In contrast to signing him with the team’s cap space, the Hawks have completed a sign-and-trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder for Thabo Sefolosha, the team announced today.

“Thabo is an unselfish, competitive and playoff-tested player, and does many things well on both sides of the ball,” general manager Danny Ferry said in the team’s press release. “He also fills a need, giving us more size and depth at the wing position. He’s been a part of winning programs and will fit our culture well.”

The Hawks also acquired the draft rights to Giorgos Printezis, trading away the rights to 2003 draft pick Sofoklis Schortsanitis. Oklahoma City will also receive a trade exception out of the deal.

Sefolosha is known for his defense, but he is also a capable shooter; he shot 39% on 3-pointers over the last three seasons, hitting a high mark of 43% in the 2011-12 season when the Thunder made the NBA Finals.

The Hawks dropped to 0-3 in Summer League play with a 91-76 loss to the Trail Blazers, mostly thanks to the hot shooting of Portland’s CJ McCollum and Will Barton. Of course, we’re not interested in what happened on the Portland side. Here’s what I saw from the Hawks’ best prospects:

  • Dennis Schröder again looked confident in trying to score, even if he did not have quite the success of Sunday’s 30 point game. He did not attempt a 3-pointer, but his takes to the basket were decisive and well-finished. I liked most of his passing, but he did end up with six turnovers thanks to some old-fashioned, Summer League sloppiness. However, he did have this nice alley-oop pass to Mike Muscala in the second half.
  • John Jenkins did not play in the second half in what was likely after-effects of his back-injury from the past year. Jenkins only played eight minutes in the first half, scoring no points and accumulating three fouls. Jenkins’ future status with the team is becoming less and less concrete as time passes. It may seems harsh since he is coming off of a back injury, but I see no reason why the team should pick up his option for next season.
  • Mike Muscala was probably the team’s best player in this game, putting up 13 points and seven rebounds in 25 minutes. Despite the team having trouble on defense as a unit, I liked what Muscala was doing for most the game; he still has some learning to do, but he length helps a lot when he just tries to get vertical in defending shots. Muscala was also 1-for-2 on 3-point attempts and he has commented that he is making a concerted effort to improve that aspect of his game. Being a big that can shoot 3s is an easy way to get playing time in Mike Budenholzer’s offense.
  • Continue Reading…

Grantland’s Zach Lowe released his winners and losers from NBA free agency. Among the losers were the Atlanta Hawks, but not because of the deals of Thabo Sefelosha and Kent Bazemore. Instead, Lowe penned this on how the Hawks’ front office is having trouble even meeting with free agents:  

No one will take Atlanta’s money, despite a good core of players, a very good coaching staff, and an innovative style of play Mike Budenholzer has only just begun installing. Some stars won’t even meet with them. I almost wanted to hug Budenholzer when I saw him in Vegas. The most common theory among insiders for Atlanta’s lack of appeal is that players see the Hawks as a dull franchise with a dead crowd and a limited postseason history that almost always involves NBA TV.

That will turn around at some point, but just about everyone Atlanta has approached so far rebuffed the Hawks’ invitation to get in on the ground floor.

I have always been an ardent defender of the Hawks’ turnout for the other reason that Lowe mentions: the Atlanta version of the Hawks franchise has never really won anything of significance; no titles, no appearances in the Finals, hell, not even an appearance in the Conference Finals for the Atlanta faithful to hang their hats on.

The Hawks have four “championship” banners hanging up in Philips Arena. All four celebrate a division championship, which I don’t think is an accomplishment you should scoff at, as it is a nice accolade. It usually means that your team is in the top four in the conference and that they have some sort of chance of making it to the Conference Finals. Continue Reading…

The following paragraph is word-for-word from David Vertsberger’s first Summer League post.

The NBA’s Summer League isn’t the best place to make concrete judgments about players, but it can still be an effective platform in finding new quirks in returning athletes’ games, or specific skills of newcomers that can help in the long run.

I couldn’t have said it any better myself. Overreacting is prohibited. Let us continue.

