It's that time again guys. The offseason can seem like a barren wasteland of inactivity with the exception of the draft. So join me as I embark on a quest for what the future holds. I envite you to critique my mock offseason (without personal attacks of course) and post your own offseason plan in the comments below. It can either be a realistic one or a best case scenario. Below the jump, you'll see what path I would take if I both owned and GMed the Atlanta Hawks. I promise an attempt at brevity so that I don't get TL;DR'ed.
For next season, the Hawks have only six players signed. Jeff Teague, Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Josh Smith, Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia combine for $60.9M. The Hawks are capped out since the salary cap is set at $58M but the key number to look for is $70.3M since that is the luxury tax threshold that the Hawks have routinely stayed under (before 2011-12).
I believe the only solution is to float Josh Smith around in trade talks. I think it would be unwise to let him walk after next season for nothing and would be willing to get 50 cents on the dollar to help cut down the overall salary of the team. Joe and Marvin's contracts make them undesirable and Al and Jeff should be kept for their great value. I think some team looking for an impact forward and believing they can get the most out of Josh will come knocking and for this activity's sake, let's go with the Milwaukee Bucks.
In an effort to rebuild the bench, I would sent Josh Smith to the Bucks for Mike Dunleavy, Shaun Livingston, Larry Sanders, and Jon Brockman. This move would shave $3M off the salary cap (according to HoopsHype.com) and Dunleavy, Livingston and Brockman would be in their last year of their respective contracts for 2012-13. Dunleavy is a long range shooter than has a propensity to get hot as well as end up injured. Livingston has certainly overcome injuries in his career but can be a serviceable combo guard. Sanders and Brockman are post player that have yet to find themselves, if they ever will.
In the NBA draft, with the 23nd overall pick, I would pick Fab Melo as I am very partial to 7 footers (although I recognize the ineptitude of past Hawks dignitaries including Jason Collins, Erick Dampier, Etan Thomas, Josh Powell, Hilton Armstrong, etc.). He is a work in progress on the offensive end, and questions remain about his ability to defend man-to-man since he was part of the Syracuse 2-3 zone for two years, but he is a big imposing post presence with the footwork and attentiveness to grab a number of rebounds. Also, for the Jon Leuer-lovers of this blog, his wingspan is huge.
In the second round, in an effort to bolster the bench with some youth, grabbing Scott Machado, an unheralded PG from the MAAC would add another floor general to partner with Jeff Teague. He's has a pure feel with the ball in his hands and has great court vision in the half court and in transition. He can also knock down long range shots, shooting 40% as a senior at Iona. However, he does little else well in terms of putting the ball in the bucket. If all shakes out well, he can be an Earl Watson-type of backup point guard in the association.
I would be among the ones to vote toward bringing back Ivan Johnson, lest I end up on his hitlist. The roster would then look like:
PG Teague - Livingston/Machado - Vet. Min.
SG Joe Johnson - Livingston/Dunleavy - Vet. Min.
SF M. Williams - Dunleavy - Vet. Min.
PF Horford - I. Johnson - Brockman
C Pachulia - Melo - Sanders
Was I a little too brash with my Josh Smith trade? Did I make good draft picks? As for a new coach and GM, I'll share with you in a later FanPost. Feel free to leave comments and your own mock offseason.