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Hawks head toward an uncertain future
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On May 15, 2012 @ 5:00 am In All,Wirenews | Comments Disabled
The summer of uncertainty began officially for Hawks the moment they walked off that floor in Boston in Game 6, losers in a win-or-go-home playoff game that they knew would signal the end of an era.
Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Al Horford and Marvin Williams form the nucleus of a team that was good enough to make the playoffs five straight years, good enough to make the second round three straight years, but not quite good enough to advance beyond that point during their time together.
Now everyone is in limbo. General manager Rick Sund and his staff have contracts that expire at the end of this season, head coach Larry Drew and his staff have the same. More than half of the roster, including almost all of the reserves that helped the Hawks survive this injury-plagued season, were on one-year deals. And the ownership situation remains a bit murky, a potential sale last summer coming undone and new prospects still not clear.
The futures of Smith, Williams and perhaps even Johnson could be in flux during what could be a tumultuous summer for the Hawks as they figure out who stays and who goes on a team that is clearly in need of revamping.
Jeff Teague is the point guard the Hawks have been looking for the past few years. Horford, when healthy, is a franchise pillar, he’s as good on the court as he is stable in the locker room and reliable off the court.
But beyond those two pieces, the Hawks have some hard choices to make about what to do with everyone else.
Smith asked for a trade this season, only to have his demands ignored by management and ownership, knowing that they couldn’t lose their best player and top attraction in a year when Horford missed all but 11 regular season games with a torn pectoral muscle.
“I’m under contract one more year with the Hawks,” Smith said, not exactly a ringing endorsement for the team’s longest tenured player and hometown hero. But his words might as well be the mantra for all involved.
Sund’s name has surfaced in connection with the open general manager’s job in Portland. Drew could be on short lists in Charlotte, he has a long relationship with Bobcats owner Michael Jordan, and elsewhere.
Johnson made his displeasure with the way things are run clear when he complained about not getting enough shots before Game 5 of the Celtics series and then promptly laid down in Game 6 as Smith and Horford did all the heavy lifting down the stretch, only to see the Hawks come up short in the end, yet again.
Uncertainty reigns supreme for these Hawks. July 1 and the start of free agency and the official kickoff of the offseason can’t get here soon enough.
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