HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Please forgive the headline writers for going all Billy Shakespeare on us this morning (hey, it was staring right at ’em, they couldn’t resist).
But the Hawks are facing a classic quandary regarding two of their most important players. Do they extend one player at the expense of further agitating another? That is the question.
Larry Drew‘s first training camp as head coach of the Atlanta Hawks is entering the frisky stages for reasons that have nothing to do with the game of basketball.
The facts: Jamal Crawford wants a contract extension or a trade. Al Horford is going to get a lucrative extension worked out sometime in the next couple of weeks, well deserved by the way, which will no doubt infuriate the Crawford camp (since they haven’t been able to engage in serious talks about either of his requests with Hawks management since asking about it in July).
The reigning Sixth-Man of the Year award winner, Crawford isn’t the only player coming off of a stellar season that is unhappy with his contract situation. Houston The reigning Most Improved Award winner, Rockets point guard Aaron Brooks, like Crawford a Seattle native, isn’t pleased that the Rockets aren’t interested in negotiating a new deal.
Both sides make understandable cases. Crawford and Brooks want security in advance of a new collective bargaining agreement that might not be favorable to the players. Both the Hawks and Rockets have to be cautious in how much they spend for the very same reasons, the uncertainty of the next CBA. They could end up overpaying wildly for players (Horford does not qualify, he’s a 24-year-old All-Star and arguably the second best player in his draft class behind Kevin Durant) that wouldn’t command the same dollars on free agent market with a different set of parameters designed to benefit the teams.
While Hawks general manager Rick Sund has remained silent on his process with both Crawford and Horford, Rockets GM Daryl Morey has provided some wonderfully plain language that should be easy for anyone to follow:
“We’re not doing extensions,” Morey said. “Quite a few guys on the team are up for extensions. Just policy-wise, we’re not doing it.
“Obviously, every player would want an extension. I don’t blame them for that. All we can do is the best for the Rockets. They’re doing the best for themselves. Make sure they know the reason we’re doing it has nothing to do with how you value the player or anything like that. It’s just we’re trying to keep ourselves as flexible as possible going forward.”
What would you do?