Here's our situation (credit goes to HoopsHype for the layout)
As of 2012-2013 the players the Hawks have under contract are:
Let's begin with the draft. As someone who follows little to no college basketball before the beginning of March Madness, allow me to concede any sense of sureness, but Fab Melo seems like too much of a dream to come to the Hawks. He's a true seven footer with room to add muscle and from what I've read a solid defender. The Hawks desperately need an actual center that can effectively guard big low post players, but with the roster the way it is there are other positions the draft can make an impact on. A misconception with the team is that the Hawks have an abundance of small forwards, when reality is Josh Smith is the closest player that can man the position. Marvin Williams comes to mind too of course, but way too often does he disappear rather than staying engaged and Joe is his own position.
This is why I'm beginning to fall more into favor with drafting Quincy Miller. He's only 19, he's 6'9 and has a 7'4 wingspan according to Baylor, he has some nice footwork in the post, and best of all his ceiling is in the clouds. His first year and only year at Baylor he was coming off a recent ACL injury that sidelined him the previous December ending his high school career. Wishful thinking tells us he should only gain more strength in his knee barring a setback. The selection also brings much needed flexibility in terms of rosterbation. Depending on how the 1st half of the season starts off, the Hawks can make a decision on what to do with Josh Smith. Josh IS the centerpiece of the team, the team SHOULD be built around Josh Smith, but if Josh is asking for out of ATL the addition of Miller would give the team less of a void to fill. There's also the possibly of trading Al Horford, moving Smith down to the PF spot. And lastly amnestying Marvin Williams.
Okay, trading Joe Johnson just isn't realistic! Every team knows he's going to make nearly 25 million at the age of 34.
Josh Smith and Al Horford can obviously entertain many offers.
The reason for this segment was to suggest trading Marvin Williams for Tyrus Thomas. Downside would be the Hawks become even more backloaded at the PF position; Upside he's a better option off the bench when Horford or Smith get into foul trouble. Both Marvin and Thomas have similar contracts and Jordan might be in Marvin Williams boat because of their alma mater.
Joe Johnson NEEDS to be amnestied. With the resigning of Larry Drew, maybe it's the first sign that the team will part ways with Joe Johnson. The looming question is how much will be bid on Joe Johnson after he's amnestied. His body is beginning to break down on him -- elbow surgery and knee tendonitis -- are injuries that should make fans/owners weary of his future. With JJ's health concerns creeping up on him, how much will a team bid on his services. Travis Outlaw was able to get 3 million from the Kings, so let's at least double that bid for Joe Johnson and just for good measure let's put another million in there for the man who has now been to six consecutive All-Star games. To the surprise of many he somehow received an MVP vote -- many here might not even believe he's the MVP of his own team.
If a team is willing to pick up 7 million dollars of JJ's contract, the Hawks would be in the running of getting restricted FA Nic Batum. He's a much better defender and slasher than Joe and he shoots just as well from behind the 3 pt line. His aggressiveness on put ends would give the Hawks something the team has been starving for.
UPDATED 5/22/2012 12:15am
We save some money in taxes by amnestying JJ, but the figures were too difficult to distinguish.