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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Your 2008-2009 Atlanta Hawks!

Alright here’s the continuation of my Hawks post, answering the question of what should the Hawks do this off-season.

The party already started on May 7, 2008, when Billy Knight decided to step down. This is not especially surprising since his contract expired in July, and since the revelation that Knight allegedly tried to fire Mike Woodson three times. So the Hawks will have to find a new GM. I pray it’s not Billy King, though he would resign all of our free agents for a ton of money.

On that note, let me first address our free agents since we’re the only team with no draft picks. The Hawks have no unrestricted free agents, but Josh Smith, Josh Childress, Salim Stoudamire, Jeremy Richardson, and Mario West are all restricted free agents, which, of course, means we can match any offers.

The number one priority should be signing Josh Smith. He’s a special athlete who works hard to improve every year, he has strong ties to the Atlanta community, and except for some run-ins with Woodson, he has been a model citizen. More than likely he will command money along the lines of $70-80 million over 5 years. I say just get the man signed as long as he isn’t asking for something like a max contract.

Unfortunately signing Smith will leave very little room for signing Childress since we also have Johnson and Bibby under large contracts. He is a classic glue guy and an under-rated sixth man. If a team is smart, they will wait till the Hawks sign Smith and then offer Childress enough money that the Hawks won’t match. If, however, Speedy Claxton retires and gets his $5.7 million off the books that would leave enough money to get Childress signed as well. If he does not retire I think it will be next to impossible to try and move his contract unless the Hawks are willing to trade another asset. That brings me to my next point.

I think we should trade Marvin Williams. He is still young enough (21) for teams to see that he has potential, he still has a relatively affordable contract next year ($5.6 million), and he does little to help the team. The Hawks need two main things: (1) A solid, veteran big man who can play good defense, mentor Smith and Al Horford, and take the pressure off of them, and (2) more outside shooting to relieve the pressure off of Johnson. Marvin provides neither of those things. He’s too small to play defense in the post and he can’t shoot the three (1-10 for the YEAR!). He’s an athletic mid-range jump shooter who does not crash the boards that well (only 5.7 rpg despite being 6’9”), and does not have the aggression to become a go-to scorer. Trading Marvin, however, could get rid of Claxton’s corpse (if he doesn’t retire), bring back someone to fill one of our needs, and make room to re-sign Childress.

The remaining restricted free agents are Stoudamire, Richardson, and West. I would love to keep Stoudamire, but I think he’s gone considering his relationship with Woodson and his misuse of Stoudamire. I think we should resign Richardson and West. Richardson has a sweet shooting stroke, and West could develop into a stopper.

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