Posted on: December 7, 2011 4:23 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 4:24 pm
Posted by Royce Young
The Hawks appear to be losing their top bench option in Jamal Crawford so they're trying to cost effectively replace him. How? With a 32-year-old former scoring champ.
According to ESPN.com, the Hawks have agreed to a one-year deal with Tracy McGrady for the veteran minimum. McGrady, a shooting guard/small forward combo player, spent last season in Detroit quietly having a nice season off the bench for the Pistons. He averaged 8.0 points in 23.4 minutes per game. The oft-injured McGrady made it through last season without a major hiccup, playing in 72 games while starting 39.
McGrady can't officially sign with the team until Friday when free agency actually begins. But teams have been allowed to speak to agents for more than a week and could negotiate directly with players as of Monday.
McGrady has been in the league though 15 seasons and has appeared in 886 games. That's a lot.
The Hawks don't have a lot of depth to start with and really won't have much if Crawford, an unrestricted free agent, signs with someone else. Right now, there's nobody behind Joe Johnson and the starting small forward is Josh Smith with Marvin Williams behind him. So it's very likely McGrady will serve as Johnson's backup.
It's just a matter of how McGrady has left in the tank and if he can stay healthy. If so, he's going to make a nice piece for a contender. Depth is always extremely important and even more so in a shortened season with games packed together like they are.
McGrady's had a prolific career scoring the ball in Toronto and Houston, and has played in New York and Detroit. The Hawks will be the fifth franchise for him. And with him only being 32 still, I doubt it is his last.
Posted on: December 7, 2011 11:18 am
Edited on: December 7, 2011 10:48 pm
Posted by EOB Staff
On a shortened schedule with the conclusion of the NBA lockout, free agency is going to be fast and furious. To keep track of all the wheelings, dealings, rumors, and reports, check Eye on Basketball daily for the Free Agency Buzz.
Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011
10:47 p.m. ET
TSN.CA reports that the Toronto Raptors have "agreed to terms" with free agent center Jamaal Magloire, 33, who played sparingly for the Miami Heat last season.
10:24 p.m. ET
Posted on: November 18, 2011 7:21 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2011 12:02 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
Former NBA All-Star and UCLA standout Walt Hazzard died in Los Angeles on Friday night at the age of 69, KTLA.com reports. Hazzard had been battling a "long illness."
"This is a sad day for the UCLA basketball family," said Bruin athletic director Dan Guerrero said in a press release from UCLA.Hazzard, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound guard, played 10 years in the NBA, featuring stops with the Los Angeles Lakers, Seattle SuperSonics, Atlanta Hawks, Buffalo Braves and the Golden State Warriors. He posted career averages of 12.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 4.9 assists and was selected to the 1968 All-Star Game when he posted a career-high 24.0 points for Seattle.
On Friday evening, the Lakers, who drafted him in the first round of the 1964 NBA Draft, issued a statement.
"Walt was a man of extremely high character, who served the Lakers for many years as a player, a scout and a consultant,” said Lakers Owner Dr. Jerry Buss. “Our sympathy, thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time, and we feel fortunate that he was part of the Lakers family for so many years.”A college All-American and the Most Outstanding Player of the 1964 NCAA Final Four, Hazzard is best known for playing on the undefeated UCLA team coached by John Wooden that won the school's first NCAA title. UCLA retired his No. 42 jersey. He later won a gold medal as a player at the 1964 Olympics.
After his retirement from the NBA, Hazzard coached at UCLA from 1984-1988, compiling a 77-47 career record, and worked as both a scout and a consultant for the Lakers.
In 1996, Hazzard suffered a debilitating stroke that reportedly nearly took his life.
Posted on: November 4, 2011 5:07 pm
Posted by Royce Young
A week ago, the sale of the Atlanta Hawks to pizza tycoon Alex Meruelo appeared to be in serious jeopardy. Friday, the deal officially fell through, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
So who owns the Hawks now? The team remains in the hands of Atlanta Spirit -- a business group led by Bruce Levenson, Ed Peskowitz and Michael Gearon Jr.
