Atlanta mayor: Talked to 6 possible Hawks owners (Yahoo Sports)

ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 27: General Manager Danny Ferry of the Atlanta Hawksspeaks during a press conference introducing the Hawks 2014 picks on June 27, 2014 at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)

ATLANTA (AP) — Mayor Kasim Reed said Tuesday he has already talked with six potential buyers of the Atlanta Hawks and expects a sale of the team to move quickly after racially charged comments by owner Bruce Levenson and general manager Danny Ferry.


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Breaking Down Atlanta Hawks’ Shooting Guard Position for 2014-15 Season

Shooting guard looks like a stable if unspectacular position for the Atlanta Hawks in 2014-15.

Last year’s starter, Kyle Korver, is back for another season with the team. Korver’s dead-eye three-point shooting ability will provide Atlanta’s first string with the spacing necessary to run its offense well.

But who will support Korver at the position?

The front office’s offseason moves will undoubtedly affect the Hawks’ production at shooting guard as it compares to last year. Gone is Louis Williams, who the team traded to the Toronto Raptors in order to clear cap space. The Hawks also brought in Thabo Sefolosha and Kent Bazemore in free agency, both of whom have played primarily shooting guard throughout their careers.

How will Sefolosha and Bazemore factor into the 2-guard position? Will Korver reach the 34 minutes per game he played last season? Are there any dark-horse shooting guards to look out for? We’ll answer these questions and many more in this article.

But first, let’s take a look at how the Hawks shooting guards performed last year.

 

Grading the Hawks Shooting Guards in 2013-14

Below is a table presenting the statistics of the team’s shooting guard production versus its opponents last season.

As you can see, the Hawks shooting guards performed a little bit worse than their counterparts in 2013-14. But considering what the team had to work with, that is nothing to be ashamed of. 

Korver was a straight-up sniper last year, as he always is. He led the NBA in three-point field-goal percentage (.472) and shot at least 40 percent from downtown in each month of the season. 

Just let that second statistic sink in.

In the month Korver was the coldest from three-point land (April), he still made two out of every five treys he shot. If he had sustained that success rate over the entire season, he still would have placed ahead of knockdown shooters Dirk Nowitzki, J.J. Redick and Kevin Durant in three-point accuracy.

However, Korver was by no means an excellent all-around player last year. He was a willing defender, but his below-average athleticism prevented him from being a stopper on that end. He was also a solid passer but rarely created his own shots.

After Korver, the Hawks tabbed a hodgepodge of players at the 2-guard position, but nobody established himself as the clear second-string shooting guard.

Williams and Shelvin Mack were the best shooting guards off the bench, but neither had the size to play the position at a consistently high level. Williams, known as a microwave off the bench, averaged just 15.6 points per 36 minutes in a down year by his standards. Mack’s best minutes came when he played point guard.

Cartier Martin and to a lesser extent John Jenkins also chipped in some minutes at 2-guard. Neither was a true difference-maker, though.

This was a relative position of weakness for the Hawks in 2013-14, but Korver’s ability to perfectly fit the floor-spacer role keeps the grade respectable.

Overall Grade: C

 

How Did the Offseason Change the Shooting Guard Rotation?

First, let’s look at the shooting guards the Hawks will be missing from last year’s rotation, Williams and Martin.

Williams, who played 34 percent of the team’s minutes at shooting guard, per 82games, was traded to the Raptors to clear cap space for the Hawks. Martin, who signed a contract with the Detroit Pistons this summer, mainly played small forward but still logged 6 percent of Atlanta’s minutes at 2-guard last year.

The signings of both Bazemore and Sefolosha will easily offset the loss of the aforementioned players.

Bazemore is a high-energy all-around player who possesses the size (6’5″) at shooting guard that neither Williams (6’2″) nor Mack (6’3″) could supply for the Hawks last year. He’s still only 25 years old and eager to prove he has a place as a valuable contributor in the NBA.

The 30-year-old Sefolosha is a long defender accustomed to high-pressure situations (78 career playoff games) and to playing as a starter (407 starts) from his tenure with the Oklahoma City Thunder. If he can be more consistent with his on-and-off jump shot, the Hawks will have a valuable 3-and-D player off the bench.

 

What Will the Shooting Guard Rotation Look Like in 2014-15?

At 33 years old, Korver played arguably the greatest basketball of his career last year under Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer, as Grantland‘s Zach Lowe pointed out.

