Sunday, July 5, 2009

What Hawks Fans Should Watch For

As the actual Free Agency Week (you know, when people can actually sign and teams can finally relax) comes into being, let's quickly review what Hawks fans should be watching for, according to the last few days of reports:

Jason Kidd, who was being sought after by, in large part, the Knicks and Mavericks, has apparently decided to take more of Mark Cuban's money and remain in Dallas. In addition to being the best offer, it also allows Kidd to perform in an offense and with teammates that best suit him at this time in his career. The terms of Kidd's contract are widely reported to being in the 3 year, 25 million+ range.

This impacts Hawks free agent PG Mike Bibby, who the Philadelphia Inquirer noted was intent on staying a Hawk over the weekend. Kidd's contract (terms and length) should serve as a high-end benchmark for the 31 year old PG, slated for his 12th season in the league. Though, as Sekou Smith reported over the weekend, a deal is not finalized, it makes sense that Bibby should stay where he likely will be the best paid, has had good success, and fits in well.

Also being reported is that this is finally the year that David Andersen realizes his dream of playing in the NBA. Sekou reported this as a probability last week, and over the weekend reports like this started finding its way into Bird Watchers' view. (We first saw it referenced over at Peachtree Hoops) . The highlight (for those who don't want to translate):

The Atlanta Hawks, who chose the number 37 in the 2002 draft, require players inside as they are about to lose Zaza patchouli, which has become a free agent.

"David is an option, as has every summer, to break his contract if it receives an offer from the NBA before July 15. I can not say anything more," said his agent, Kenny Grant, a "World Sports" .The Australian pivot Hawks will leave if the offer at least a contract similar to that charged in the Regal Barcelona: 2 million euros per season.

That's about 2.8 million dollars to match what Andersen currently earns over there. The July 15th deadline should mean that we may find out this week if Andersen is truly on his way over to play for the Hawks.

BTW, it's interesting (at least to the basketball nerds here at the HHB) that at the bottom of the article it talks about replacing Andersen there with Terrence Morris, who is done with his team in Russia. Morris was a selected by the Hawks in the 2nd round in 2001, and then was traded on draft night to the Houston Rockets for a future 1st rounder (which the Hawks in turn traded to SAC for the draft rights to Dan Dickau in 2002).

As was reported last week, Andersen was thought to be a fallback in case Zaza Pachulia was set to depart the Nest. Though no reports have contained the details of deals like Rasheed Wallace or Marcin Gortat, there is no question that Pachulia has suitors. Being unrestricted, Zaza can go wherever there is money and, given teams that were jilted by Gortat and Wallace still have their exceptions, Zaza may be finding the greener pastures in cities like Houston or Orlando, for starters.

That July 15th deadline is also in place for Josh Childress, who had a well publicized meeting in Milwaukee, but little other public detail. Over the course of this free agent week, we'll likely know if Childress has indeed opted out of his deal in Greece to come back to the NBA, and he won't opt out of that deal without something concrete here in the States.

It remains to be seen if the re-signing of Bibby does indeed mean the end of the short, but productive, RFM era in the ATL. Long thought that the Hawks would keep one or the other after the arrival of Jamal Crawford and the first round selection of Jeff Teague, keeping Bibby could Flip the switch off for the Hawks. It's important to remember, however, that the then 6-yr vet guard was headed to Russia with no better offers last season before believer-Rick Sund gave him a million dollar deal to come aboard the Hawks. One would think Murray's solid, even performance this season as the Hawks top reserve would open some other doors, but teams may still be wary of his past inconsistency.

Alas, this only contains folks we currently have---the natural reaction is to ask, "what about the Hawks getting in on some of these other names floating around?" For starters, the names right now out there are the higher dollar names, and those the Hawks would have to renounce the right to their own free agents to be able to sign, which the Hawks obviously haven't been interested in doing (it would include Bibby and Marvin, as well as Chill, Zaza, or some combination of any or all). So it really leaves the Hawks with their full mid-level exception and there are still some names that would good to use that on---they're just not the names that are out there in full force at this time. It does makes sense to wait for the smoke to clear and money to be spent before you start showing your hand.

Our bet? When the signings start and some of the names we've seen come off the free agent board, the Hawks will be in the mix for one of the second or third tier free agents. We would love to see Antonio McDyess or Drew Gooden get serious consideration from the Hawks given that they address a major weakness for the team last season---rebounding.

The HHB takes its show on the road to the ATL this week, so buckle up Atlanta! Complaints and traffic violations can be mailed directly to the Comments Area.

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