Going into Media Day, one of the biggest questions surrounded Jamal Crawford and his desire for a contract extension. Well Jamal was front center today and took on the tough questions and handled himself very well even though he was clearly a little disappointed. He stated that he didn't want to talk about the trade demand but reiterated his desire to get a contract extension done so he can stay in Atlanta.
"I honestly don’t know. I would love to work something out and be here long term. Last year I would have thought this was home and I’m part of the team’s future. But if it doesn’t work out that way I guess we will just have to cross that bridge when we get there."
Jamal said he waited ten years to be in the situation that he was in last year which was his first playoff appearance. He would clearly rather get something done so that he wouldn't be facing an uncertain outcome. He also talked about Larry Drew and the new offense stating that he was fine with however Coach wanted to use him.
More after the jump
When Al Horford was asked who the best team in the Eastern Conference was, he replied with "it is yet to be determined". This was a common theme throughout many Hawks players when they were asked a similar question many times about the Miami Heat. Al was also asked about the development of Jeff Teague and his role for the upcoming season. Horford stated that everytime he came by the gym Teague was there working.
I talked with Hawks General Manager Rick Sund about the offseason and asked him if he viewed it as a success. He answered that he thought it was a success as the biggest goal was resigning Joe Johnson who is a top 5 NBA player at his position. He added that Jordan Crawford and Jeff Teague had pretty good summers and the organization is high on both of them. He praised the signing of Josh Powell as a player coming in with championship experience and feels that Etan Thomas and Jason Collins can provide size and toughness to the club. Sund also stated that he thought the team had a good mix of young players and veterans in their prime.
I also asked Sund about Hawks second round pick Pape Sy. He replied that Sy was a feel good story who had passed every test that the Hawks had thrown at him. He stated that in pre draft workouts he held his own against some first round competition. Sund also stated that unlike last season, the D-League will be an option for Sy but that they would evaluate that situation towards the end of camp. He said that they had been talking to the Utah Flash and that the Flash would be watching the Hawks players during training camp.
Jason Collins is visibly in much better shape than he was at the end of last season. He has dropped many pounds since last years second round series against the Magic and is now looking slim and trim.
Joe Johnson was clearly the headlining player at media day as a large contingent of media surrounded him as soon as he hit the court. Like Al Horford, he was not ready to hand the Eastern Conference crown over to the Miami Heat. When asked about Larry Drew's new offensive philosophy Johnson replied that he thought the offense would help everyone but in particular, Josh Smith would benefit greatly. He described the offense as more movement, more down screens, and more pick and rolls. He said it won't be a situation where he is trying to go one on one for 48 minutes anymore.
When asked about Coach Drew Johnson says that Coach will hold every player accountable for their play. He stated that the Defensive Scheme will be changed for the better and Coach Drew will hold you accountable to the man you are matched up with defensively. When the subject of Johnson's new max contract came up he stated that he doesn't feel any added pressure and that he is "Glad to be Back" in Atlanta.