Free Agency: Go Time

Well, the votes are in--and the Hawks have elected to tender Marvin Williams, Josh Childress, Solomon Jones, and Mario West as presented here earlier in the day. This leaves Thomas Gardner and Othello Hunter as unrestricted free agents.

Marvin's tendering was no surprise--the team definitely wants to control things while they decide whether to extend/match him, trade him, or let him sign and play out his tender, leaving him unrestricted next season.

The Josh Childress move was also expected, as they would like to get something for him if he wants to rejoin the NBA and he costs them nothing (either cap or otherwise) if he plays overseas again next season.

What was less expected were the tenders of Solomon Jones and Mario West. Under CBA rules, the Hawks had to present a contract for a million dollars to each of them, above the approximate 770K they played for last season. That the Hawks felt so compelled to grant this raise and not let them take their chances as unrestricted free agents was surprising, given that their production was sub-par by any statistical measurement. It already hurts to have good guy Mo Evans getting paid 2.5 million for his less than average statistical achievements (PER 11.1), but to grant .6 million extra in cap space to two guys who the HHB believes would have a hard time finding a roster spot elsewhere, much less more than the minimum grinds the salary cap gears even more. If we were Jones and West, we'd sign those tenders immediately--before the Hawks changed their minds--but the HHB has been wayyy wrong before.

What else we learned on Tuesday:

We learned that Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur are not simply dumb jocks---they took their 12.3 and 9.0 million respectively and decided to stay put for one more year--until the cap friendly Summer of 2010. This puts the Jazz precariously close to luxury tax territory and having to make a tough choice on their own restricted free agent, Paul Millsap.

Our buddy, Ric Bucher, was kind to the Hawks today (Insider required) as he listed the ATL as potential fits for free agents Ben Gordon and Anderson Varejao, who opted out of his contract today and become a free agent. We had to laugh and agree with Bucher's assessment of Gordon as a fit for the Hawks, since they are stockpiling isolation scorers in Joe Johnson, Jamal Crawford, and first round pick Jeff Teague, of whom the HHB has likened to Gordon in style and scoring. The Hawks won't get him since after all the Hawks own free agents and Teague is signed, there will likely be nothing more than the exception to work with, and that won't get it for Gordon, even if the Hawks were interested.

Varejao is a classic overstated role player who dipped in rebounding rate last season. He's a mid-level guy who sounds like he believes he is much more like Carlos Boozer. He's not.

Looks like Jason Kidd is going to make a date with the New York Knicks in an attempt to get the Dallas Mavericks jealous and pay him. He's a better fit with Dallas due to Dirk and JT and the Dallas offense than in New York but we'd sure like a point guard like him in Atlanta.

An interesting player that will be available as a potential Zaza replacement is Orlando's Marcin Gortat, who was very productive in a backup role behind Dwight Howard. His rebounding rates are similar to Pachulia, but his shot blocking rate is far higher, which always enthuses the HHB galleries. It remains to be seen if the lesser experienced Gortat receives less lucrative offers than Zaza, but we would like to see another shot blocker up front--should almost be a pre-requisite of the center position.

Related to free agency, Detroit ran Michael Curry out after one season as head coach, ostensibly to be able to sell the team better to free agents (seems odd to create chaos to ensure stability). Debating whether he deserved to go in light of GM Joe Dumars (isn't it obvious the Pistons are about him and no coach) ripping out Chauncey Billups, bringing in Allen Iverson, and alienating Rip Hamilton is irrelevant---don't you think Mike Woodson is happy he chose Atlanta instead of "waiting his turn" in Detroit?

As Dominique once told the HHB, that's why he'd never coach. He said "Coaches come and go--and the executives stay." So true.