Lowe said the following about Korver:

No coach has unleashed the full breadth of Korver’s game like Budenholzer. Korver isn’t a traditional pick-and-roll player; he can’t dribble the ball 25 feet to the rim, juking dudes along the way. But Budenholzer has tailored a sort of hybrid species of pick-and-roll to his secret star — a high-speed curling action in which Korver takes a pitch or a handoff, probes the defense with a dribble or two, and makes the next pass from there:

The spacing Korver provides for the starting unit and his newfound ball-handling chops keep him as a lock for the first unit.

After Korver, things get a bit interesting.

Sefolosha is accustomed to playing shooting guard, but that’s mostly because the Thunder had four-time scoring champion Kevin Durant manning the small forward position. The new Hawk’s skill set is better suited to the 3, where he can spell starter DeMarre Carroll, whose game resembles Sefolosha’s. 

That leaves Bazemore, Mack and Jenkins as the three main candidates to seize the backup shooting guard job.

We can first eliminate Mack, who demonstrated at the end of last season that point guard is clearly his best position. As 82games shows, he was a totally different player when he initiated the second unit’s offense.

I predict that Bazemore will take the second-string shooting guard slot over Jenkins. Although Jenkins is a fantastic outside shooter, Bazemore can offer the Hawks help in more areas, such as defense. I’m willing to bet DeMarre Carroll still remembers getting his layup attempt swatted away by his future teammate last season. 

Jenkins will settle in as the third-string 2-guard without much competition, barring roster moves.

 

Conclusion

With Korver, Bazemore and Jenkins in the rotation and Thabo Sefolosha and Shelvin Mack getting spot duty, the shooting guard position is not one the Hawks need to be worrying about too much heading into 2014-15, unlike last season.

The Hawks should definitely be preparing for a serious ascent up the Eastern Conference standings with the help of their new position of strength.

                                                          

Playing-Time Predictions

Kyle Korver: 31 minutes per game (24 at shooting guard)

Kent Bazemore: 22 minutes (17 at SG)  

John Jenkins: 12 minutes (10 at SG)

Thabo Sefolosha: 24 minutes (six at SG)   

Shelvin Mack: 20 minutes (two at SG)     

 

Note: All stats used are from Sports-Reference.com unless otherwise indicated.      

                                                                                                         

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Atlanta Hawks: 3 reasons Al Horford will be an All-Star

The Atlanta Hawks’ season went slightly downhill last year when they lost center Al Horford, who is arguably the face of the franchise.
Horford was undoubtedly the Hawks leader on and off the court. He led the Hawks by averaging 18.6 points and 8.4 rebounds per game during the 29 games he played before the injury. During that stretch he shot nearly 57 percent from the floor and hit two game winners.
Without a shadow of a doubt, these numbers would have been good enough to grant Horford a trip to New Orleans for the 2014 All-Star game. Unfortunately for Horford, he hasn’t been given that invitation since 2011. Horford made two consecutive All Star appearances in 2010 and 2011. Since then his numbers have improved and we can only assume that he will continue to improve.
The question is will his improvement be enough for the NBA fans to vote Horford to his third All-star game?
The short answer is yes. Here are three reasons he will be an All-Star:
Horford is entering the last year of his contract
The Hawks

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Atlanta Hawks CEO Issues Apology To Fans In Letter, Promises Change

The Atlanta Hawks announced in an open letter Saturday that they’re going to take “a hard look” at themselves and institute strong measures in order to repair their reputation, which was damaged by racist comments made by owner Bruce Levenson and general manager Danny Ferry.
In the letter, CEO and co-owner Steve Koonin said that the organization must “own (their) shortcomings and failures.”
Koonin then apologized to Hawks fans and highlighted steps, such as hiring a chief diversity officer and working with diversity consultants, that will “help build bridges through basketball, not divide our community or serve as a source of pain.”
Koonin also promised to bring in a new owner that will “cultivate an inclusive, respected and vibrant fan base.”
The team currently us looking for suitors to purchase Levenson’s share of the team.
Below is the full letter written by Koonin to Hawks fans.
Filed under: Andre Khatchaturian, NBA, Top Stories

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Elton Brand Re-Signs with Atlanta Hawks: Latest Contract Details and Analysis

The Atlanta Hawks have re-signed one of the top veterans still on the market in power forward Elton Brand. The sides agreed to a one-year, $2 million deal on Wednesday.

Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowksi had the news:

Brand, 35, has averaged 16.6 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks over the course of his 15-year career, but his production has dropped significantly in the past few seasons. Still, he provided 5.7 points and 4.9 rebounds in an average of 19.4 minutes per game last year.

