ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting that the reigning NBA champion San Antonio Spurs are interested in former Hawk Gustavo Ayon “as both a potential [Aron] Baynes replacement or a possible addition to the roster.”

Gigantes del Basket previously reported (hat tip @HoopsHype) that Ayon had declined multiple offers because of his preference to wait until after the FIBA World Cup, which is underway as of this morning, to make a decision. This would seem to be a smart move since NBA.com reports that a record 45 current NBA players will be competing in the 2014 FIBA World Cup. In addition, NBA.com’s John Schuhmann tweeted that there are 23 additional players with NBA experience that are not on current NBA rosters, as well as 17 NBA draftees that have yet to make an NBA roster.

Ayon is joined in the tournament by fellow unrestricted free agents Andray Blatche and Leandro Barbosa (reportedly committed to sign with the Warriors). Spurs restricted free agent Baynes has played well for Australia in the build up to the tournament and is another player worth keeping an eye on.

Every two years at the major international tournaments (the Olympics and FIBA World Cup, formerly the FIBA World Championship), international players that the American audience is unfamiliar with emerge as potential NBA talent. The record amount of talent in this competition presents a huge opportunity for unknown talent to emerge. Games will be broadcast and archived on Watch ESPN.

Sadly, my pick for the breakout star of this tournament, 6-5 Lithuanian point guard Mantas Kalnietis, suffered a separated collar bone and has been ruled out. Australia is my team to watch. The Boomers feature four current NBA players (Cameron Bairstow, Matthew Dellavedova, Dante Exum and Baynes). Only Spain and the United States have more current NBA players than Australia, which also features Joe Ingles, a 6-8 small forward with Maccabi Tel Aviv. Ingles played Summer League stints with Golden State in 2009 and 2010 and could emerge in this tournament as a future NBA prospect.

The Hawks announced today that they have added Charles Lee and Ben Sullivan to Mike Budenholzer’s coaching staff.

According to the team’s press release, Lee was an assistant coach the last two seasons at Bucknell, where he coached Mike Muscala during Muscala’s senior season. Lee was also the 2006 Patriot League Player of the Year and played professional ball abroad before becoming a coach. Sullivan was an assistant and video coordinator with the Spurs, meaning he likely has a good connection with head coach Budenholzer.

Lee and Sullivan fill the void left by Quin Synder, who is now the head coach of the Utah Jazz, and Jim Thomas, who has been moved to a role within the front office as a scout.

There’s a common debate among bloggers, fans, media, and even in some front office circles. When should a young player be given more playing time? Many out there feel that a young player, once they show any kind of promise, should be given a lot of minutes; let them work out the kinks in a trial by fire setting. Only then will we know their worth. Others want them to earn every single minute they play. If they want to play then they have to beat out that guy in front of them no matter the skill level. Obviously both of these feel like extremes. There has to be a happy medium somewhere.

During the 2013 NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks selected Dennis Schröder. This pick excited Hawks fans. Those not happy with Jeff Teague’s play, so far in his career, claimed Schröder could be the point guard of the future in three years. After a strong summer league, this only got fans even more excited. To make things even better, Schröder had a strong beginning to the season. Unfortunately for him, that strong play didn’t continue.

As Schröder’s play faltered, another player rose. Journeyman Shelvin Mack began to outplay Schröder on a nightly basis. Mack never turned the ball over and was a consistent player, something the Hawks lacked. This left the team with a decision, do they go with trial by fire for the young rookie, or the consistent veteran where they had an idea of what they would be getting, production wise? Continue Reading…

On July 27th, Paul Millsap was added to Team USA’s provisional roster due to players like Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, and LaMarcus Aldridge deciding to forgo participation in the FIBA World Cup this summer.

Little more than a week later, Millsap was announced as one of coach Mike Krzyzewski’s first round of cuts, along with Washington’s John Wall and Bradley Beal. Among those selected over Millsap were Denver’s Kenneth Faried and Brooklyn’s Mason Plumlee.

At the time, there was not too much of a problem with this. Even with Paul George’s gruesome injury, the lynchpin for Team USA seemed to be one thing: they still had Kevin Durant. The problem with this thinking today is that the team no longer has Durant to rely on.

It was announced on Thursday that Durant would withdraw from Team USA participation, citing mental and physical exhaustion. While there is some speculation that this might have something to do with Durant being offered a $300+ million endorsement deal with Under Armour, there is plenty of merit for Durant needing some time off. Continue Reading…

L.A. Times and Basketball Insiders writer (and HawksHoop go-to fact checker) Eric Pincus tweeted yesterday that the Hawks still have up to $9.4 million in potential cap space since contracts for Shelvin Mack, Mike Scott and Kent Bazemore have been agreed to but not finalized:

Pincus further elaborated that if the Hawks sign a player into the $9.4 million in available cap space, the team could then exceed the cap to sign Mack and Scott, since Atlanta holds their “early” Bird rights. The Hawks would then be able to further exceed the cap by signing Bazemore using the “room” exception. Pincus said this is not only what the Hawks can do, it’s what the team should do:

“They’re best signing all three after using their cap room,” Pincus tweeted. Continue Reading…

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, power forward Mike Scott will remain an Atlanta Hawk.

