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Everything posted by blkbigdog35

  1. Coach Bud is 100% in on Dennis. I just hope he continues to mature and work on his game during the summer.
  2. Biggest Offseason Priorities and Targets for Atlanta Hawks Josh Martin Bleacher Report | April 30, 2017 For six games, the Atlanta Hawks gave the Washington Wizards all they could handle. A seventh wasn't in the cards for this crew, as Atlanta's 115-99 home loss Friday made all too clear. The defeat ends a 2016-17 campaign that, while successful in extending the Hawks' playoff streak to an even decade, represented a second sizable step back in as many seasons. Since a landmark 2014-15 campaign, during which the team won a franchise-record 60 regular-season games and cracked the Eastern Conference Finals, Atlanta has slipped to 48 wins and a second-round ouster in 2015-16 and 43 wins without a postseason series victory this time around. The Hawks could be in for another step down the NBA's ladder in the months to come. Dennis Schroder's role atop Atlanta's pecking order, with Dwight Howard as his pick-and-roll partner, may be the only certainty down south. The futures of Paul Millsap and Tim Hardaway Jr. will be chief among those hanging in the balance this offseason. How the Hawks handle their big decisions, detailed here, will determine whether they extend their postseason run or embark on a rebuild in 2017-18. To Pay or Not to Pay Paul Millsap 1 of 5 John Bazemore/Associated Press Paul Millsap is the latest in a line of Hawks stars on whom the franchise has seemed to waffle. Last summer, there was some scuttle, per ESPN's Zach Lowe, about Millsap's being on the block before and after Al Horford left Atlanta for Boston. This past January, Marc Stein, then with ESPN, laid out what the Hawks wanted in return for their All-Star forward, following a flurry of concurrent activity in the rumor mill and on ESPN's trade machine. Through it all, one thing has held true: Millsap is Atlanta's best player. His spectacular play inside the arc on offense (24.3 points on 50.5 percent shooting, 9.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists per game) and versatile defense against the Washington Wizards in these playoffs merely confirmed this distinction for the 9,375th time. That still might not be enough to convince the Hawks that paying the piper in Millsap's situation is the best way to go. According to calculations from Peachtree Hoops, he'll be eligible to sign a max contract this summer worth upward of $207 million over five years with Atlanta, or for approximately $154 million over four years anywhere else. Would the Hawks want to hitch their wagon to a 32-year-old power forward who's no better than passable as a perimeter shooter? To what extent might the team's cascading playoff exits—from conference finals in 2015 to conference semis in 2016 to the opening round this year—fuel any potential reluctance? Then again, Millsap's never been particularly reliant on his athleticism, so his game should age well. And after losing two longtime franchise stalwarts last summer, in Horford and Jeff Teague, can Atlanta realistically afford to lose a third without jeopardizing its decadelong playoff streak? Tim Hardaway Jr.'s Restricted Free Agency 2 of 5 Nick Wass/Associated Press All it took was the specter of a contract year for Tim Hardaway Jr. to come of age in the NBA. Even then, his role in Atlanta seemed to shift with the wind. During the first half of the season, he started just six times in his first 39 appearances—including a string of five straight in December—despite dropping 20 or more points off the bench seven times over that same span. He went on to log 24 starts over his final 40 games, including 12 straight to end his regular season. All told, the son of former All-Star Tim Hardaway distinguished himself as the promising perimeter talent he seemed to be when he entered the Association in 2013. During the 2016-17 campaign, he posted career highs in points (14.5), assists (2.3) and field-goal percentage (.455), and followed that with 12.8 points on 32.9 percent shooting with 1.2 assists per game in the playoffs. At 25, the University of Michigan product might just be coming into his own as a pro. In a league where quality shooting guards are increasingly hard to come by, as Bleacher Report's Howard Beck mentioned in his latest masterpiece, a player of Hardaway Jr.'s profile and pedigree stands to make a pretty penny in restricted free agency this summer. The Hawks will have the right to match any offer sheet that lands on Hardaway Jr.'s doorstep, assuming the team first extends a qualifying offer his way. After Atlanta's inartful handling of Jeff Teague's restricted free agency in 2013, the team would do well to tread carefully with how it handles its latest entrant into the less-than-open market. John Bazemore/Associated Press With or without Tim Hardaway Jr., the Hawks will have at least one conundrum to consider on the wing. Last summer, Atlanta rewarded Kent Bazemore with a four-year, $70 million deal. Since then, the former beloved Warriors benchwarmer has lost his starting gig to Taurean Prince. The rookie out of Baylor averaged 11.4 points and 3.9 rebounds over the final 10 games of the regular season and continued that with 11.