The Hawks took on the D-League Select Team on Sunday as they attempted to secure their first victory of the summer. After their rough outing in Saturday’s game against the Washington Wizards, it was nice to see some team improvements. Here are some general notes about the game:

  • SUDDEN DEATH. WE HAD SUDDEN DEATH BASKETBALL. It was a crazy scramble to get just one shot to win. We got robbed when a goaltending call wasn’t made on a Schröder layup attempt. But, alas, it’s just Summer League…
    Missed Goaltend
  • Coach Bud must LOVE the ball movement he’s seeing from his young players. The #HamMovement is remarkable. Players are swinging and kicking, kicking and swinging, making the extra pass; this is actually my favorite part to watch in all of the Summer League. While sometimes they make errant passes, it’s expected out of these young players. Very enjoyable basketball being played by the Hawks.
  • Continue Reading…

The NBA’s Summer League isn’t the best place to make concrete judgments about players, but it can still be an effective platform in finding new quirks in returning athletes’ games, or specific skills of newcomers that can help in the long run. Hawkshoop will be bringing you these observations throughout Atlanta’s journey through the Vegas Summer League, starting with their opener against the Washington Wizards.

  • Mike Muscala really surprised today with a dribble-drive game that we didn’t see nearly this often last year. Moose was attacking on nearly every touch, using the pump fake to his advantage and creating A LOT of open looks. He rarely, if ever, went up for a shot on these takes, but was connecting perfectly on his kick outs to open shooters. Doubt this can translate well, but it was very fun to see. On the defensive end, Muscala continued to put his I.Q. on display, rotating when needed and abusing the verticality rule. However, the opposition still had no trouble actually scoring on him. If this is an issue in Vegas, it’ll still be one in the NBA unfortunately. Unsure whether the problem is lack of intimidation or mass, but it needs to be remedied if Muscala wants to be an effective defender at the next level.
  • Adreian Payne came out firing, putting up any shot that looked appealing to him. No problem with this, since a player’s first Summer League game can come with jitters and shooting your way into a rhythm can help. His shots weren’t falling, but plenty were good looks off pick-and-pops that he will get at the next level. He also showed off his athleticism with a nasty put-back slam, and was able to make good things happen out of the post. Only the first game of Summer League, but Hawks fans have to like what they have in Payne if his shot can fall at an efficient rate.

Continue Reading…

The Atlanta Hawks have signed free agent shooting guard Kent Bazemore for two years 4 million according to ESPN’s Marc Stein.

After getting almost no playing time with the Warriors, Bazemore finally broke out last year when being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. On a bad team with nothing to play for other than pride, Bazemore made the most of his situation. He shot 37% from three, scored 13 points a game, and did it all very efficiently with an effective field Goal percentage of 51%.

What Bazemore brings to the Hawks is a guy that can come off the bench and shoot threes. Considering how many the Hawks shot last year, Bazemore should fit right in. There’s concern about his inability to find playing time in Golden State, but a lot of that had to do with playing on a loaded roster of guards. There’s also concerns that Bazemore’s numbers were inflated. He played on a bad team that played no defense. His coach, Mike Dantoni, is known for making guards play better than they actually are, mainly because the Dantoni system is very favorable towards high offensive gunning, causing an inflation in numbers.

All of those concerns noted, this is a no risk signing. He’s on a low money deal for only two years. If it turns out that his numbers with the Lakers were inflated, then the Hawks just leave him on the bench and wait out his contract. He could turn out to be a great three point shooter that thrives in Mike Budenholzer’s system, becoming another weapon in an already dangerous offense.

The Las Vegas version of the NBA’s Summer League will start tomorrow. For the second consecutive year, there is a lot to watch for with the young Atlanta Hawks roster.

While rookies Dennis Schröder and Lucas Nogueira stole the show last season, one of the biggest developments was Mike Scott’s expanded shooting.

Scott shot 46% over five games, displaying a refined shooting touch from mid-range, as well as an extension of his game to the 3-point line. Scott only shot 2-for-8 from 3 while in Vegas, but it was more about seeing where Scott wanted to go with improving his game. The improvement translated to the regular season, where Scott attempted 200 3-pointers during the season. Scott only shot 31% on those shots, but the expansion in his game added greater space on offense for himself and the entire team.

Will we see that kind of improvement from a player on this year’s Summer League roster?

