Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Free Agency: Day 1

The Free Agent period has started out with a public bang for some clubs---but not so fast for Hawks fans.

It shouldn't come as a surprise--as the Hawks, with their current contracts and cap holds for unrestricted and restricted free agents, are more than up against the cap. This leaves only trades and the full mid-level exception for the Hawks to work with, as well as signing their own free agents.

When a good beat writer like Sekou Smith is left with vague blind items on Twitter and nothing more, there must not be much information to work with. We should expect to see action heat up as the few teams that have money spend it, leaving the rest of the mid-level exception dwellers and sign and trade partners to dance.

What we learned on Wednesday:

The Detroit Pistons don't mess around. Joe Dumars went 2 for 2 in his quest to spend his loot, opening the bank for Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva to the tune of a combined 10 years and 90 million dollars. Gordon (5/55) and Villanueva (5/35) can now be put in the places where Allen Iverson (Bobcats?) and Rasheed Wallace (Celtics?) used to reside, making it a younger, more effective combination at this stage in all their careers. Gordon will come off the bench to begin the season, vowing to be a "super bench" player. The superscorer position off the bench that Gordon will be in DET could become the new glamour position in the NBA.

They are also looking for a coach, and the HHB is speculating that, should Joe Dumars be able to deal either Tayshaun Prince or Rip Hamilton this season, they could set the stage for bringing in Chris Bosh next offseason by bringing in former Raptor coach Sam Mitchell. Thanks to @RapsFan for confirming the positive relationship between the two yesterday.

It looks like Portland has settled on Hedo Turkoglu and willing to fulfill his 5 and 50 desires. The fit is better in POR than in TOR, the other potential stop, in that Turk provides a piece that was missing for the Blazers, where as TOR has more than one to fill that cap number with.

Jason Kidd looks like he has Dallas' attention as they stepped into New York where Kidd was due to visit the Knicks and allegedly offered a 3 year, 24 million dollar deal, which is in line what we had mentioned earlier about a Sam Cassell in '05 offer---but Kidd seems to be hedging, feeling he is worth more. He might be able to score a bigger per year payday in a one year deal, but the HHB doesn't think he's going to get more than that from anybody else, including the Knicks who can only offer the mid-level without a sign/trade and likely don't want to mess with the LeBron cap space of 2010.

Dallas also supposedly offered center Marcin Gortat a max mid-level deal and is in competition with Houston (who is also supposed to have offered Gortat that compensation to fill in for Yao) and any other team looking for center help (hellooo---Atlanta).

Gortat got love from the Texas teams and also from ESPN's John Hollinger, who included the soon-to-be former Orlando center on his list of Best Under the Radar free agents. He must have written the piece before the two teams set up tents in front on Marcin's domicile, ready to offer all they could to get him. Also on that list was Drew Gooden, whom we have been touting in this space as a good fit for the Hawks given that he can create in the post, rebounds very well, and only (27). He's a bit of an afterthought (hence his inclusion on John's list) and the Hawks would do well to pursue we think.

We'll see what happens with other veteran point guards like Andre Miller, who Portland was also interested in, but we think they will have to work out a trade since Turk is taking the free agent cash. Mike Bibby has not been mentioned, as he is likely down people's list, but he could get undervalued as he was instrumental in turning the Hawks into a playoff team and had one of his best years shooting the 3. Could have a hard time getting a better deal than in Atlanta.

We wrote yesterday that the Jazz would have a tough decision regarding Paul Millsap, considering the opt-ins of Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur. The Jazz are in the cap stratosphere right now, even without Millsap, but may be looking to lock him in anyway, hoping to build beyond next season when Okur and Boozer are expected to leave. The other team mentioned in the Millsap chase is Oklahoma City, who might turn to Andreson Varejao if Utah does indeed hang onto Millsap.

Late in the evening, everyone starting talking about Ron Artest heading out to Cleveland to join LeBron James and his Merry Men. Since CLE can only offer the mid-level, we thought this might be little more than interesting rumor--and then Ron posted this message on his Twitter page:


UPDATE: This from
A message attributed to Ron Artest ("THANKS A LOT HOUSTON :) I HAD A LOT OF FUN.") appeared on Twitter late Wednesday. Artest's agent, David Bauman, told the Houston Chronicle that the message was sent by an imposter.

"That is not Ron's account," Bauman said. "That's what happens with the so-called new media."

Now on Twitter they have something called a Verified Account which attempts to eliminate imposters. Artest's account is Verified as Artest, but it may not have been Ron tweeting.

Finally, buck up Hawks fans--even if the first day left you searching for any action from the Nest, at least you are not the Memphis Grizzlies. First, rumor has it that the owner, Michael Heisley put the kabosh on a proposed 5 year, 60 million dollar offer to Knicks restricted free agent David Lee. Then, they did go ahead and deal recently "acquired" Quentin Richardson to the Clippers for Zach Randolph. It's a bad trade when an entire fan base and writers say that the Clippers found a "sucker" and Bill Simmons says all is forgiven to Mike Dunleavy for the deal. Randolph gets paid 16 and 17 million for the next two season and Richardson's approx 9 million dollar deal expires after this season. Randolph is still very productive (19.6 PER), but is the kind of talent/personality that teams can't seem to unload fast enough. The HHB remembers how it feels @the bottom and we salute the Memphis fans who do go to the games and hope for the best.

Here is an updated list of free agents for 2009 with their corresponding PER (Hawks players in bold) and will be updated regularly (And attempted to highlight in the team's colors that the free agents choose---fancy!)
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


thirdfalcon said...

Come on HHB! It's the first day you haven't used red yet! lol

Also LOL at the pistons, who turned Billups, the best point guard they have had since Isaiah, and one that they won a championship with, into the chance to overpay Ben Gordon to the tune of 11 mil a year. Good thing Joe Dumars is a genius, becuase he's gonna have to be.

I do like that more teams are going with a star scoring wing coming of the bench, and I'm glad that the Hawks are getting in early in this trend.

In the past players wouldn't have done this because of their ego, but it only makes sense to have a great scorer coming off the bench. And with the rules like they are, it only makes sense for those super-subs to be wing players.

Manu is the first player i can think of that did this, but he was followed by guys like Jason Terry, and now Ben Gordan, and our own Jamaal Crawford look to join them.

Jason Walker said...

Hopefully we'll soon fill in some Hawks red, though I can probably fill in the Solomon Jones and Mario West color right now---something tells me there will be no offer sheet coming for those two.

It would be smart if teams made that position a glamour position as it would give these scorers "the love" for coming off the bench. Not every player is like JT, who never groaned about going back and forth, in and out of the lineup.

thirdfalcon said...

I see, your saving red for the Hawks. But you should go with lime-green imo.