The original deal fell apart after the NBA required "economic conditions" that were not part of the original deal. Read: more money.
Meruelo confirmed to the AJC that the deal was indeed off and issued this statement:
"I want to thank the Atlanta community who welcomed me with open arms. I am humbled and blessed by their warmth and hospitality. Basketball is my passion, but professional basketball is a business. Although all parties negotiated in good faith, we were not able to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement on some key issues given the current uncertainty surrounding the labor issue. As a result we mutually decided to terminate the deal effective immediately. I have great respect for the owners of the Hawks and the league and remain committed to fulfilling my dream of owning an NBA team. I look forward to that opportunity in the future."
Clearly the Atlanta Spirit group is still looking to sell the team, but it's about finding another buyer. Then again, who would want to buy an NBA franchise when OBVIOUSLY it's a death sentence to lose millions of dollars? Why would anyone want to spend the money for a franchise when as demonstrated by this lockout, you're in for major losses? Huh, who'd want that?
Oh that's right, pretty much everybody.
Posted on: October 26, 2011 7:40 pm
Edited on: October 26, 2011 7:45 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
Alex Meruelo, the California pizza tycoon who reached an agreement to purchase ownership of the Atlanta Hawks back in August, is apparently having trouble pooling together enough cheese to buy his majority slice of the pie.
ESPN.com reports that the NBA and the Atlanta Spirit, the current ownership group, have concerns about Meruelo's financial situation less than three months after he reached a deal to purchase majority ownership of the team.
Sources told ESPN.com on Wednesday that there are concerns at the league level and within the Hawks' current ownership group, headed by Michael Gearon Jr. and Bruce Levenson, about whether Meruelo indeed has the sufficient funds to purchase a majority stake in the franchise and operate an NBA team.The easy solution here is to help Meruelo sell a lot of pizza as quickly as possible. Someone send out a distress signal alerting the Mario Brothers and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. If that doesn't work, and it probably won't, then we'll just have to wait to see how this he-said, he-said argument shakes out.
Given the significant capital required to run a professional sports team, the fact that more than half the current teams claim to lose money in a given year and Atlanta's struggles to sell tickets, you would think a prospective Hawks buyer would only entertain an ownership stake if he had way more than enough cash on hand to make things work. Even if the owners get all of their demands in the ongoing collective bargaining agreements, professional sports is not the first place you immediately think of when it comes to investments that will produce immediate returns. Especially in a city and state where football is king.
Posted on: October 26, 2011 1:19 pm
By Matt Moore
LaMarcus Aldridge was on Twitter Tuesday night, discussing his upcoming charity game. (Everyone gets a charity game this summer/fall. "You get an All-Star charity game! And you get an All-Star charity game!") In the course of it, Jamal Crawford came up. Then suddenly, it turned into a discussion of talking Crawford, an unrestricted free agent when the lockout ends, into coming to Portland.
Rip City when @JCrossover come play in my game we need to make him feel at home so he will sign with us!via Twitter / @aldridge_12: Rip City when @JCrossover ....
Crawford responded positively to the comments on his own Twitter account, and is from Seattle, so he's got a connection to the Northwest. He was also rumored to be targeted by former Blazers GM Rich Cho last year in trade talks. So on the surface, this makes a lot of sense. Crawford wants to go somewhere he feels wanted, and Portland would definitely make him feel that way.
Just one problem.
It's a terrible idea. The Blazers have nearly... wait for it... $90 million invested in Brandon Roy and Wesley Matthews over the next four seasons. With Gerald Wallace the small forward for their indefinite future (even if he's playing power-forward with LMA at center in smaller lineups, he functions as a small forward), you're looking at pouring quite a bit of money into Crawford, who is coming off of a sensational playoff appearance with Atlanta, and who plays at a position that generally is overpaid in the first place (volume-scorer shooting guard).