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per playoff contest. In some respects, Bazemore makes more sense as a sub. His frenetic energy can change the complexion of the game, particularly on the defensive end, when he's thrown into the flow as a member of the Hawks' second unit. But at what cost? Bazemore will make just over $16.9 million next season and just under $18.1 million in 2018-19, with a player option for approximately $19.3 million in 2019-20. With so many other expenses on the docket, and another young swingman (DeAndre' Bembry) waiting in the wings, Atlanta might have to consider whether it's wise to keep so much of its cap space tied up in Bazemore, especially with Hardaway Jr. due for a raise. For the Hawks, it's a good problem to have. Two-way wings are in tremendous demand around the NBA, so Bazemore should have ample value if Atlanta decides to move him. More importantly, Prince—whom the Hawks acquired in a three-way trade that sent Jeff Teague to Indiana last summer—has emerged as the kind of quality player who's created such a surplus in the Peach State. Dwight Howard had a sneaky-good first season with his hometown Hawks. He shot a personal-best 63.3 percent from the field, snagged a career-high 15.4 rebounds per 36 minutes and helped Atlanta make the leap from a bottom-three rebounding team to the top half on the glass. Howard's work around the rim was everything the Hawks could've hoped for during the regular season. He had his moments of dominance up front in the playoffs, as well. But the Wizards also exposed Howard for the aging basketball antique he's become. The former All-Star played sparingly during fourth quarters against Washington, in large part because he didn't (and doesn't) fit the pace and space that are critical to success on both ends in today's NBA. That much was clear on the defensive end—where the Hawks allowed 108.7 points per 100 possessions with Howard on the floor and 102.8 when he sat, per—though Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer was more concerned about the other end. "It's more about the offense and more space, but our transition defense is critical to us, too," Budenholzer said between Games 5 and 6, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Chris Vivlamore. "They are putting a lot of pressure on us going back the other way. At times, it's asking a lot of Dwight. He's putting a lot of pressure going to the offensive boards and get second- and third-chances." The Rockets ran into similar issues when Howard was in Houston. And you can bet Atlanta's Eastern Conference foes will take full advantage going forward. That doesn't mean the Hawks should dump Dwight outright. His ability to control the paint, even with his oncoming 32nd birthday, makes Howard an important part of Atlanta's post-Al Horford construction. What the Hawks need, then, is another big man who can back up Howard and play more on the perimeter when he's in. The search for such a stand-in figures to kick into high gear this summer, with Mike Muscala and Kris Humphries both bound for free agency. 5 of 5 Mike Muscala and Kris Humphries will be joined on the open market by Thabo Sefolosha, Ersan Ilyasova and Jose Calderon—all valuable veterans. Mike Dunleavy Jr.'s 2017-18 salary is only partially guaranteed, and he could get the ax if Atlanta is desperate for any modicum of financial flexibility. With only six guaranteed contracts on the books for next season, the Hawks will have more than a few roster spots to fill. And if Millsap and Hardaway Jr. come back at bigger numbers, Atlanta will have even less cap space to devote to its next round of role players. Not that the Hawks won't have other options to consider internally. Bembry figures to get a longer look next season. Atlanta will have picks Nos. 19, 31 and 60 in this year's draft to spend, either as means of bringing in young blood or trading for more seasoned talent. The Hawks could also be an attractive destination for those players left out of this summer's round of free-agent musical chairs. Players and agents around the Association have surely noticed the exemplary work that Mike Budenholzer and his staff have done coaching up the likes of Kent Bazemore, Hardaway Jr. and DeMarre Carroll—not to mention how much those guys either have been or will be paid as a result. The impending opening of a new practice facility, in partnership with Emory Healthcare and P3, figures to be yet another selling point for Atlanta, particularly in pursuit of bargain-bin players looking to up their games for bigger paydays down the line. "If our players are healthy and our players have fabulous experiences and our players' careers are extended," Hawks CEO Steve Koonin told USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt of the new facility, "then it is an asset to the organization." All stats via and Basketball Reference unless otherwise noted. Josh Martin covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and listen to his Hollywood Hoops podcast with B/R Lakers lead writer Eric Pincus.
