Links: Trade For The Hawks?

by Lang Whitaker

OK, tired and run-down here, so much so that I didn’t even make it to Steve Nash’s soccer game tonight. HOWEVA!, last night I went to the New Era/EA Sports/Blake Griffin party at the New Era flagship store, though I didn’t get to speak to Blake. (And I wasn’t really trying to, considering Cub had him locked.) Then today I went out to the Media Day stuff, and I videoed that experience.

But first, quickly, the Hawks and Warriors are close to making a trade. The Hawks would move Speedy Claxton and Acie Law, who played about 20 minutes combined last season, to Golden State in exchange for Jamal Crawford. As weird as this deal sounds, I think it works for Atlanta, for several reasons.

Now, I am also assuming that the Hawks wouldn’t trade for Crawford and then re-sign Mike Bibby. You don’t have a guy making $9 million a year chilling on the bench. (Well, the Hawks don’t do that.) So my guess — and this is only a guess — is that the Hawks are bringing in Crawford and then spending the $5 million they save on Marvin Williams and Zaza Pachulia. And then with the 19th pick tomorrow they’ll draft a point guard.

Again, that’s just my initial guess. If that’s what the Hawks are doing, here’s why I like this move:

1. The Hawks are basically giving away dead weight and getting in return a guy who can play the 1 or the 2. Yes, Claxton and Law are expiring contracts next summer, but we don’t need two guys not playing taking up cap space. And Law and Claxton were not going to play on the Hawks this season.

2. Crawford isn’t much of a defender, which is what earns one playing time in the Mike Woodson regime. Then again, Crawford is a better defender than Mike Bibby. You, my reader, whoever you are, are likely a better defender than Mike Bibby.

3. Crawford’s best asset is his ability to go one-on-one and break guys down off the dribble. And that’s pretty much all the Hawks do on offense, so he’ll fit right in.

4. Crawford isn’t much of a ballhandler, but Bibby wasn’t really either. As long as Jamal can get the ball up the floor and get the Hawks into their offense, that’s all they need. Because they’re going to go one-on-one eventually anyway.

The one area where the Hawks lose ground is in leadership. One of the Hawks players once told me that the one thing Bibby brought the day he showed up was “swagger,” and that helped push the Hawks to a higher level. I’m not sure if Joe Johnson has that in him, and I don’t know that any other current Hawks do either. So maybe we can sign a vet/locker room guy.

Then again, this isn’t a done deal. Until it is, we’ll wait.

I’ll be posting this year’s Draft hats contest shortly on the homepage. In the meantime, here’s the video I took today at the 2009 NBA Draft media day…