Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hawks Free Agency, Take One

UPDATE: According to Sekou Smith (you da man!), Zaza Pachulia will be back and richer than ever:

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.
Considering Marcin Gortat is slated to pull a full MLE deal (approx 5yr/33mil), one might think a deal that is four years for Zaza, might be in the 20-22 million dollar range.

UPDATE 2: The article now says it's 4 years, 18 million---not really all that significant an increase, though the HHB would take 2 million and ask no questions.

(We now resume our previous post---already in progress)


Today's the day.

It's the day when rumor become reality, when verbals go written, and a player's word become their bond, legally. For the Hawks it means the official beginning to one of their busier free agency seasons in recent years.

The Hawks have already reached an "oral agreement" for a 3 year, 18 million dollar deal for Mike Bibby. (Thank you, Sekou!)

The HHB signs off on this move as we discussed in an eye-popping table yesterday. For this offense, flawed as we may believe it is, Bibby is a really good fit. His ability to run the team, determine tempo, and understand where the ball should go meshes well with his ability to hit the long ball. His defense is not good, that's for sure, but given the alternative of not having anybody else who can do the things that Mike does, we're sure glad to have him back.

Bibby's signing might mean the end of the RFM era in Atlanta, but we don't know for sure. Murray was on his way to Russia when obtained for one million dollars last summer, and while we were sure his consistent, productive season (a near 15 PER) was going to land him a multi year deal somewhere, if not ATL, we haven't heard his name mentioned in many discussions around the league and in the media corners. Would or should the Hawks crowd the backcourt even more should Murray be availble for the same bargain basement price? His own history suggests last season was a needle in his career haystack--if there are fewer minutes would he go back to being wildly inconsistent? We would bet that Coach Woodson would welcome the veteran back, even with Jamal Crawford on board with a returning Bibby and Joe Johnson, but it would mean a season of non-playing for first round pick Jeff Teague, unless injury reared its head in front of him. After the non-playing of Acie Law, we're not pro on keeping more first rounders on the bench for long.

The only solution we could get behind that would potentially keep Teague on the bench would be the return of Josh Childress to the Hawks. Would Childress risk staying in ATL if the Hawks match an offer sheet? We would really hope so, considering his productivity level was better every season as a Hawk and he was a good rebounder, especially offensively for a guard. But considering all the ill will of the past year, we're not going to hold our breath on this one---well, not for long anyway.

We have written about Zaza and the Hawks need to address the serious rebounding void there is on the team even with Pachulia and Al Horford on the roster. Not being able to resign Zaza means the Hawks have to bring (2) more big men in, not only replace the big fella. Zaza does two things really well statistically, as best we can tell---he gets to the free throw line and he can offensively rebound. He is a terrific backup center, capable of filling in on those nights when Horford is down or in foul trouble.

For the Hawks to be serious about moving forward next year while doing the same things they did last year, another big man must be procured using the MLE. We have already espoused the virtues of our two top targets, Antonio McDyess and Drew Gooden, as they would certainly address the rebounding woes from the power forward position, a place where the starter, Josh Smith, is below average for his position in rebounding rates. Those veterans could do a lot of good to mentor Smith on hustle and determination, especially McDyess, who by all accounts in Detroit is a consummate professional and whose attitude would continue to do good in the changing locker room. That could be a reason the Pistons are determined to get McDyess back and let Rasheed Wallace go to Boston. It would likely take a bold offer by the Hawks to bring him into the ATL.

Gooden seems like he's been around forever but is actually just entering his Age 28 season and has habitually been among the consistent rebounders in the league. It may not take as big a package to land him as it would McDyess because Gooden may be undervalued due to playing on many teams, having weird facial (and neckal) hair, and because rebounding simply isn't as valued an attribute as it should be.

Marvin Williams likely won't get much attention in the restricted market because teams figure the Hawks will match any reasonable offer for the forward. Folks have benchmarked Charlie Villanueva's rumored 5 year, 35-40 million deal as a ruler for a Marvin contract. Marvin has improved every season and has shown scoring ability, especially when Joe Johnson was sidelined, and he was second on the team in foul drawing rate (Pachulia). His good nature, hard work ethic, and abilities make the case that the Hawks would likely match an offer stand up. The qualifying offer is over 7 million dollars anyway--Marvin could sign it and take his chances next season as an unrestricted free agent.

All of which is to say that tomorrow officially gets the boat launched and away from the dock. We will see who is truly targeting whom and what the Hawks will do. Resigning Bibby is a good start, but not addressing the obvious rebounding deficits would be a costly mistake, especially should Pachulia be allowed to leave.

The HHB has the party favors and the Official Travelling Low Def Viewing Center ready for action--hopefully the good guys will oblige. Free agent thoughts, chips, and dip can be brought into the Comments Area.


thirdfalcon said...

I've been going back and forth on this, but do you think Marvin will sign for more than Charlie V?

I think Marvin is a better overall player, but Charlie scores more so he gets overvalued

Ron E. said...

The Hawks maybe could have turned themselves into serious championship contenders with bold moves this offseason. Instead they appear to have settled on bringing back as much of last year's team as possible and making small upgrades on the margin (Crawford over Murray, Teague over Law). And I can live with that. It should be a very entertaining to watch team that has a fair chance of advancing to the second round again depending on seeding.

Jason Walker said...


I think that something along those lines makes sense for Marvin, since the perception is that he isn't a game changer, much like Charlie V, but can definitely do some special things (like score) to win some games.


I'd like to see what we do with the MLE, but it was very clear from jump where the franchises head was at---more and more of the same, which will drive people like Larry @ str8talk c-razy!

thirdfalcon said...

I demand a PER sorted, color coded free agent list MEOW!!!


Jason Walker said...

TF, I hear ya! I was waiting until some free agents actually signed, which will occur soon since apparently the Mavericks, Raptors, and Magic are finishing up a whopper of a cap-induced 4-teamer with the Magic and Grizzlies.

Greg HOlan said...

color blinded men lol