A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Posts Tagged ‘Al Horford

Make this trade? Al Horford for the 1st overall pick

leave a comment »

Al Horford, the 3rd pick

Al Horford, the 3rd pick (Photo credit: Wikipedia)I posted last week what I believe the Cavaliers will do if they keep the 1st overall pick. But what if they trade it? Rumors are about they’re interested in Demarcus Cousins or Kevin Love in return for the pick.

I posted last week what I believe the Cavaliers will do if they keep the 1st overall pick. But what if they trade it? Rumors are about they’re interested in Demarcus Cousins or Kevin Love in return for the pick.

The team I like as a trade partner for the pick is the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks are a team in transition with Josh Smith, Devin Harris, Zaza Pachulia and Kyle Korver all becoming unrestricted free agents this summer, potentially all gone. The core pieces remaining for the Hawks are Al Horford, Jeff Teague (who’s a restricted free agent), Louis Williams who is recovering from an ACL tear and their 1st last year in John Jenkins. They also have the 17th and 18th picks in the draft. The Hawks can choose to remake a lower seed playoff team around Horford, Teague, Williams and their picks. Or they can read the tea leaves as that after 6 straight playoff teams, but non-threatening ones, it’s time to change their tune. If they trade Horford for the 1st pick they would immediately become one of the most rebuilding centric teams in the league – in other words, they would be tanking. With the free agents on the way out and Williams likely missing the start of the season or being ineffective for some time after it, the Hawks very simply, would be awful. They go into a very highly regarded 2014 draft with a top 4-5 pick, in addition to whomever they pick at 1st this season (Nerlens Noel, Ben McLemore, Victor Oladipo, Otto Porter, etc.) and the 17th and 18th picks this year, Jeff Teague, Lou Williams and John Jenkins. If they draft well the next two seasons, the next era for the Atlanta Hawks could be kickstarted quickly. This also wouldn’t hurt their hail mary attempt at luring both Chris Paul and Dwight Howard to Atlanta. While Paul and Howard may find playing with Al Horford interesting, if they had a #1 pick to join such as Noel, McLemore, Oladipo, Porter, along with other pieces like Teague and Williams, it’d also be an alluring situation long term. The Hawks cap opportunities in upcoming years would overall be unlimited. Rebuilding teams recently have used the cap to “buy” picks from other teams, by taking their unwanted long term contract, at the cost of a pick being included. If the Hawks chose to rebuild in a deal like this, it’d be an option.

As for the Cavaliers, Dan Gilbert has been up front about wanting to make the playoffs next year, Kyrie Irving’s 3rd. This is a perfect trade to accomplish that. The frontcourt of Al Horford, Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson is excellent. Horford and Varejao are efficient offensively and intelligent defenders, a winning combination in the frontcourt. When added to a star in Kyrie Irving, a developing scorer in Dion Waiters and other acquisitions the Cavaliers have the assets and capspace to get, they’d presumably be headed for a top 6 seed in the East immediately and from there, they’d climb the ladder to contention. The Cavaliers have enough capspace that a trade like the 1st overall pick and Mareese Speights for Al Horford, easily fits under their cap, in addition to giving them more spending money to work with after. Another reason Al Horford is a great fit for the Cavaliers is he has 3 years left on his contract, not expiring until the summer of 2017. This makes him a very controllable asset, important for the Cleveland franchise. I can’t imagine Horford would be unhappy playing with a star in Kyrie Irving in Cleveland.

I see this trade as benefitting both sides. Atlanta rebuilds with the 1st pick in the draft and immediately heads to the bottom of the league to pick up another top pick next year. That’s a quick, microwave rebuild if done right. Cleveland starts winning in the Kyrie Irving and sets up their chess pieces for the next decade. The varying position of the Hawks and Cavs franchise make this trade a fit.

Written by jr.

May 30, 2013 at 8:40 pm

NBA Fan Q&A – Atlanta Hawks

leave a comment »

With their ranking of #20 on the NBA Franchise Power Rankings, I asked Atlanta fans on RealGM.com how they felt about their team:

Q: Are you confident in the Hawks direction? If everything goes right, how does this team make the leap from the 2nd round to contention?

evildallas: Direction, nope not confident. Signings during 2009 summer were made on assumption team was close and just need kept together. 2010 playoffs showed different. 2010 resigning of Joe Johnson seemed to be based in fear rather than an appraisal of his worth. Traded 2 1st round picks to undo the 2009 Bibby resigning was deemed necessary because the team hadn’t given Jeff Teague a chance to either succeed or fail. Took an injury to show that we might have had a PG all along.

theatlfan: No idea. With the team in the final stages of being sold, we don’t really have a history to go on. I’d wager that the team will be sold before the season – the ASG wants out and I think the NBA will take Meruelo over allowing us to be put into lame duck ownership purgatory until the next guy comes along. I haven’t seen too much in terms of direction out of Meruelo except for the common sound bites that ever new owner makes and I want something more tangible before deciding which direction we’re going.

