Running around to Give you the Reacharound


Hawks Envious of Falcons, Braves Recent Woes, Throw Their Hat in the Ring

Being that this is a blog, and nobody is currently reading it (it's in the 'beta' stages, I'd like to think), I think I'm going to attempt the whole 'brevity' angle with this post. As much as I would love to go into an in-depth article about how I have been a Hawks fan since the age of eight and said fandom has caused me nothing but disappointment and heartache, the singular statement that "I am a Hawks fan" should suffice in that department.

There is also no need to go into the perils of their ownership group and the lethargic pace at which they move to sign and/or acquire free agents. That's all been well documented. However, their hesitation to re-sign their two young, talented, vital rotation studs, Josh Smith and Childress, has left a bitter taste in my mouth to the point that I can say with certainty that I will not pay directly for Hawks/Phillips Arena tickets, concessions or merchandise until the ownership finds it imperative to put a quality product on the hardwood this upcoming season. If this means purchasing a scalped ticket after tipoff, sneaking in a pint of Evan Williams, and bumming ice off beer vendors, so be it.

Rare is the individual that can pull off the 'fro and mexi-stache.

Initially, I found the Hawks method in regards to Smith fairly smart. Seeing as how they could match any offer for the restricted free agent, they allowed Smith to test the open market. Once the 76ers signed Elton Brand and the Clippers used their cap space to acquire Marcus Camby (an excellent addition, by the way), Smith had essentially fallen into the Hawks lap. Sign him to a lucrative extension and lock up an extraordinary young talent that happens to be from Atlanta.

I didn't buy into Mark Stein's theory that Smith does not want to return to Atlanta. I am sure he was not pleased with how the process played out, but such is the nature of the NBA's business. The Hawks could have offered him a fair contract, something beyond the 9mil/year they offered him before the 2007-2008 season, and he could have elite-level contract he desired. But the news that the Hawks have essentially not made an offer, and are only making courtesy phone calls to keep him placated, pisses me the fuck off, quite frankly. The fact that they likewise continued this lip-service with Childress as well, is inexcusable.

I admire fiscal restraint by sports franchises. I really do. But fiscal restraint (New England Patroits) and fiscal stupidity (LA Clippers from 1980-2004) are two entirely different things. To not offer a contract to two of your five best players, players that have grown in a system that the organization has apparently bought into (by re-signing Mike Woodson…another problem entirely) is ignorant. A few days ago, I bought into Braves and Birds theory that the Hawks strategy had paid off, but with the most recent news that Childress is fleeing to Europe for an extremely flexible contract of 3yrs/20mil, that thought process seems faulty at best now. Thanks to the NBA's soft cap, the Hawks had the ability to offer more than the reported 5yr/33mil deal, especially if they are not serious about locking up Smith long-term. In fact, the AJC’s Sekou Smith is reporting that the Hawks actually yanked a more lucrative offer off the table when Childress’ camp did not immediately accept the offer. What the fuck? What kind of business strategy is this?!?! Is the art of negotiation lost on these idiots? (Dumb question.) Now they have lost a legitimate young talent to Europe for a few years in his prime…and in the process adopting the mantra of becoming the first NBA franchise to allow a US-born player to do so.

The academic crowd at Free Darko has weighed in on this, and while I see their points regarding the situation from Childress' POV and the eternal "dollar vs. euro" debate, at the end of the day, the Hawks are at the cusp of losing two key cogs to a team that brought the team to the forefront of the local sports scene for a brief moment in time just a couple of months ago.

Enjoy this while you can, Hawks fans.

Going into the summer, the Hawks brass stated it was priority 1 and 1A to re-sign the Joshes, and as most of their statements during their tenure, that has been proven false. It seems very likely at this point that NBA fans have seen their last look at JChill's fro in live game action for a few years, and even more likely Josh Smith will sign a one-year qualifying offer before high-tailing it out of here as soon as the 2008-2009 season is in the books. Not that the Hawks fans have been over-the-top loyal over the last couple of decades, but any and all goodwill that had been built up during the Boston series is dangerously close to becoming all for naught. It's your move, Atlanta Spirit. I wish I had an ounce of hope that you will, as your 2008 Hawks marketing slogan suggested, "Rise Up."


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I posted on this over at Hoopinion, and I'll restate it here. This totally and completely inferiates me to the point of wanting to be done with this franchise. Those ass-clowns that make up the Atlanta SPirit are ruining not just one pro team in the ATL, but two with their same mis-management of the Thrashers and I really wish they would take a late night trip on MARTA.

The fans deserve so much more, but this ownership and management group do not and if Smith walks, then it's their own fault. I can't wait to hear the ruling on the ownership struggle and I am now actually hoping they lose to the Boston millionare.

I also feel bad for Law and Horford for being brought into this mess without a choice. If I were both of them I would have my agent start looking at the contract and seeing if there was any way to get the hell out of town.