Archives For Atlanta Hawks

HawksHoop.com spoke with Rev. Markel Hutchins, organizer of a group of civil rights leaders seeking to meet with the Hawks, who said he has been in contact with Hawks officials. Rev. Hutchins said he expects the meeting, which was originally scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 10th, will be rescheduled by the end of this week for a future date. In Hawks’ CEO Steve Koonin’s apology to fans, he wrote: “We have, are and will continue to meet with community leaders, not just now, but in an ongoing way to ensure that our values reflect, in the broadest sense, the community in which we play and work.” Rev. Hutchins told HawksHoop.com that his group has not met with Hawks officials, but anticipates that meeting will take place.

“There are Hawks officials who have met with community leaders but Steve Koonin and the senior leadership were not a part of those conversations,” Rev. Hutchins said. “The civil rights leaders and I remain anxious to have that conversation. The longer it goes, the more contentious that conversation may be.”

The group Rev. Hutchins helped organize includes Joe Beasley, Southern Regional Director for the Rainbow Push Coalition; Rev. Frank Brown, President of Concerned Black Clergy of Atlanta; Ms. Helen Butler, Executive Director for the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda; ​Dr. Gerald L. Durley, co-chair for the Regional Council of Churches; the Hon. Dee Dawkins-Haigler, chair of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus; Rev. Francys Johnson, Esq., President of the Georgia NAACP; Ms. Nancy Flake Johnson, President of the Urban League of Greater Atlanta; Mr. Michael Langford, President of United Youth-Adult Conference; Ms. Janice Mathis, Esq., Vice President and Executive Director of the Rainbow Push Coalition’s Peachtree Street Project; Rev. Timothy McDonald, III, founder of the African American Ministers Leadership Council; Rev. Samuel Mosteller, Georgia President for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; ​​​Rev. Charles White, the National Field Director for the National Action Network; and Rev. Dr. R.L. White, President of the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP.

HawksHoop.com previously conducted a two-part interview with Rev. Hutchins. You can see video of the interview here.

Yahoo Sports writer Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday that the investigation that uncovered a racially-insensitive email by Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson was initiated after Hawks GM Danny Ferry used inappropriate language in describing Heat forward Luol Deng during a conference call with ownership. Wojnarowski went on to describe Ferry’s remarks as an isolated incident:

There had never previously been a suggestion that [Ferry] had been insensitive or intolerant on issues of race.

There’s just one problem with Wojnarowski’s reporting: It’s inaccurate. In 2006, Sacramento Bee reporter Marty McNeal quoted William Phillips, the agent for Bonzi Wells, accusing Ferry of using a racial slur in reference to his client:

“Ferry (allegedly) called him a (racist name),” Phillips said. “That part of it never gets reported.”

McNeal elaborated on his 2006 reporting via Twitter on Tuesday:

The statements by Wells and his agent may be untrue, as Ferry claimed, but the suggestion that Ferry had never been accused of racial insensitivity is historically inaccurate.

It appears that former Atlanta Hawks great Dominique Wilkins is interested in becoming majority owner of the Atlanta Hawks. According to TMZ, Nique is interested in taking on a bigger role with the Hawks organization.

Multiple NBA sources tell us … Dominique is “extremely interested” in becoming the next owner of the Hawks — and has already been pre-approved for ownership by the NBA.

We’re told Wilkins — who has amassed his own small fortune over the years — has partnered up with a “very well-known businessman” who believes Wilkins would be the best person to lead the Hawks back to NBA glory.

The Hawks are searching for a new majority owner after an offensive email by, soon to be former, majority owner Bruce Levenson came to light.

Nique taking over as owner might be a match made in heaven for the Hawks. This is a franchise that has never fully recovered from the day they traded their lone Atlanta superstar. No former Hawks player has been embraced the way Nique has been in Atlanta.

If this does happen, it would be a bit of a promotion for the all time great. He is currently a member of the organization as the Vice President of Basketball, and is also the local broadcast’s color commentator during games.

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…

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 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.

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…

As Kenyon Martin sat just behind the free-throw line, the world had no idea what Josh Smith would do next. Smith darts down from center court, leaps in the air, catches the toss from a seated Martin, and swung the ball back around windmill style. Boom. The Pepsi Center exploded, along with the TNT crew calling the All-Star festivities. Kenny Smith immediately proclaimed, “The dunk contest is where you make your name… His name is gonna be starting to become famous around here if he keeps doing dunks like that.”

In the next round, the 19-year old from College Park put on a vintage Dominique Wilkins jersey and dazzled the crowd – again – with a windmill tribute to the Hawks legend.

As he took home the title of 2005 Slam Dunk Champion, Josh Smith also took home another title: fan favorite. While the origin of the nickname “J-Smoove” is less than concrete, the high-flying young forward would soon earn the moniker.

At the time, it’s likely that he had little effect on me, a clueless 8 year-old who had little interest in professional basketball. Now, coming up on 18, I feel I can finally grasp just how big of an impact that one player had on some of the young stages of my life. Continue Reading…

Grantland’s Zach Lowe has declared the Atlanta Hawks among the losers in this year’s off-season, citing the team’s inability to attract a major piece despite plenty of available cap space:

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.

Contrarian that I am, I disagree with Lowe and almost everybody else about Atlanta’s off-season. Before I explain, I feel compelled to point out that the Hawks might have a completely different set of problems if Budenholzer had done what I suggested prior to Game 6 of the Indiana series and increased Shelvin Mack’s minutes at the expense of Lou Williams. Before the series, I noted that Williams (minus-15) and Elton Brand (minus-26) had the worst aggregate plus-minus against the Pacers during the regular season. In my playoff postmortem, I noted that Brand again had the worst aggregate plus-minus for the series (minus-32) while Williams was only 4th-worst at minus-21. Continue Reading…

The Hawks played their best defensive game of the summer on Wednesday as they defeated the defending-LVSL champion Golden State Warriors 68-65 in the first round of the tournament. Here’s what I noticed:

  • Dennis Schröder had another solid scoring output. He made two of his four attempts from beyond the arc, a shooting mark that is quite impressive from an inconsistent shooter like Dennis. His stroke in the first half looked so smooth and compact, but, alas, he finished the game going 5-for-15 from the field. Only four turnovers in the game, an improvement from the 12 total giveaways in his previous two Vegas outings.
  • Shoutout to my man Mike Jawz. Mike Muscala dropped a cool 14 points with a few tasty spin moves in the lane. His improved ball-handling ability – something that you don’t often see in a lanky big – has been something that caught my eye from the first Summer League game. His defense remains fundamentally sound, but he still has trouble altering shots. Not sure what the problem is there, as his hands seem to always be in the right spot (or at least close enough) during the shot contest. The bottom line with Muscala is will do whatever he can to improve his game to fit the needs of the team. Next step? Three-point shooting, which he already does decently well.
  • John Jenkins rested the second game of a back-to-back… again. I realize he was cleared to play recently and a back injury takes time to heal, but I’ve been very disappointed with his play in the Summer League. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still pulling for him to succeed. It’s just going to be harder to get opportunities like this during the regular season.
  • Continue Reading…