Dunn, Bogdanovic, Rondo and Gallinari are collectively owed roughly $50 million this year, but the Hawks aren’t getting enough consistent production from them on the court yet. “I think it’s safe to say a lot of our guys, whether free agents or not, haven’t performed as well as they wanted to,” Schlenk said. “We’re not really in the situation that we wanted to be in, but it’s not a dire situation either. We can still accomplish all our goals we set out to start the season which was to have a winning season, so I don’t think anybody’s really satisfied with where we are as a team or how they’ve performed individually, if you went through the whole team.”
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In the second half, we’ll find out if the Hawks truly have playoff potential. “We don’t dislike where we are,” Travis Schlenk said. “I wouldn’t say we’re happy with the way the first half went out, but all things considered, we’re still in a good spot. I don’t know what the standings are right now, but we’re a few games out right in the mix. It’s been a difficult year for all teams, not just us — whether they’ve been hit by COVID or injuries. The pace of games — I think we have a game every other day.”
On a young team, those sort of gripes are routine across the league. But Young insists the episode was overblown. “Of course if there’s anything out there publicly, I always go directly to [that person],” Young relayed to Yahoo Sports. “As for the John [Collins] incident, me and him talked about it as soon as it got out the next day and we were both confused. It just got out and it was over a regular film session. So there’s no beef or anything in there to begin with. There hasn’t been any locker room issues on my side. Anything that people were saying about locker room issues, there hasn’t been one. It’s all about our team and how we’ve been trying to get better in film sessions.”
Sarah K. Spencer: Trae Young: “For anybody that’s been an NBA film session, people talk. Coaches talk, players talk and we see what we all say, we see what we can get better at. When you lose there’s more things that you feel you can get better at then when you win, obviously.”
Kevin Chouinard: Trae Young: “When you lose, there are more things that you feel you can better at than when you win.”
John Collins, the fourth-year big man who just weeks before bet on himself in a big way during his failed extension talks with the Hawks, shared his unfiltered and unhappy views about the way franchise centerpiece Trae Young was running the offense. According to three sources who were either in the session or had knowledge of what was said, Collins raised several issues about the way these Hawks were functioning with Young at the helm.
It’s that belief that compelled him to turn down the Hawks’ extension offer last month, when sources say he left a deal worth more than $90 million on the table with the hopes that he would prove worthy of much more this offseason. Others see Collins’ views differently, claiming his focus in the film session was on the need for Young to maximize the deep roster of talent that now surrounds him.
There was no back-and-forth between the two, but the pointed criticism caught the attention of the room. And Young, sources say, made it clear to others later that he strongly disagreed with Collins’ assessment. “Trae is my brother regardless,” Collins, who chose not to elaborate further, told The Athletic via text message when he was asked about the situation.
Even after the film session came to an end, the dialogue about how these Hawks should operate continued. Only this time, it was Hawks big man Clint Capela who decided to weigh in during a private discussion with Young. Capela, the 26-year-old who was acquired from Houston at last season’s trade deadline, had seen a similar act unfold before during the Dwight Howard-James Harden era with the Houston Rockets. Sources say Capela’s message focused on that cautionary tale, how Howard’s demands for the ball along with Harden’s reluctance to give it up more freely widened the divide between them and led to collective failure.
After suffering an embarrassing 23-point loss to the lowly New York Knicks on Tuesday night and falling to dead last in the conference standings, Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce is not on the hot seat, league sources told Yahoo Sports. The young Hawks gave up 143 points to a Knicks team with the worst shooting percentage in the league at 37.7, and Atlanta is now 6-22. Star point guard Trae Young called it the lowest point of the season.
The Hawks’ second-best player, forward John Collins, who is set to return next week from a 25-game suspension for violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program, is one of the primary factors in the organization remaining patient with Pierce.
Frustration in the locker room has been building for some time as teammates have complained to each other about selfishness, not putting in the necessary work to turn things around and players not being held accountable, sources told Yahoo Sports. A true vocal leader who commands the respect of his peers is missing from the roster, sources said.
Pierce is in his second season as head coach and his arrival came with plenty of fanfare for his previous roles in player development and relationship building with other franchises. But there is work that needs to be done to strengthen the connection with a few significant players, sources said.
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April 19, 2021 | 8:10 am EDT Update
Chema de Lucas: Mike James will play with the Brooklyn Nets until the end of the season. Immediate incorporation. Nets interest in the CSKA Moscow player was first reported by @Eurohoopsnet.
Reigning EuroLeague scoring champion Mike James has emerged as a candidate to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, Eurohoops has learned via a source. James was suspended indefinitely by CSKA Moscow in late March following an incident with team head coach Dimitris Itoudis and has headed back to his native United States. UPDATE: He will join the Nets, according to Chema de Lucas.
The Toronto Raptors announced Monday they have signed forward Yuta Watanabe (YOU-tuh wah-tuh-NAH-bay) to a standard NBA contract. Per team policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Watanabe, 6-foot-9, 205 pounds, is averaging 4.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 13.4 minutes in 39 games (one start) as a two-way player with the Raptors this season. He is shooting .448 (56-125) from the field, including .400 (24-40) from three-point range, and has scored in double figures six times. Watanabe recorded a career-high 21 points Apr. 16 vs. Orlando.
Hasheem Thabeet is looking to make an NBA comeback, his agent Jerry Dianis told me on Saturday. The 7’3″ big-man just won MVP honors while playing in Taiwan for the Hsinchu JKO Lioneers. “Bottom line Hasheem Thabeet was given a opportunity, and he killed it,” Dianis told me. “MVP performance with career highs in points, rebounds, minutes played, assists and steals. Thabeet averaged 18.3 points, 14.3 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game.
To gauge who are the top international players, HoopsHype polled 15 NBA talent evaluators, including 10executives and five scouts. Each talent evaluator was asked to list his top five international players. The criteria included any player pro player not in the NBA right now. Some of the talent evaluators prioritized former NBA players and older veterans who are having an immediate impact on their team overseas. Others placed a higher value on younger prospects who are likely to come to the NBA in upcoming drafts. 1. Nikola Mirotic (Barcelona): The 30-year-old forward is shooting an astounding 59.7 percent from the field and 47.2 percent from beyond the arc while scoring 15.9 points per game. “He’s the guy that’s been most productive in the NBA, and someone you can put in an NBA game right now if you had to,” one NBA executive told HoopsHype.
2. Josh Giddey (Adelaide 36ers): “He has great size and excellent court vision,” an NBAexecutive told HoopsHype. “He sees the floor so well, and he’s probably too unselfish at times. His shooting will need a lot of work. He needs to become a consistent threat from three and he needs to improve at the line, but he’s playing in a tough league at a young age and he’s having success.”
3. Vasilije Micic (Anadolu Efes): The 6-foot-5 Serbian guard has his draft rights retained currently by the Thunder. While some have speculated he could make the jump to the NBA, his agent, Misko Raznatovic, denied having talks with any clubs for next season at this time. Still, Micic has drawn the attention of NBA teams with his play. “He’s almost an elite passer,” one NBAscout told HoopsHype. “He’s a good shooter, both on and off the dribble. He’s not athletic but has enough strength after his first step to get at the rim once he gets a runway. He’s very smart. His basketball IQ is off the charts.”