Paul Allen is stomping up and down the NBA lockout negotiations because of his desire to curb salaries. But the Blazers' history, from overpaying for Wesley Matthews at the time (a move that worked out and looks reasonable for the duration of his contract, provided his production maintains with more minutes) to granting Brandon Roy the extension despite knowing the condition of his knees, points to a pattern of overpaying for marginal contributions. Crawford is 31. He'll still be a solid contributor at both ends for whoever winds up signing him, but even if Brandon Roy is given the amnesty, which seems unlikely given the franchise's position towards Roy, adding Crawford doesn't add up. And that's before we explore the money likely given to Greg Oden in restricted free agency.
Also, note that this is LaMarcus Aldridge, who has historically had an icy relationship with Brandon Roy, actively campaigning for what would essentially be his replacement. Maybe LMA thinks Crawford will play small forward in a small lineup with Wallace at the 4. But that's an awful lot of shots to have to go around should he get his way.
Posted on: October 21, 2011 9:21 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
For my next witness, I would like to call the defendant, Mr. Human Highlight Film, to the stand.
Yes, that's right, Atlanta Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins is being sued for his involvement in a fight that broke out at Phillips Arena back in March.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Rashan Michel, a former NBA referee who was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor, is suing Wilkins over the fight, which allegedly broke out over a debt that Wilkins owed Michel for custom suits.
The man arrested following a fight with Dominique Wilkins says he didn't provoke or threaten the former Hawks star, who then punched him repeatedly with his fists as basketball fans watched.Wilkins was never charged with any crime following the incident and charges against Michel were dropped. The paper also reports that Michel lost his job over the incident.
So, just to be clear, Michel expects a jury to award him money for getting into a fistfight in public for which he was later arrested, Wilkins wasn't, and police witnesses contradict his story. Yeah, good luck with that one.
How often do vengeance-seeking, job-losing citizens win any case against one of the most recognized and heralded people in their community? Not often. How often do they win amidst these shady circumstances? Basically never. Worth a shot? Maybe?
Posted on: September 24, 2011 2:36 pm
Edited on: September 24, 2011 2:36 pm
Posted by Royce Young
So the lockout could be ending soon, depending on who you're listening to. Maybe it extends into the season, but if it doesn't and a deal gets settled in the next few weeks, we're going to have one heck of a free agency period. Really, no matter when it's settled, we're going to have one wild free agency period.
(Unless we were to miss all of 2011-12 and you combined this class with next year's group. Now that would be something.)
If you thought the summer of 2010 was a frenzy, try cramming it all into a two-week period. Maybe I'm just thinking of how horrible it'll be for me. Regardless, you can be sure that all 30 teams have a pre-written itinerary on what they want to accomplish once the lockout is lifted. They have been planning, plotting and preparing to target the players they want or finish up a few final transactions on the roster.
But what's the first order of business for everybody? What's the priority, the thing that each team wants to get done right away? Here's a stab at each team's top job.
Atlanta Hawks: It really appears that the Hawks are ready and willing to let Jamal Crawford walk, but there's still a decision to made whether or not they want to compete for him in the free agent market. He was a key part of the team that made a somewhat surprising run to the Eastern Semifinals and re-signing him could be a priority. Problem is, they don't really have the funds for it.
Boston Celtics: What happens with Jeff Green? The Celtics have already tendered him a qualifying offer, but someone surely will extend him an offer sheet. The Celtics have issues at center still and Glen Davis is unrestricted, but figuring out Jeff Green's situation is probably weighing heaviest on Danny Ainge's mind.
Charlotte Bobcats: The Bobcats made a big splash in the draft, but if that's going to matter, they've got to get Bismack Biyombo on the team. His buyout could still be a major issue and though he says he'll be on the team when training camp starts, that's definitely up in the air.
Chicago Bulls: Wing scorer. Say it with me, wing scorer. Derrick Rose needs help (and an extension) in a big time way and it's up to Gar Foreman and company to find that help. Jamal Crawford maybe? Caron Butler? J.R. Smith if he wasn't in China? Someone has to give Rose a little offensive help and that's the top priority for the Bulls.