  3. Agreed and it's obvious that Howard has to just man up and do what it takes to fit in. I just feel like they should keep this out of the media. It should get really interesting here the next month or two.
  4. Yeah I can see that. I think Howard may have to change his game because it seems like coach Bud is not going to change his system.
  5. Good points. You have to wonder what Bud envisioned before bringing Howard here?
  6. Yeah it looks like Howard could be moved but I wish Bud would find a way to keep him engaged because when he is the frontcourt is so much tougher inside.
  7. Yeah that statement says alot. He needs to talk to the man. Well it's going to be an interesting off season.
  8. THIS IS TATF!!!!!!!
  9. Rumor Central: Dwight Howard splits with agent Atlanta Hawks center Dwight Howard signed with Andy Miller's ASM Sports last month, and the sides already have parted ways. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II May 23, 2017 Facebook Twitter Facebook Messenger Pinterest Email print comment Atlanta Hawks starting center Dwight Howard and his agent, Andy Miller, have parted ways. Howard signed with Miller after leaving Perry Rogers in April. Prior to Rogers, Howard was represented by Dan Fegan, with whom he severed ties in February. "ASM and Dwight Howard's professional relationship has ended. We wish him luck in all his future endeavors," spokesman Dan Rohme told Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal. Howard landed a three-year, $70.5 million contract with his hometown Hawks last summer. With Howard having two more years remaining on his deal, he could play without an agent over that time. That said, Howard doesn't appear to be a good fit with the Hawks, and they may try to trade him in the summer. For that reason, a new agent could be brought in to facilitate a trade out of Atlanta. Howard and Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer are expected to meet at some point to review this past season and look ahead to 2017-18. "It’s not just about Dwight," Budenholzer said. "I understand the questions, I understand Dwight’s frustrations. But offense is about five guys, and Dwight brings a lot to the table that can help us be a good offensive team. All of us have to figure out how to make it better." Earlier this month, ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz reported that several NBA executives believe the best the Hawks can get for Howard is a second-round draft pick and cap relief. During the 2016-17 regular season, Howard averaged 13.5 points, 12.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists. -- Nick Silva
  10. We definitely need a better back up PG. This dude is small in stature. Here is a link from the draft express site
  11. Potential point guards for Atlanta Hawks in 2017 NBA Draft by Justin Hodges1 hour agoFollow @HodgepodgeHoops Soaring Down South The Atlanta Hawks have been linked to several players in the 2017 NBA Draft. With prime selections to be made at picks 19 and 31 in what is an elite NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks can look to fill remaining voids on the team. One thing that new general manager Travis Schlenk should accomplish this offseason is acquiring a serviceable backup point guard. More than likely, this could come with a Hawks’ second round pick, whether it’s at 31 or 60. This draft class is considered the best one for point guards in ages. Not just for names such as Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball, but this draft has quality floor generals spread out from top to bottom. Here, we hope to highlight some of the lesser known point guards that may be found in the second round for the Atlanta Hawks to pick up. Atlanta Hawks personnel were assigned 12 players at the NBA Draft Combine to have personal interviews with. One of those players was Oklahoma State’s Jawun Evans. There’s a strong chance that Evans is a first rounder, as he was one of the best and most unappreciated players in the entire country. In 2016-17, Evans averaged 19.2 points per game, a Big 12 leading 6.4 assists and 1.8 steals per game while shooting 38 percent from three. This could be a major steal for Atlanta if he manages to fall. Dec 21, 2016; Greensboro, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Frank Jackson (15) stands on the court in the second half against the Elon Phoenix at Greensboro Coliseum. Duke defeated Elon 72-61. