Posted on: May 12, 2010 3:10 pm
Edited on: May 12, 2010 3:13 pm
Making a decision on Mike Woodson's future is the Hawks "No. 1 priority" this offseason, and it will be resolved quickly, a person with knowledge of the team's plans told CBSSports.com.
"With respect to Woody, and in fairness to him, I think it will be resolved soon, one way or another," the person said.
The Hawks won 53 games, their fifth straight regular-season improvement under Woodson, who coached the entire season on the last year of his contract without an extension. Hawks GM Rick Sund has a long-standing policy not to do contract extensions during the season.
But Woodson's legacy has been tarnished by Atlanta's four-game implosion against the Magic, a sweep in which the Hawks were outscored by 101 points. It was the Hawks' second straight season-ending sweep, coming on the heels of last season's 4-0 loss to the Cavaliers in the conference semifinals.
Woodson's salary with bonuses exceeded $2 million this season, and rival executives don't expect the Hawks to offer much more than that on a new deal -- which could be a recipe for Woodson's quick exit. Woodson is represented by Joe Glass, who also represents Bobcats coach Larry Brown -- which essentially means Woodson's future is tied to Brown's.
Woodson has been linked to the Philadelphia 76ers' opening as a package deal with Brown, who would replace Ed Stefanski as team president. To this point, Woodson and Brown are about the only two people in the NBA who haven't interviewed for the Sixers' job. Sources are skeptical of the Sixers' enthusiasm for turning the basketball decisions over to Brown if he isn't coaching. Some executives believe the Clippers remain the most sensible option for Brown as coach and team president, despite Brown's comments in an interview this week that he is having difficulty being away from his family in Philadelphia.
One consideration for the Hawks, sources say, is to make Woodson a firm offer within the next week. If the offer isn't to his liking, "It'll give him an opportunity to get involved for other jobs," said one person familiar with the team's plans.
The other hot-button issue for the Hawks is the future of Joe Johnson, who had a miserable series against Orlando and made it worse with comments critical of fans who had booed the team at home. One person close to Johnson said the circumstances may have made it less likely for Johnson to bolt the placid environment of Atlanta for a pressure-cooker like New York. Going to Chicago to play with Derrick Rose and "let Rose take all the daggers," a source said, might be a more attractive option. But sources say the Hawks' brass haven't ruled out Johnson returning to Atlanta.
Posted on: March 24, 2010 10:57 pm
ATLANTA – As much as they wanted to downplay it, this meant something. The Atlanta Hawks didn’t want to go into the playoffs with a Can’t-Beat-The-Elite albatross following them every step of the way.
“We know we can play with anybody,” said Josh Smith, who flushed a lot more than a game-winning putback dunk at the buzzer Wednesday night in an 86-84 victory over the Orlando Magic.
It all came together for a team that no longer has to search so hard for respect. In front of a solid midweek crowd in attendance-challenged Philips Arena, the Hawks clinched a playoff berth and carried star-crossed teammate Jamal Crawford to the postseason for the first time in his nine-year career.
They also took an important step, however reluctant they were to admit it. Despite a 4-0 season sweep of the Celtics, the Hawks’ resume was stained by an 0-6 record against the other elites – 0-1 against the Lakers, 0-2 against Cleveland, 0-3 against Orlando, with those three losses coming by an average of 22.3 points. That streak ended Wednesday night, when Joe Johnson’s jumper caromed off the rim and into the left hand of Smith, who soared through the lane and beat the buzzer with a dunk that sent a lot of doubts down with it.
It was important, Smith was saying at his locker, “Just for our confidence, to know we can beat this team.”
The deciding sequence came after Vince Carter’s 3-pointer tied it at 84-84 with 9.9 seconds left. As it turns out, it was better that the Hawks didn’t have any timeouts, because Smith said the matchup confusion resulted in nobody putting a body on him as Johnson’s 16-footer floated toward the rim.
“Vince hit a great shot at the end, and Vince played great defense at the end to get the stop,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. “On the weak side, we just stood and watched. We absolutely spectated. All we needed was one boxout and we’d be in overtime. But we didn’t get the boxout and we’re not in overtime. How you stand there and watch that play, I don’t know. The guys on the court were doing the same thing the guys on the bench were doing – standing there watching.”
Down the hall, in the Hawks’ locker room, they were doing something else. Crawford, who’d spent his entire career on pathetic non-playoff teams in Chicago, New York and briefly in Golden State, proudly flashed a black T-shirt that read, “Clinched!” He hung it in his locker, saying he figured he’d let it stay there for a while. It’s been a long wait.
“When you first come into the league, you think you’re supposed to be in the playoffs in year one or two,” Crawford said. “I don’t take it for granted. I’ve seen some tough situations, the worst of the worst.”
And if the Hawks had lost to another elite team, they’d be wondering if they were ever going to take the next step.
“It feels good,” Al Horford said. “There’s a lot of people that have been talking and questioning us against the bigger teams.”
As the locker room was clearing out, the party was just starting in coach Mike Woodson’s office. Earlier in the day, after shootaround, roses and balloons had adorned his office signifying his 52nd birthday. Now, family and friends and adult beverages had joined them.
“That was a great game, a playoff game,” Woodson said.