Here is an updated list of free agents for 2009 with their corresponding PER (Hawks players in bold) and will be updated regularly:
Free Agents (restricted)PER
David Lee (RFA)19.07
Nate Robinson (RFA)18.95
Paul Millsap (RFA)18.77
Andre Miller18.71
Charlie Villanueva
Chris Anderson
Ramon Sessions (RFA)17.65
Marcin Gortat (RFA)
Ben Gordon
Jason Kidd16.95
Hakim Warrick (RFA)
Antonio McDyess16.63
Lamar Odom16.60
Brandon Bass16.49
Mike Bibby16.38
Drew Gooden16.34
Marvin Williams (RFA) 16.04
Shawn Marion16.02
Allen Iverson15.89
Ron Artest15.64
Trevor Ariza15.51
Grant Hill15.26
Rasheed Wallace14.91
Hedo Turkoglu14.82
Von Wafer14.79
Anderson Varajao14.62
Rasho Nesterovic14.15
Zaza Pachulia14.14
Joe Smith13.85
Raymond Felton (RFA)13.80
Shelden Williams13.78
Chris Wilcox13.37
Jarrett Jack (RFA)13.10
Wally Szczerbiak12.18
Anthony Parker12.16
Solomon Jones (RFA)
Robert Swift11.50
Theo Ratliff11.22
Glen Davis (RFA)10.77
Raef Lafrentz10.40
Channing Frye
Mario West (RFA)
Ime Udoka
Stromile Swift6.80
Malik Rose5.28


CoCo said...

I am probably going to have nothing to add until our roster is complete. There's just too much to process.

thirdfalcon said...

It's not that hard Coco, here's my guide to commentating on the Hawks off-season in 6 easy steps.

Step 1. Pick a free-agent point guard that you like

Step 2. Pick a free-agent backup big man (or two) that you like

Step 3. Say that if they don't sign the players you want, Woodson and/or Sund should be fired

Step 4. Rip the team when they go with someone else.

Step 5. ??????

Step 6. Profit!!!

btw, I'm gonna go ahead and take credit for Bucher saying good things about the Hawks. He must of read my comment the other day and said to himself, "oh my god!, I'm a raging douche! Better say something nice about the Hawks!."

Jason Walker said...

CoCo, who do you want to keep/sign?

Jason Walker said...

TF, I thought I heard a hint of fear in Ric's timbre---well done, sir!

CoCo said...

@TF Thanks! I'll take that under advisement.

@THHB I want to keep Za Za and Marvin for sure. Jamal can take Flip's place on the bench as far as I'm concerned. We need to find a point guard who has no interest in shooting, but who is a great passer because there's only one ball and we already have enough players who are shot happy. I want to lose Mike Woodson......... I also just want to apologize to Al in advance. I'll actually do that on my blog eventually. As far as who I'd like to sign, let me get back to you shortly. Gotta look at that free agent list again.

Jason Walker said...

I am obviously with you on Al--There has been a threat of a "Free Al Horford" entry here on the HHB, but it may just end up being the slogan for the entire season.

Unknown said...

can I just say this - none of this matters based on who is coaching us. So, you have to put them in categories - players that will help us if Woodson isn't coach and players who will help us if Woodson is coach.

My best candidates for 'if Woodson is the coach' are: Kidd, McDyess, Gortat and Andre Miller. Those guys would be able to run the team without regard to Woodson's system. As Woodson said for Bibby, I'll let him run things. That's what would happen - I'd trust those guys to RUN the offense.

My other candidates for non-Woodson coaching are: Milsap, Rasheed (with a REALLY strong coach he respects), Childress.

But let's be clear - I have no confidence that this team will be a factor in the playoffs as long as Woodson is coach. So, making judgments on our current or future players is useless until then.

Jason Walker said...


How was your birthday?

I am looking at these moves through the prism of the front office--not on the court. They have already told me it's more of the same next year by stockpiling players that fit into the "offense" that we run. Fine. We get it. Isolation Acceleration. We know that this doesn't scale against good defenses, so we right back where we were last season, playoff bound, but stuck if we play a good defense.

Now, it is nice to follow along this offseason in the event that the team can make some moves that might augment things should the script flip and we do get a new--ummm--philosophy--after this season. You know?