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports Another player the Atlanta Hawks interviewed was Duke point guard Frank Jackson. Jackson was a part of the elite recruiting class last year that had the Blue Devils shaped for utter domination. Instead, both Duke and Frank Jackson had rather strange seasons. In the beginning and end of the season, Jackson looked absolutely phenomenal. Then, in the middle of the season sandwich, he wasn’t getting any minutes at all. When Jackson was getting his opportunity, he showcased some major talent. Jackson shot 47% from the field, 54% on two point shots, 39% from three, and averaged 10 points per game, despite playing under 25 minutes per game. Recent foot surgery makes Jackson a risky draft pick, but without dire need of his services right away, it could be one that works for the Atlanta Hawks. Jan 31, 2017; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones guard Monte Morris (11) drives the ball while being guarded by West Virginia Mountaineers guard Daxter Miles Jr. (4) at James H. Hilton Coliseum. West Virginia defeated Iowa State 85-72. Mandatory Credit: Rachel Mummey-USA TODAY Sports The third point guard the Atlanta Hawks personally interviewed at the combine was Iowa State’s Monte Morris. During his four year career with the Cyclones, Morris was one of the most well rounded players both on the court and off it. With a career assist to turnover ratio of 4.6 to 1, which is utterly absurd at any level, Morris simply plays the game with intelligence and calmness. Morris could be in play at either pick 31 or 60. Either way, he’d be a tremendous addition to the Atlanta Hawks. He can shoot the ball well, has major clutch genes, and obviously is a special passer. The Atlanta Hawks would be well off with any of these point guards, and they’ve clearly shown interest in all three. Dennis Schroder can be a special player, but the best way for him to improve further is to give him a reliable backup in order to take some of the weight off his shoulders. Any of these guys could do just that.
  12. NBA Mock Draft 2017: Could the Atlanta Hawks target Harry Giles? by Brad Rowland@BTRowland May 26, 2017, 8:00am EDT Peachtree Hoops Names like Jarrett Allen and Justin Patton have been quite prevalent when scouring mock drafts for what the Atlanta Hawks could do with the No. 19 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. “Project” big men in that mold make sense given the fact that the Hawks could use some upside and depth in the frontcourt but, earlier this week, an even more intriguing name came to the forefront. Andrew Sharp of Sports Illustrated projects Duke big man Harry Giles to the Hawks with the No. 19 pick and he had this to say in explaining the fit. Giles is another wild card. His injury issues at Duke are well documented, and his draft stock could rise or fall 8-10 spots as he works out for teams around the league. For now, he's here as placeholder--and a reminder that Dwight Howard is 31 years old, Paul Millsap is a free agent, and the Hawks need a big man. Giles was once the consensus No. 1 overall player in this class (yes, even ahead of Markelle Fultz) before injury issues struck. The one-and-done big man has endured three knee surgeries and, as a result, Giles visibly struggled at times during his one campaign in Durham. With that said, the medicals will be absolutely crucial in projecting where he could land and they are filled with uncertainty. At his best, Giles would be a tremendous athletic force on both ends of the floor, displaying the tantalizing upside that made scouts salivate over the years. On the downside, he could, quite easily, be out of a job in short order if his body does not cooperate in allowing his athleticism to flourish. Many believe that Giles is the most difficult prospect to gauge at this point and that makes sense. His pre-draft workouts (and medical checks) will be pivotal but it would not be difficult to see Atlanta’s interest level spiking if they were to like what they see in Harry Giles. What say you? © 2017 Vox Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved Sports data © STATS 2016
  13. Arthur Blank on NFL touchdown celebration, overtime rule changes JuliaKate E. Culpepper The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ajc | 8:53 a.m. Thursday, May 25, 2017Sports Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank appeared on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Wednesday to discuss the new NFL rule changes. On Tuesday, the NFL announced touchdown celebration rules would be relaxed in 2017, allowing players to use the football as a prop, celebrate on the ground and take part in group celebrations. "Allowing (the players) to celebrate in appropriate ways after something great happens, a touchdown, field goal, winning a game, whatever the event may be is natural... Frankly, our players are going to be, in my opinion, very creative because they are creative. You know, they love to dance, they love music and they know how to do it, so I certainly expect to see a lot more of that and I'm looking forward to that next year personally,” Blank said. The NFL also announced on Tuesday overtime would be reduced from 15 minutes to 10 minutes. Blank said all parties— the NFL and team owners— agreed they don’t want the NFL to encourage ties. “The reason it's gone from 15 to 10 minutes is not so much in games one, two, three or four, but when you get to... games 10, 12, 14, 15 et cetera, you know, players are tired, teams are tired. I mean they get out there and they play again great. They commit themselves and they get into the flow of the game, but those extra five minutes at the wrong time of the year can create more of an atmosphere or environment for injuries. So that was the effort behind it. It'll be tested, we'll see how it works and we'll go from there,” Blank said.
