Monday, June 29, 2009

Free Agency, Day (Minus) 1

The free agent discussion seems to have heated up all around the way, and the HHB was made aware of a couple of omissions from yesterday's free agent list. The list has been updated and will be kept up/tweaked along the way.

Free agency discussions begin legally among NBA teams and players Wednesday (that's July 1st for the calendar impaired) and Tuesday is the deadline for teams to tender qualifying offers to their restricted free agents.

What we learned Monday:

The headline, to the surprise of former Raptors GM Rob Babcock, was that Charlie Villanueva was not tendered by the Milwaukee Bucks, thereby leaving him open for signing elsewhere. Sekou Smith immediately informed the Twitter watchers (he's @sekousmith01, so follow him already) that CV31 was indeed on the Hawks radar, but we will expect that Charles will have a few places to choose from, and most of them playoff teams. With @CV31 so prevalent on Twitter, fans of every team has started campaigns to recruit the free agent elect to their town.

The Bucks did, however, tender Villanueva's soon-to-be former Buck-mate, Ramon Sessions, meaning that they retain the right of first refusal on the young PG. The HHB doubts you'll see a quick offer to Sessions, as teams are likely going to interpret the non-tender of CV31 and the opposite on Sessions to indicate they will match, much like the free agency of Josh Smith last summer. Teams don't want to tie up that money while the Bucks decide whether or not to match (up to seven days). Now, that doesn't mean that Sessions' camp won't say that the Bucks won't match, as they will want to try to get an offer when there are more teams in the mix for his service. Ah, we're so cynical here.

Isn't it nice when you see a front office quickly identifying what's needed and moving towards that goal? That's what we see in Portland's front office, as they have identified that what they need is a veteran upgrade at the point guard position. Jason Kidd and Andre Miller are the two names that have immediately jumped into the discussion. Smart, verrry smart.

We also heard that Toronto is interested in fulfilling the 5 year, 50 million dollar fantasies of Hedo Turkoglu. This might make sense if the Raptors were a player away and they knew Chris Bosh were staying, but signing Hedo to a 5 year deal going into his Age 30 season doesn't make a lot of sense in their current position.

As for the fits for the Hawks, while CV31 has already been identified by Sekou, we believe that Drew Gooden might be a better fit for the Hawks. We spoke highly of Gooden's production in our initial look at the free agents and now ESPN's Ric Bucher listed Gooden as a Top 20 free agent target (Insider req) and suggested that Gooden is "an above-average rebounder and can create shots for himself on the block" and suited for a team that needs a player who can "provide points when the offense bogs down and jumpers are not falling." Hello---that's a job listing for the Hawks right there. Now Bucher didn't list the Hawks as good fit for the forward, to which we objected with following Twitter salvo:

@RicBucher You've got to add the Hawks for Drew Gooden. A good rebounder who provides post offense when the shots aren't falling? Perfect.
to which Bucher graciously responded:

RicBucher@THHB Not a bad point. I just know Atl's not spending any $. 1M factors in the FA game. Tried to consider as many as I could.
Ouch--the truth (and our reputation) hurts.

Mark Bradley, who might soon be indicted as a Hawks fan if he keeps providing such good material about the team, speculated as to the Hawks free agent batting average after attending yesterday's Jamal Crawford presser. Bradley offered the following about free agent Zaza Pachulia:

Zaza is a tougher call. The rumor is that San Antonio is interested, and that’s a great organization. But the Hawks might even have a fallback there. If Zaza leaves, then the Australian power forward David Andersen, who played last season for Barcelona and whose NBA rights the Hawks hold, could well become a person of interest.
Now, it's a new day in the Hawks Front Office when we are actually discussing using some of our stored up assets for good use. The HHB filed this under (potential good news) just after we filed the Pachulia info under (Dang).

Oh, and the ATL was listed, at least in one place, to be a top 10 free agent destination. In your face, Shelbyville!


thirdfalcon said...

I'm so sick of hearing people in the media bash the Hawks. We were pretty close to the Luxury tax line last year which puts us in the same position as roughly 80% of the teams in the NBA.

Sure we Didn't spend much money when we were bad, but why spend allot of money when your not going to when anyway. That doesn't make the Hawks Cheap, it makes them Financially responsible. I'd like someone to give me one example of the hawks losing a player cause we were to cheap.

Jason Walker said...

Well--that's the buzz around the league about ownership, and you can bet that the source of that information comes from the locker room and the employees themselves.

Now, yes, you are right about the payroll, but it's the rep that hurts.

The Childress negotiations and how long it took to get Josh signed are recent example of things that players look at as well.

Not saying it's 100 percent right, but there is the reality of the Hawks rep.

thirdfalcon said...

I'm not talking about what the players think, they are gonna sign with whoever gives them the most money 9 times out of ten. It's just the way that the hawks somehow became everyone in the media just dismisses everything the Hawks do.

If, say, the Warriors had the season and postseason the Hawks did, people would just talk about what a great story they are, but when the Hawks do it it's somehow less of an accomplishment or it was just luck because it's Atlanta.

Both franchises have been just as disfunctional. But the Hawks still take the brunt of the critisism. Based on how wrong th information I usually hear about the Hawks is I bet nobody but the people that directly cover the team (Sekou, Lang), even have sources on the Hawks. They just spin whatever story they write with a negative angle and call it a day

/turns emo mods off and ends rant

Jason Walker said...

Ha--Good point and rant, TF---