Hawks set up well to add a star

VIDEO: East Draft Review: Atlanta Hawks

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — The big free agent destinations for this summer are Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Miami.

But what about Atlanta?

Few teams are set up to sign a star better than the Atlanta Hawks, who created more cap space with a trade reportedly agreed to on Sunday.

John Salmons is under contract for $7 million next season, but the Hawks only have to pay him $1 million if they waive him by Tuesday. That’s exactly what they’re expected to do, so by trading Lou Williams‘ $5.45 million deal (Lucas Nogueira doesn’t have a contract), the Hawks have created an additional $4.45 million of cap space.

As it stands, that gives the Hawks more than $13 million of cap space total. Assuming they extend qualifying offers to restricted free agents Shelvin Mack (more important now that Williams is gone) and Mike Scott and don’t extend one to Gustavo Ayon (who played just 26 games last season), they have a little more than $15 million in cap space.

That’s not enough to offer a max contract to LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony, but it’s enough to make a serious upgrade on the wing, where DeMarre Carroll started 73 games last season.

It’s just not cap space that makes a star player a good fit in Atlanta. It’s the supporting cast.

The best way to complement a star who draws the attention of extra defenders is with shooting. And starting with Kyle Korver, the Hawks have an abundance of that. They ranked fifth in 3-pointers last season and fifth in effective field goal percentage from outside the paint. It was their ability to space the floor with all five guys that gave the Indiana Pacers a world of trouble in the first round of the playoffs.

Bigs Paul Millsap and Pero Antic can step out beyond the 3-point line and Al Horford — expected to make a full recovery after December surgery on a torn pectoral muscle — has been one of the league’s best mid-range shooters over the last few years.

Those bigs are also good rebounders, and Jeff Teague is a solid point guard who can make defenses scramble on the pick-and-roll. That takes pressure off a star to carry the offense by himself.

Of course, beyond James and Anthony, there’s not a real offensive star (on the wing) to be had in free agency. Lance Stephenson might be the closest thing, but he doesn’t quite fit into the Spurs East model that Danny Ferry and Mike Budenholzer are trying to build in Atlanta (neither does Anthony, really).

And so, while Ferry did well in clearing contracts to get to this point, his tenure with the Hawks can’t be ruled a success until he actually gets the team back where they were — making three straight trips to the conference semifinals — before he got there.

Joe Johnson‘s contract is kind of ridiculous, but the Joe Johnson that we saw in the playoffs this year is exactly the kind of the player that would fit in well with the Hawks right now. Ferry has done well to set up a strong supporting cast, but there’s one more big step to take.


  1. Rod says:

    To Me, Adreian Payne is Milsap-Scott. I was looking for a Stretch 3 that can shoot long range and to help DeMarre defend the 3 position. That position got the last four team in the playoffs – Leonard LeBron George Durant. I hope Patterson amazes us.

  2. Kimmy says:

    Joe Johnson and J Smoove are both Bums and the LAST things the Hawks need. Keep moving, Let’s Go Hawks!!

  3. chupa cabra says:

    Pual pierce would fit nicely coming off the bench.

  4. CoffeeHoops says:

    Danny Ferry is working. Let’s see what he is able to get done during free agency. I like the cap space move by trading Williams. There seem to be some possibilities out there to really improve the Hawks! IMO we need a lock down defender on the perimeter and another outside scorer. Deng and Bazemore May be the answers. We’ll see. They are going in the right direction. That’s what I appreciate about this coach and this GM. Go Hawks!

  5. Tommy says:

    Hell if Atlanta wants to spend the money bring Kevin Love in at small forward. There are plenty of talented role players to rotate in at the 1 and 2 positions.

  6. Tommy says:

    Joe Johnson is not the answer. Sure he scores decent but falters during the playoffs. Last year in Brooklyn was fluke because it was a contract year. Look at his playoff stats. They are awful. There younger, cheaper players out there that are just as good and more dependable.

  7. the rock says:

    calling joe a bum is very stupid he and j-smoove could help them with the system they have now.

  8. CT says:

    Aside from pursuing a bonafide superstar, I would like to see the Hawks acquire reliable depth, especially inside. I believe Chris Kaman is available and would fit the bill. Based on last years contract with the Lakers, he should be able to be acquired for a reasonable price. He is a fairly dependable “scrubber” who should be able to provide Horford, Millsap, and crew with adequate relief.

  9. Hawksfan4life says:

    Kevin Love playing the SF for the Hawks 14-15 on a one year 15 million contract

  10. mark says:

    The Hawks are clearing cap space trading away players for expiring Contracts the gave fits to a team.who was supposed to be a contender ( who i belive still is a contender Indiana) and did it with out Al horford BBUT AND yes there is a big but here they have mixture of players who are good but none great some even undervalued like milsap by they are by no means 1 player away from being year after year playoff team and to be honest just being a playoff team sh old not be good enuff referencing the past where they made 3 straight semifinals what does that mean ? What did they accomplish by getting there and then falling out of the playoffs losing everyone from that team . And to be honest the east is a weak conference everybody know you can make the playoffs with a losing record so that team that they had was a good team and maybe that team was a player away from.being something special in.atlanta when I say something special I am.sayong maybe conference championship but I don’t see a finals appearance because they never had the coaching they never drafted the right players they made a lot front office mistakes and they made a lot of coaching changes so there are no big names there there are no big time rookies with a lot of upside there has not been any coaching stability there to say we’ll they have a good coach with a good system they just to find the right guys to fit so yes the Hawks have some cap space but there franchise as whole has not been stable at least up to this point so overall I think this hawks some piece’s like Teague and horford milsap is good but getting up there in age and has always been undervalued due to his size but is and always has been a solid overall player korver is a very good shooter for this team but also not a starter he is not a 2 way player to keep him on the floor majority of the game antic was a very pleasant surprise of a player but can he mimic last year with horford on the floor with him so there are more questions about this team then there are answer’s

  11. CJ says:

    Best news I have heard all day. I seen this move coming (or really hoped for) for a long time now, Lou Williams’ head and attitude wasn’t in the game, I’m one of those guys that like to watch people body languages and it obviously wasn’t there and too much of his focus was on off the court issues plus his productivity was declining drastically. We need a “go to” scorer in clutch situations so I like the idea of having Joe back because he knows how to put the ball on the floor and create shots which we DO NOT have in Atlanta, If we’re gonna make it to the NBA Finals (yeah I said NBA Finals, because anything short of the Eastern Conf Finals is a failure when we have made it to 7 straight playoff appearances more than any other team in the East and haven’t seen the Conf Finals in years and Finals EVER) whoever they pick up whether Joe, Deng, Melo, or etc. needs to bring a championship mindset and attitude and be able to create shots.

  12. Kimmy says:

    I’m very sad to se Lou Williams go. This is his home and he does a lot here for his high school and community. He obviously did not fit into Coach Buds’s system so I understand the logic. The moves made good business sense. But! No Joe Johnson again! He’s a bum! No Lance Stephenson either, he’s crazy! Let’s keep the good reputation and chemistry of the current roster intact! Let’s do something spectacular this off season. Let’s Go Hawks!

  13. thrill says:

    I’m hearing Luol Deng being put in that spot. He’s solid, not sure if he’s ready to be the number one guy tho.

  14. grantstern says:

    Yeah, throw a big contract at Joe Johnson! It’ll at least get you to the 2nd round every year. Lol