While he is getting up there in age, he explained to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he does not consider his career over:

“It has. It’s sad because I’ve been doing it for a long time and I love it. Body feels good and I didn’t miss any games because of injury so as long as I can still compete and help out a team, hopefully this team, we’ll see.”

Vivlamore noted that there was competition for the veteran’s services:

Meanwhile, NBA analyst Chris Palmer explained why this would have been a good move for the Los Angeles Lakers:

In the end, Brand decided to remain in Atlanta. They will now get an experienced frontcourt player who can provide solid defense off the bench as well as consistent points near the basket.

Although the two-time All-Star is no longer an impact player in the lineup, his addition to the rotation will certainly lead to a few more wins over the course of the season.

In addition to the production Brand will provide on the court, the veteran will provide plenty of leadership for the young players already on the roster. Considering he has had four seasons of averaging at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in his career, he is someone who can be a mentor.

This relatively cheap signing represents very little risk for the organization and should pay off in a big way during the 2014-15 season.

 

Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.

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Report: Dominique Wilkins Interested in Buying Atlanta Hawks

With Atlanta Hawks controlling owner Bruce Levenson heading for the hills, it could come to pass that a franchise legend takes a seat in the owner’s box at Philips Arena come the 2014-15 season. 

TMZ reports that former Atlanta Hawks star Dominique Wilkins is “extremely interested” in purchasing a stake in the franchise, if and when Levenson sells his share of the team.

It’s an interesting proposition, considering Wilkins is in between “blue skies” and “sweet tea” on the list of things Georgians love. The question, of course, is money. 

The Human Highlight Reel would need enough scratch to beat out competing bids for a controlling stake in the Hawks—a team Forbes.com values at $425 million.

To that end, it would appear the nine-time All-Star has called in backup. TMZ reports that Wilkins is teaming up with a “very well-known businessman” for the venture and has already been “pre-approved” for ownership by the league.

Will Wilkins be the owner of the Atlanta Hawks? Probably not. Should he be the owner of the Atlanta Hawks? Fine by me.

The team’s front office is scrambling for cover. Levenson is cutting ties with the franchise after self-reporting a racist email he penned in 2012, while Hawks general manager Danny Ferry sits on the chopping block after reading a racially insensitive scouting report aloud to the team’s ownership in June. 

The Hawks need somebody—anybody—to salvage the Hindenburg PR disaster consuming Atlanta from the inside out. If not Wilkins, they at least need a member of society with a working sense of decency and proficiency in reading comprehension.

Wilkins was your guy on the court, Atlanta. Maybe he can be your guy in the board room.

 

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Can Dennis Schroder Shake off Rookie Year with Atlanta Hawks Next Season?

Let’s be honestDennis Schroder was a huge disappointment in his rookie season for the Atlanta Hawks last year. The 20-year-old German point guard was turnover-prone, struggled with his jump shot and didn’t adjust well to the athletic defenders of the NBA.

But it’s way too early to give up on him. 

Schroder has shown flashes of star potential in a variety of settings, especially in competitions during the NBA offseason. Now, it’s time for him to prove he truly belongs in the world’s top basketball league.

Can we expect Schroder to break out in his sophomore campaign? Let’s take a realistic look at what the youngster can do for the Hawks in 2014-15.

 

What Happened Last Season?

Schroder was sashimi-level raw on offense last season.

Probably his biggest issue was a penchant for forcing passes and drives. In just 13.1 minutes per game, Schroder gave the ball to the other team 1.2 times. When you’re only dishing out 1.9 assists per contest, that number is unacceptable.

Adam McGee of Hoops Habit noted several occasions last season where Schroder would enter the game, immediately commit a turnover and then get pulled from the game by head coach Mike Budenholzer. McGee had this to say about Schroder’s turnovers:

Although it’s a tough part of the learning process, Schroder needs to learn to treat possession with greater care. He has excellent court vision for finding teammates, and a plethora of creative passes in his locker, but with his turnover rate that’s all irrelevant.

Another problem for Schroder was outside shooting. 

The Hawks weren’t expecting much from Schroder in that area, but he still underwhelmed. The speedster made just 29.4 percent of his jump shots and 38.3 percent of his total shots in 2013-14. When the season ended, he had five more shots attempted than points scored.

On the positive side, Schroder showed excellent potential on defense last season. He used his elite quickness to play full-court on-ball defense against opposing point guards, and he stayed in good position most of the time. His instincts on that end drew comparisons to Rajon Rondo, whom Schroder idolizes, according to the Hawks’ official website.

Ultimately, Schroder’s warts on offense outweighed his strong defense, resulting in a rookie campaign that was somewhere between mediocre and terrible. 