It was ambiguous whether Scott would return to the NBA after receiving interest from CSKA-Moscow, a Russian team who offered him a “lucrative” contract.

Scott’s new contract is worth $10 million over the next three years. A large improvement over his last contract that paid him $1.26 million over two years ($473,604 in the first year and $788,872 in the second year).

Scott had a strong second season with the Hawks, averaging 9.6 points along with grabbing 3.6 rebounds in 18.5 minutes per contest. He played an impressive 80 games, staying healthy through out and finding his niche as a promising young back-up who can provide a spark off the bench as a scorer.

It will be interesting where Scott will fit in with the 2014-15 Hawks rotation since they added rookie Adreian Payne to the mix and will likely look for minutes for him.

Now that all of Atlanta’s restricted free agents are locked up, they can take their final swing at the remaining free agents and look to fill their final roster spot.

According to Yahoo! and Fox Sports NBA analyst Adrian Wojnarowski, the Hawks are one of three teams that discussed sign-and-trade possibilities for restricted free agent Greg Monroe with the Detroit Pistons. According to Wojnarowski, Monroe does not “have a great interest” in returning to play in Detroit.

Wojnarowski was interviewed at coach Mark Schmidt’s summer camp at St. Bonaventure by independent blogger and podcaster Aime Mukendi Jr. (hat tip to indispensable blogger JaeEvolution). You can listen to Wojnarowski’s remarks regarding Monroe starting at the 12:40 mark of Mukendi Jr.’s podcast. The following is a transcription of the relevant segment:

Detroit has tried to help [Monroe] with some sign and trade possibilities around the league. Monroe doesn’t really have a great interest in going back and playing with the Pistons. If they’re going to move him in a sign-and-trade, they’ve got to get value for him. They’ve got to get back some significant talent to compensate for that loss. They haven’t been able to find a deal for him.

Wojnarowski also told Mukendi Jr. that the teams that discussed a sign-and-trade for Monroe have since moved on, unable to reach a deal:

They’ve talked with Atlanta, I believe they talked with Phoenix for a while. Portland had some interest early on, but those teams moved on. They could have signed Monroe to an offer sheet but Detroit would have likely matched it.

HawksHoop.com previously discussed the merits of the Hawks pursuing a sign-and-trade for Monroe here.

With various frontcourt stars withdrawing their names from consideration for the USA national basketball team, Atlanta Hawks all-star Paul Millsap has gotten his name put up as a candidate for a roster spot in the FIBA World Cup.

“Paul has prior experience at the National Team level having participated in the 2009 National Team mini-camp and offers us veteran inside player who possesses attributes that can be beneficial for us,” said USA National Basketball team director Jerry Colangelo.

Millsap, 29, is not the only member of the Hawks getting looked at for a spot on the roster. Teammate Kyle Korver is also receiving consideration.

Neither Millsap, nor Korver were seen as potential members of team USA. Both lacking “star power” and usual athleticism that Team USA necessitates, they were seen as surplus in NBA fans minds, but Team USA knows what they are doing. Continue Reading…

It is a big day in roster moves for the Atlanta Hawks, as they have signed two players.

The team has announced that they have signed first-round draft pick Adreian Payne. Payne was selected 15th in the 2014 NBA Draft after his senior season at Michigan State, where he averaged 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Payne is also Michigan State’s all-time leader in blocked shots. (141)

Also reported is that the Hawks have signed a deal with backup point guard, Shelvin Mack.

Continue Reading…

During the NBA Draft, if you knew which writers to follow on Twitter you saw most of the picks leaked minutes before they were announced on the live TV broadcast. Then came the Hawks’ pick at 15:

*crickets*

This has become Danny Ferry’s modus operandi for conducting business. I’ve joked about it in the past, comparing the levels of secrecy in the Hawks’ front office to the CIA. For contrast, think back to the rumor that the Knicks might be willing to trade Carmelo Anthony to the L.A. Clippers for Blake Griffin. This is what’s known as a “trial balloon.” You float a rumor out there to see how people react to it, but maintain deniability that you were the source of the rumor.

Doc Rivers, the coach and GM of the Clippers, who would have final say, called the idea that he would trade Griffin “ridiculous.” Within hours, Anthony was quoted parroting Rivers, likewise labeling the prevailing trade rumors “ridiculous.” Hmm, let’s see. Anthony is a Creative Artists Agency client. Knicks GM Steve Mills is a CAA client. Before Mike Woodson took the Knicks job, he fired his longtime agent so that he could become a CAA client. Where do you think the Carmelo-for-Blake rumor came from? But Carmelo denies such “ridiculous” rumors came from his camp. Riiight. Continue Reading…