Cleveland Cavaliers: First thing? Putting Baron Davis on the scales to make sure he doesn't weigh 300 pounds. After that, there isn't a whole lot to be done in Cleveland. The club's rebuilding around their two lottery picks and you don't want to crowd the roster in a way that stunts their development.
Dallas Mavericks: The defending champs have a whole lot on their plate once the lockout ends. Caron Butler's contract is up. So is J.J. Barea's. So is DeShawn Stevenson's. So is Brian Cardinal's (just kidding -- well it is up, but you know what I mean). But the first order of business for Mark Cuban is to get Tyson Chandler re-signed. Not just that though, but to get him re-signed to a number that makes sense for the make-up of the roster.
Denver Nuggets: Despite the lockout, the Nuggets have kind of been gutted. J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin and Wilson Chandler are in China until at least March. Danilo Gallinari signed in Italy but has an NBA out. But all of that doesn't matter near as much as getting Nene re-signed. Without Nene, it doesn't matter. With Nene, there's still something worth building around.
Detroit Pistons: The Pistons are kind of trying to quietly usher out the old and bring in some new. Tayshaun Prince is a free agent, but I don't think they care. What'll be most interesting is how they handle Rodney Stuckey. The Pistons drafted Brandon Knight in June with Stuckey already their point guard. Do they want Knight to take over? Do they want to play them together? Share the role? Sorting out Stuckey's future is definitely what Joe Dumars has to do first.
Golden State Warriors: The Warriors could be players in free agency, but really, it's about deciding once and for all if Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry really are the backcourt tandem of the future for the team. If there's a time to move on, it's now when both of their values are still high. The Warriors flirted with dealing Ellis last season but it didn't happen. They're probably planning on revisiting that.
Houston Rockets: First order of business: Properly sending off Yao with a jersey retirement ceremony. After that, the Rockets are fairly settled, though you know Daryl Morey is just itching to pick up a phone and start transacting once the lockout's over.
Indiana Pacers: The Pacers have a number of expiring deals and aren't likely looking to re-sign them (maybe Josh McRoberts, maybe Jeff Foster). Larry Bird has been hunting more pieces to add to his mediocre roster for a while and you can be sure the Pacers are going to target some of the bigger free agent names in this class.
Los Angeles Clippers: Eric Gordon is ready for an extension, but the Clippers better be ready to match any offer DeAndre Jordan gets. You might not think that's a big deal, but forget Chris Kaman. The future of the Clips frontcourt is Blake Griffin and Jordan. You seven-footer from Texas A&M finally started figuring himself out a little last season and he's not far off from becoming a major defensive impact player.
Los Angeles Lakers: Shannon Brown's unrestricted, but he's really not that much of an impact player to be that concerned with. The Lakers might have to focus on how to re-structure the roster to suit a new CBA that could greatly cut into their total salary. Will they have to move Lamar Odom? Metta World Peace? But first things first: Giving Kobe and Mike Brown a proper introduction and letting them figure out the direction of the offense.
Memphis Grizzlies: Marc Gasol. That's it for Memphis. It'd be nice to get Shane Battier back, but it's all about Gasol.
Miami Heat: It's kind of been overlooked, but Pat Riley and the Heat have a busy couple weeks waiting on them. Mike Bibby, Jamaal Magloire, Juwan Howard, Erick Dampier and James Jones are all unrestricted and Mario Chalmers is restricted. It's decision time for the Heat. Do they start restocking with veteran talent or look to get younger and develop?
Milwaukee Bucks: That first practice in Milwaukee is something Scott Skiles has probably been thinking about for a while. "Brandon, this is Stephen. Stephen, this is Brandon." The Bucks have some new talent as Stephen Jackson joins Brandon Jennings, but how will they get along?
Minnesota Timberwolves: Here's what David Kahn's to-do list looks like: 1) Hug Ricky. 2) Hug Darko. 3) Overpay a questionable free agent at a position you already have three guys. What it should look like: 1) Convince Kevin Love somehow to sign an extension. 2) Get rid of Michael Beasley and let Derrick Williams have the starting small forward spot all to himself. 3) Tell Rick Adelman to do his thing.