  14. Expect Falcons' defense to reflect Marquand Manuel's no-nonsense approach David Newton | 7:00 AM ET Don't mess with Marquand Manuel during pregame warm-ups. You're liable to catch some heat. On any given game day, you'll see the 37-year-old with his headphones on, drowning out the noise as he bobs his head to the beat. He'll run a few laps around the stadium with a menacing stare on his face, like an assassin fixated on his next victim. Folks unfamiliar with the Atlanta Falcons likely would mistake Manuel for a player. His players view him as a guy who will cuss anybody out, make no mistake about it. That's part of the reason why Manuel commands respect as he makes the leap from secondary coach to defensive coordinator, a move made official Friday. "M, he's a perfectionist," free safety Ricardo Allen said of Manuel. "He knows the ins and outs of every player. He does the studying. He has the passion to lead. He's a natural leader. And people are willing to follow him." Manuel is a coach willing to put on cleats, line up opposite his defensive backs and get physical with them off the line. His hands-on approach and aggressive style just might be the added push the Falcons need to elevate an improving defense to yet another level. Falcons coach Dan Quinn relieved former defensive coordinator Richard Smith of his duties earlier in the week, with Smith now reportedly interviewing to be linebackers coach for the Los Angeles Chargers. Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, Quinn took over playcalling duties from Smith late in the regular season, during a Dec. 4 game against Kansas City. It was about that time Atlanta's defense started to show remarkable improvement, surrendering 21.4 points per game over the final seven, including the playoffs, after allowing 27.6 over the first 12. Manuel had a hand in the improvement, too. According to multiple sources, Manuel was involved in playcalling involving nickel situations. Maybe it was an audition. Maybe it was just a matter of getting a different coaching perspective. Whatever the case, there's confidence in Manuel's ability to make the defensive calls, even if Quinn, the former defensive coordinator in Seattle, has a heavy hand in it moving forward. Quinn no doubt will refer to it as a collaborative effort, but Manuel will get ample opportunity to run the defensive show despite no prior coordinating experience. He knows the defense thoroughly, having previously served as the assistant defensive-backs coach under Quinn in Seattle. Allen wisely declined to discuss anything related to playcalling, but he certainly backed Manuel as his defensive coordinator. "The players are going to be pushed by him daily, and he's going to push us to another level to be great," Allen said. "I think he's a good person for the job because he'll put the work in." Manuel will have to deal with scrutiny, of course, but expect him to be unfazed. Folks will bring up the story of him asking then-draft prospect Eli Apple, now with New York Giants, if he liked men during an interview at the NFL combine. Manuel was publicly reprimanded by the organization and required to go through sensitivity training; he apologized for the embarrassment he caused. If Manuel's defense falters in matchups against Drew Brees, Jameis Winston and Cam Newton next season, he'll certainly hear criticism. But again, it's not his personality to be rattled, no matter the situation. As with the rest of the Falcons, Manuel will enter the 2017 season with a bad taste in his mouth from the Super Bowl LI implosion in which Atlanta blew a 28-3 lead in a crushing, 34-28 overtime loss to the New England Patriots. But at least Manuel knows he'll have a talented group around him that in 2016 featured NFL sacks leader Vic Beasley Jr., emerging nose tackle Grady Jarrett, rookie standouts Deion Jones and Keanu Neal and Pro Bowl cornerback Desmond Trufant, who will return after missing the season's second half following pectoral surgery. The improved speed on defense, coupled with the presence of Trufant as a shutdown corner, will allow the Falcons to continue the trend of playing more man-to-man defense, as they did successfully later in the season. Manuel’s ability to get the best out of his players was evident in the way cornerback Jalen Collins made a dramatic leap in his second season as a replacement for Trufant; in the way cornerback Robert Alford shook off problems with penalties to become a playmaker; in the way Brian Poole went from being undrafted to evolving into a reliable nickelback; and in the way Neal and Allen were able to work in unison at the safety spots. Again, Manuel is all about an aggressive, attacking style. It's in his nature as a former NFL strong safety. That's the mentality and approach you see from him every day in practice. And that's the look you'll see in his eyes every game day.