They will be playing those in Atlanta again this spring, the third straight year Woodson will lead the Hawks to the postseason. For five straight years, he’s won more games than he did the last. By beating Orlando, the Hawks clinched their ninth consecutive winning month – the third-longest streak in franchise history and second-longest since the team has been in Atlanta.
Woodson is on the last year of his contract, Johnson is poised to join the star-studded free agent class, and all bets are off as to how that shakes out. For now, they should all take Crawford’s advice.
“You have to appreciate it,” Crawford said, “because you never know when it’s going to happen again.”
Posted on: February 11, 2010 2:02 am
Edited on: February 11, 2010 1:17 pm
DALLAS -- Chris Paul and Brandon Roy already have been knocked out of the All-Star Game with injuries. Kobe Bryant is suffering with finger, ankle, and hip ailments, and Allen Iverson is tending to his sick daughter. But it appears that Derrick Rose has dodged the All-Star injury bug.
An MRI on Rose's hip and back revealed "no significant injury," the Bulls said Thursday, and Rose will make the trip to Dallas for All-Star weekend. He will be re-evaluated here Saturday by team physician Dr. Brian Cole.
Rose left Wednesday night's 107-87 loss to Orlando with a bruised right hip, putting his status for Sunday's All-Star Game in doubt. The team was "hopeful" that the injury was limited to soft tissue damage and wouldn't keep Rose out of Sunday's game. Bulls fans might wonder why Rose would risk his health for the stretch run just to participate in an exhibition game. But given the positive MRI results and Rose's level of enthusiasm for making his first All-Star appearance, it appears to be a non-issue.
If Rose were to suffer a setback, the Hawks' Josh Smith and the Knicks' David Lee would be the most likely candidates to be named as the injury replacement. My pick would be Smith; he was a more deserving All-Star than Al Horford in the first place.
Posted on: December 30, 2009 11:16 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2009 12:20 am
The Atlanta Hawks plan to file a game protest after the shot clock failed to reset in the final two minutes of their 106-101 loss in Cleveland on Wednesday night.
Posted on: June 24, 2009 6:12 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2009 6:22 pm
Here’s your second cup of pre-draft trade buzz of the day. In case you missed it, the first cup is here. One more cup, and you will have consumed as many cups of trade buzz as I’ve consumed coffee today:
• The Trail Blazers, known to be seeking an upgrade at point guard, have expressed interest in the Bulls’ Kirk Hinrich. But a possible Portland-Chicago trade involving Hinrich has yet to enter the realm of serious discussion, according to a person familiar with the situation. While there has been speculation for months that the Bulls would be open to moving Tyrus Thomas, who has been linked to Hinrich in a possible Portland trade, Thomas has been told there’s “nothing at all” on the table involving him at this point, the person said.
• The Suns are hoping to pry Oklahoma City’s 25th overall pick, using a 2010 unprotected first-rounder as bait.
• The Knicks, convinced they cannot land Davidson guard Stephen Curry with the eighth pick, continue to actively explore ways to move up. New York also has engaged in talks with Minnesota about acquiring the 28th pick and Memphis about No. 27.
• We’ve already told you about the Atlanta-Golden State trade that would send Jamal Crawford to Atlanta – a trade I don’t really understand. Crawford is owed more than $19 million over the next two seasons and isn’t a natural point guard (and thus can’t be viewed as a reasonable replacement for unrestricted free agent Mike Bibby). Do the Hawks hate the $7.4 million owed to Speedy Claxton and Acie Law so much that they’re willing to try to force-fit Crawford into an offense already dominated by Joe Johnson and Josh Smith? There must be something more to this.
• Loyal BergerSphere readers also are aware that the Blazers and Mavericks have swapped the 24th and 22nd picks, respectively, with Portland giving up one of its four second-round picks -- 56th overall -- for the right to move up two spots.
Back with more -- and back to the coffee pot -- as needed.
Posted on: June 24, 2009 5:20 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2009 6:23 pm
The Hawks and Warriors are discussing a trade that would send shooting guard Jamal Crawford to Atlanta for a pair of point guards, Speedy Claxton and Acie Law, a person familiar with the talks confirmed to CBSSports.com.
Those are the key components of the deal, which has yet to be consummated, the person with knowledge of the dialogue said Wednesday. It is a curious move from the Warriors' standpoint, to say the least. With the seventh pick in Thursday's draft, Golden State was believed to have been targeting Davidson guard Stephen Curry. Like the Knicks, who hold the eighth pick, the Warriors must be privy to the rumblings that Curry won't get past Minnesota, which has the fifth and sixth picks -- if they keep them. So by trading Crawford, does Golden State believe it's making room for Curry? Or is Warriors GM Larry Riley trying to accumulate assets to be used in an attempt to trade up?
The Hawks would rid themselves of two sources of disappointment left over from the Billy Knight regime. Knight overpaid Claxton with a four-year, $25 million contract, only to see Claxton languish on the bench and serve little purpose. Law, the 11th overall pick by the Hawks in 2007, did little to convince the new regime, led by former Sonics GM Rick Sund, that he would develop into a viable replacement at point guard for Mike Bibby. Crawford is owed more than $19 million over the next two seasons and doesn't seem to fit.
"That tells you they're going to draft a point guard [Thursday]," one league source said. "They better, or they're in trouble."
More on this one as details become available.