New Jersey Nets: Kris Humphies is an important piece of business but his re-signing goes hand in hand with the larger thing: Proving to Deron Williams that this is a place he wants to re-sign. The Nets have to take advantage right away of showing Williams they're serious about winning. And you do that by getting him some immediate help.
New Orleans Hornets: It's all about David West for the Hornets. Yes, he suffered a major knee injury last season. But he chose to become an unrestricted free agent and a team like the Nets is likely to come calling quickly. Can the Hornets hang on to Chris Paul's buddy?
New York Knicks: The Knicks have a little bit coming off the books but really they need to try and resist the urge to do something drastic in this free agency period. Which they will because of the big names coming up in 2012. Still, they want to field a solid team for this season -- and Mike D'Antoni needs them too -- so adding a quality veteran to help on the inside would be good.
Oklahoma City Thunder: The young Thunder roster is pretty much entirely set up. But Sam Presti has something to do right away once the lockout ends -- get Russell Westbrook his extension. Presti brought Kevin Durant his at midnight last July to make sure there was no doubt about locking up his superstar. Presti better be stalking Westbrook's house on the whim he lockout ends so he can extend the same treatment to his other star.
Orlando Magic: First order of business for Otis Smith and the Magic? Resume begging Dwight Howard to stay. One way to show it would be to get him some help, but Smith sort of laid those cards on the table last year in the Gilbert Arenas/Hedo Turkoglu trade. So it's back to convincing Howard there's a plan for the future and that it'll get better.
Philadelphia 76ers: Someone is ready and willing to give Thaddeus Young a serious offer, so the Sixers better be ready to match anything and everything.
Phoenix Suns: Steve Nash's trade value will be highest at the beginning of the season, so it's up to Lance Blanks and Robert Sarver to figure out if they're ready to move on. Aaron Brooks is a restricted free agent so if the Suns lock him up by matching an offer sheet, that'll be an indication that the Suns are preparing for life without Nash.
Portland Trail Blazers: The Blazers are in love with Nicolas Batum, so extending him could be the first order of business, but really, the Blazers need to find a new general manager first. And whoever that guy is needs to decide that if for the off chance someone gives Greg Oden an offer, if he's willing to match. Oden already has an $8.8 qualifying offer, which is huge, so once Oden signs that, he'll likely be signing with the Blazers for another year.
Sacramento Kings: The Jimmer-Tyreke backcourt is going to be an interesting experiment, but Marcus Thornton is quietly one of the more intriguing free agents out there. The Bulls are likely looking at him long and hard right now. He's restricted, so the Kings could keep him, but the question is, with Tyreke moving off the ball for good and Jimmer handling the point, is it worth paying Thornton to just have him come off the bench?
San Antonio Spurs: Um, I guess just resume the typical day-to-day of the Spurs. Gregg Popovich is the longest tenured coach with a team and R.C. Buford probably isn't looking to go do anything drastic in this market. The Spurs are definitely aging, but there's not a lot to be done about that right now.
Toronto Raptors: Assuming the Raptors actually have Jonas Valanciunas for next season, Dwane Casey and company have to figure out if he's ready to cover for Andrea Bargnani on the inside. Can those two really play together and handle enough rebounding and defensive duties? The Raptors are in a place where they have to wait and see with some young players and aren't likely targeting any big names in the open market.
Utah Jazz: Most likely, Andrei Kirilenko won't be re-signing with the Jazz. So Kevin O'Connor will have to make a choice when the lockout's over: Does he try and restock a roster that can maybe squeak out the eight-seed, or does he commit to rebuilding around Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors and others and just let them play it out? The Jazz would love to get some wing scoring help, so O'Connor will probably at least look that direction, but we'll have to see how serious he is.
Washington Wizards: It's not an earth-shattering decision, but Nick Young is a restricted free agent. And with his scoring ability, someone is ready to pay him. Do the Wizards want to keep him? Do they want to look elsewhere and maybe target say, Marcus Thornton? Or do they just let Young walk and see what Jordan Crawford's got?
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