 

How Did Schroder Do in Summer Competition?

Schroder looked like a seasoned point guard in both the Las Vegas Summer League and in international play with Germany this summer.

He averaged 15.7 points and 3.3 assists per game for the Hawks’ Vegas Summer League team, including a 30-point explosion against the D-League Select team, according to NBA.com. You can find the highlights from that game below. Notice the trust he showed in his outside jumper that was lacking most of last season.

In August, Schroder helped his German national squad qualify for Eurobasket 2015 with several monster performances throughout the tournament. Per NBA.com, he averaged 15.3 points and 5.3 assists while shooting 57 percent from the field and 100 percent from the free-throw line in the six games.

It wasn’t against legitimate NBA competition, but Schroder showed the ability to lead both his Summer League and German teams with a combination of scoring, playmaking and defense.

And that’s most definitely something he can build off of heading into his second season.

 

Where Does Schroder Fit in the Hawks Rotation?

The point guard depth in Atlanta is some of the best in the league. Jeff Teague, Shelvin Mack and Schroder all figure to positively impact the Hawks in 2014-15.

Teague is the clear-cut starter, a potential All-Star who can score and pass equally well. Mack established himself as one of the league’s better backup point guards last season, with his reliable jump shot and playmaking abilities. The Hawks even rewarded him with a three-year, $7.3 million contract this summer, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski (h/t Jay Desai of Soaring Down South)

So where does that leave Schroder?

At this point, he’s likely the third-string floor general for the Hawks, with a chance to move past Mack. Barring a trade, that could mean about 15 minutes per game, or slightly more if Mack shifts over to the shooting guard position more this year.

As Schroder’s rookie season showed us, it’s hard to play limited minutes as a point guard and find your rhythm. But unfortunately, he seems to be headed to another season without substantial playing time—if he stays in Atlanta. 

Another possibility for the Hawks is trading him. Schroder may play so well that another NBA team decides it’s worth it to give up some assets to groom him as its point guard of the future. In that case, the Hawks could benefit greatly by getting a future draft pick, a proven role player or a blue-chip prospect at a position other than point guard. 

  

What Will He Do In 2014-15?

Sorry, Hawks fans, but Atlanta is just too deep for Schroder to break out in the upcoming season.

He’ll build off a strong summer to become a more reliable shooter and passer, but Teague and Mack will continue to steal the majority of the minutes at point guard. 

However, Schroder’s ceiling is higher than Mack’s, so he may move up the depth chart sooner rather than later. Or the Hawks may look to get some nice value for him on the trade market.

 

2014-15 Stat Predictions (assuming Schroder does not get traded):

14.8 minutes per game, 5.5 points, 1.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.6 steals, 1.2 turnovers, 41 percent on field goals, 32 percent on three pointers, 85 percent from the free-throw line, 10.9 PER, 0.046 win shares per 48 minutes

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Atlanta Hawks: Can the team recover without Danny Ferry?

In late April, Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling took some heat for a racist voicemail he left for his girlfriend urging her not to bring African Americans to his stadium. Donald Sterling received a lifetime ban and was forced to sell the team.
The Clippers’ players responded by wearing their jerseys inside-out in pregame warmups.
The Atlanta Hawks never garnish national attention, but this week has been different. Majority owner Barry Levenson announced his intent to sell the team. Levenson’s decision seemed like an obvious one once more details were released about an email he sent to Hawks’ General Manager Danny Ferry.
In this letter Levenson revealed his displeasure in the area around Philips Arena and in particular the number of black fans in attendance.
Levenson said he values “white fans more than black fans” & that he was “afraid the white fans were intimidated by the black fans” #ATLHawks
— Brian Garcia (@BrianM_Garcia) September 7, 2014
Straight from Levenson’ email

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Bruce Levenson to Sell Atlanta Hawks After Racist Email

Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson has plans to sell the NBA franchise after revealing he drafted a racially charged email. Levenson released a statement vaguely describing the two-year-old email. Per CNN, the message “involved the interests of the team’s white and black fans — including music and the race of cheerleaders —and whether the team’s ‘white fans might be afraid of our black fans.’” The post Bruce Levenson to Sell Atlanta Hawks After Racist Email appeared first on Basketball Bicker.

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Read Bruce Levenson’s racist email that prompted him to sell the Atlanta Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks have released the racist email from 2012 that owner Bruce Levenson sent to team officials with his suggestions to attract “more suburban whites” to games.
Levenson is selling his controlling interest in the team after he self-reported the email.
 

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