  15. I still think Howard can help this team if he's used correctly. I'm still unsure about giving Sap a max deal at his age. I truly want to keep THJ. THJ, Dennis and Taurean are great pieces to keep building around.
  16. Has to be the first order of business for sure.
  17. Gazoo good work in here brother but we have to look forward now. I honestly think this team is going to be very motivated to get back there.
  18. Atlanta Hawks hire Travis Schlenk as new general manager by John Buhler4 hours agoFollow @buhler118 FanSided The Atlanta Hawks have hired former Golden State Warriors assistant general manager Travis Schlenk to be the organization’s next general manager. While no head coaches have been axed this offseason, it seems that the general manager carousel is in full swing in the NBA. On Wednesday, the Atlanta Hawks have found their new guy to replace the reassigned Wes Wilcox in former Golden State Warriors assistant general manager Travis Schlenk. According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, Atlanta decided to make the hiring of Schlenk official on Wednesday. He had previously been in the Golden State front office for 12 years, serving under general manager Bob Myers for the last five. Atlanta has been a perennial playoff team in the Eastern Conference for the last decade, but only has one conference finals appearance to show for it. The Hawks have some young talent on the roster in point guard Dennis Schroder and small forward Taurean Prince, but Atlanta has found itself in the awful middle of the NBA hierarchy. While the Hawks have finally found stability in new ownership group led by Tony Ressler, the general manager post has not been that since Danny Ferry’s highly publicized resignation. Wilcox had served under Ferry and did his best to tread water these last two years, but saw his and head coach Mike Budenholzer’s front office roles diminish. Budenholzer rescinded his president of basketball operations role. Wilcox will stay on the Hawks front office staff but in a new role. Schlenk beat out other viable general manager candidates in David Griffin, Joe Dumars and Chauncey Billups among others. Picking a top assistant from the Golden State front office was a smart and pragmatic move for the Hawks. Obviously, Schlenk wasn’t ever going to usurp one of the best in the business in Myers with Golden State. Joining a forward thinking front office like Atlanta’s is a solid move for him. Atlanta largely transformed its organization half a decade ago with combing two strong proponents of the San Antonio Spurs culture in Budenholzer and Ferry in the front office. As long as Schlenk is in lock-step with Ressler, Budenholzer and Wilcox, this could be the front office move that sparks an honest reload for the Hawks.
  19. These damm off season threads, smfh. Some people are just bored as he11.
  20. Trade chart 101 in here, lol. Thanks g-dawg for the knowledge!!
  21. Thanks @Robb4242
  22. LOL totally agree. Hope Ressler is patient and go after an experienced GM.
  23. @Rob4242 great offer much respect.
  24. Yeah straight messed up and I just have to walk away when people say that sh1t.
  25. Hawks to interview Chauncey Billups for vacant GM position 11:05 AM ET Chris HaynesESPN Staff Writer Facebook Twitter Facebook Messenger Pinterest Email print comment The Atlanta Hawks are scheduled to interview former NBA player and current ESPN analyst Chauncey Billups next week for their general manager opening, league sources told ESPN. The interview is expected to occur Tuesday in Los Angeles, sources say, and it is believed the organization isn't looking to drag out the hiring process. ESPN's Marc Stein previously reported the Hawks have already interviewed Washington Wizards vice president of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard and Golden State assistant general manager Travis Schlenk. Former Piston Chauncey Billups has said he'd be interested in running a team. Allen Einstein/NBAE/Getty Images Billups, 40, is a five-time All-Star who is regarded as one of the top young front-office prospects. The 2004 NBA Finals MVP has made it known throughout his 17-year professional career that under the right circumstances, he'd be intrigued by the possibility of running his own team. Although he has no prior executive experience, Billups has long been a student of the game in understanding how to navigate within the collective bargaining agreement. The Atlanta vacancy comes after coach Mike Budenholzer was stripped of his responsibility as president of basketball operations and Wes Wilcox, the former GM, was reassigned as special adviser to ownership earlier this month. Atlanta is entering a pivotal offseason, with All-Star forward Paul Millsap poised to become an unrestricted free agent.