Of the players in Vegas for the Hawks, three of them — Mike Muscala, John Jenkins, and Schröder — saw time during the regular season with the team. 2014 draft picks Adreian Payne, Edy Taveres, and Lamar Patterson will also see their first NBA related playing time. Eric Dawson, who played for last year’s Summer League team and was a training camp invite, is on the roster as well. Continue Reading…

After Atlanta Journal-Constitution Hawks beat writer Chris Vivlamore posted his story announcing the signing of guard Thabo Sefolosha, formerly with Oklahoma City, to a 3-year, 12 million contract, he was so surprised by the number of negative comments that he posted this in the comments section:

Wow, have to admit I’m a little shocked by the reaction to the signing. I like it, for what it is. A player to come off bench, step in if Korver or Carroll go down, who can move the ball, shoot the occasional 3 (I like his stroke) and play defense. Plus, comes from winning organization. That will help. Not the over-the-top piece everybody is looking for but a start.

The AJC.com Hawks blog community, which I’ve been part of since around 2005, is known for its negative comments. For C-Viv to express shock at the reaction to Sefolosha’s signing indicates that this went beyond normal forum trolling. Why so much negativity directed toward a free agent signing that addresses the obvious need for improved wing defense?

To answer that, I need to first give an overview of the Hawks’ cap situation. Below are the 13 players the Hawks have under contract and their respective salaries. Also included is $1 million that must be paid to John Salmons, assuming the Hawks cut him by the negotiated deadline of July 10th. If cut by the Hawks, the $1 million will be deducted from the team’s cap space for this season. Continue Reading…

NOTE: The following piece was written prior to the announcement of the Hawks’ signing of Thabo Sefolosha for three years and $12 million, reducing the Atlanta’s available cap space to around $13 million. I will have a piece up later today on why I feel the Sefolosha signing fails to move the needle. 

With two of the big-name free agents, Marcin Gortat and Kyle Lowry, opting to remain with their current teams, options are drying up. This is even the case for the Miami Heat, which obtained flexibility after the Big 3 of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh opted out of their contracts. The Heat, like all other NBA teams with available cap space, are watching the free agent options dwindle rapidly.

Last summer I wrote about 10 free agents I considered realistic options for the Hawks. Of those players, seven signed multi-year contracts with other teams, one is a league pariah whom I still like (Ivan Johnson) and two played on 1-year deals and are free agents again (Anthony Tolliver and Al-Farouq Aminu). The latter two are mentioned as possible veteran-minimum signees for the Heat in an analysis by Tom Haberstroh for ESPN Insider.

Anthony Tolliver

After shooting 34% from 3-point range in his single season with the Hawks, Tolliver went into video game mode in the playoffs, shooting 64%. Haberstroh notes that Tolliver shot 41.3% from 3-point range for the Bobcats this season and feels he would be perfect for Eric Spoelstra’s system. Tolliver played only 21 minutes in the playoffs against the Heat and made one of two attempts, so there was no opportunity for another post-season breakout. Continue Reading…

Sam Amick and David Aldridge have confirmed a report by RealGM’s Shams Charania that the Atlanta Hawks have inked former member of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Chicago Bulls, Thabo Sefolosha. The contract is a reported $12 million over three years, or $4 million a season.

Sefolosha has been a key cog in Oklahoma City’s dominance for five straight seasons, starting in every game he’s played in since the 2009-10 season. His meal ticket? Defense. Sefolosha would regularly guard the Thunder’s best opposing player on a nightly basis, and did it well. Offensively, Sefolosha didn’t bring much to the table, but for a couple of seasons was knocking down the three-point shot at an over 40% rate.

So why did the Thunder bench this fitting role player during the 2014 Playoffs? His efficiency sunk, possibly because of the calf troubles that caused him to miss a chunk of games in the latter part of the year. Sefolosha was suddenly a liability on the offensive end, unable to make defenses pay for helping off him. Thabo is now 30 years old, so he won’t be developing any new skills on the offensive end that can offset his shaky jumper, and it won’t be long before his defense begins sliding.

However, for the interim, Sefolosha is a solid get for the Hawks. He’s still very much there defensively, and if the Hawks can get him to connect on an average rate from downtown in their system, he’ll be a big plus. As for where he fits in, I’d imagine he’ll be a reliever for DeMarre Carroll who had to chase around the league’s best for Atlanta all season long. The Hawks needed depth at the wing spot and now they have it.

It’s been a couple of days since free agency began, and the Hawks have signed their first new player. Welcome to Atlanta, Thabo.