The Atlanta Hawks made a substantial investment in former San Antonio Spurs center Dewayne Dedmon earlier in July and, at the moment, it appears reasonably likely that the 27-year-old will be the team’s starting center on opening night. While the team provided him with a two-year contract (now known to start at $6 million with incentives) that includes a player option, it would be easy to argue for the deal from a pure value perspective given his per-minute production.
Still, there is always more to the story when it comes to the reasoning behind certain signings and Erie Bayhawks GM (and Atlanta Hawks executive) Malik Rose shed some light on the move. In speaking to Jeff Garcia of the Locked on Spurs podcast, Rose was highly complimentary of the Spurs organization, calling San Antonio a “model franchise.”
"They been a model franchise for a long time. There are a lot of teams in the NBA, all the four major sports in the country try to pattern themselves after what the Spurs do as far as ‘team’ being everything. The program, the environment, the type of culture they have. A lot of teams try to emulate that. Those are some of the reasons the Spurs are who they are."
This comes as no surprise as, well, it is commonly accepted that RC Buford, Gregg Popovich and company operate a tremendous organization. With that said, Rose went on to cite the “Spurs connection” as something they saw in Dedmon before signing the promising big man.
"The Spurs connection was one thing but we liked what we saw as far as being an energetic big guy. He's athletic, he plays hard, he's still at a young enough age where we can probably get some upside out of him. We have high hopes for him. We've liked him for a long time. We'll see how things work out in Atlanta."
One of the arguments against signing Dedmon would be that the Hawks likely won’t benefit from much of the upside that he could present. If he performs extremely well in year one under Mike Budenholzer, Dedmon would become likely to opt out of the second year of his contract, hitting the open market again and sapping some value in the contract.
Still, there is something to be said for Atlanta acquiring a player that does things that no one else on the roster can duplicate. Mike Muscala is a very solid player but Dedmon provides rim protection and burst that neither Muscala nor Miles Plumlee can duplicate, and the former USC center is able to fly out to the perimeter in pick-and-roll coverage to aid in overall effectiveness.
Just how prominent Dedmon’s role will be remains to be seen but the Hawks clearly see something they like in his overall profile and that should be on full display.