Q: How do you feel about Josh Smith’s future with the team? Would you have traded him for a lottery prospect in the 2011 draft, such as a C like Enes Kanter and Jonas Valanciunas or a PG like Kemba Walker and Jimmer Fredette? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

November 11, 2011 at 12:45 pm

NBA Franchise Power Rankings: #20 – Atlanta Hawks

leave a comment »

Al Horford, the 3rd pick

Image via Wikipedia

Previous rankings:

#30 - Charlotte Bobcats (+ introduction)
#29 - Phoenix Suns
#28 - Denver Nuggets
#27 - Detroit Pistons
#26 - Milwaukee Bucks
#25 - Philadelphia 76ers
#24 - Houston Rockets
#23 - Portland Trailblazers
#22 - Toronto Raptors
#21 - Indiana Pacers

#20 – Atlanta Hawks

Total Trade Value Ranking: #19

Best assets: PF/C Al Horford (young legitimate all-star), PF/C Josh Smith (borderline all-star), SG/SF Joe Johnson (old, expensive borderline all-star), PG/SG Jeff Teague (young borderline starter), 2012 1st, 2013 1st, PF/C Zaza Pachulia (borderline starter)

Bad contracts: SF Marvin Williams (3 years, 22.3 million)

Other chips: PG/SG Kirk Hinrich (expiring)

Finances Grade: C-
Management Grade: D

Overall Synopsis:

When ranking the Hawks, I had to make an important distinction on my list. This is not a prediction of future success and potential. If it was the Hawks would rank lower. Truly, no other team in the league is treading water as much as Atlanta. But, if the team chose to make drastic moves to put them on a course trending upwards instead of downwards – they could put themselves in a better position than the below 10 teams. Just because a poker player misplays a decent hand, doesn’t mean the hand wasn’t decent. The Hawks do not have a bottom 10 hand despite a disheartening future to say the least. The biggest criteria I use for ranking this list is total trade value. Despite a future projecting between a flatline and downturn compared to a younger team like Toronto, the Hawks having an elite young piece in Horford and another borderline star in Smith still gives them the better hand at the moment.

So what do they have? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

November 11, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Oden’s Day was full of woe

with 2 comments

So, Greg Oden.  Out for the year.  Again.

A million pundits have chimed in about this, giving their own eulogy for Oden.  Zach Harper called it a “Basketball Tragedy”, distinguishing it from it from “real life tragedies” because no one died, and I think that’s a good description, but it does it get at the crux of what I feel for Oden.

It’s one thing to have one big, bad thing happen, and then have to deal with your dream just not being a real possibility any more.  Personally, I think what Oden’s gone through is far tougher.  He’s essentially the modern Charlie Brown, having the football yanked away from him just before he’s about to kick it, again and again.  I think about how it would be for me in that situation.  Surgery is not fun.  Months of rehab is not fun.  And the added negative vibes that comes down on Oden each time there’s a setback for  him despite him doing nothing wrong…man.  This is a recipe for some serious depression issues.

Sports fans tend not to see it from that angle, and tend not to take the idea of millionaire athletes getting depressed seriously, but they should.  We saw in September Denver Bronco Kenny McKinley take his life after incurring a career-threatening injury.  Often times, doing well in their respective sport is the primary source of identity for an athlete, and when that gets taken away, look out.  With that said, people seem to be on their best behavior right about now.  While Oden’s often been butt of jokes these past few years, he’s mostly getting sympathy now.

What’s bugging me right now, is the idea that there’s a lesson to be learned here.  To be fair, the people I’ve heard debating this in the recent aftermath haven’t been that bad, and I doubt I’d feel the need to rant on this if it weren’t for what came before.  Because the 2007 draft had 2 superstar prospects in it, Oden and Kevin Durant, and because Oden has struggled while Durant’s become a superstar, it’s presented a natural opportunity for hacks to say “I told you so”.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Matt Johnson

November 19, 2010 at 2:28 am