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Hawks give up on Omari Spellman - trade him for a bag of donuts

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Atlanta Hawks reportedly send Omari Spellman to Warriors, acquire Damian Jones

Another unexpected move.
By Brad Rowland@BTRowland  Jul 8, 2019, 2:51pm EDT
 

2019 Las Vegas Summer League - Day 3 - Minnesota Timberwolves v Atlanta HawksPhoto by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks put together an unexpected move on Monday, signing Jabari Parker to a two-year contract with a player option. Hours later, Travis Schlenk and company weren’t done, reportedly coming to an agreement on a trade that will send Omari Spellman to the Golden State Warriors.

As noted by Shams Charania of The Athletic, the deal includes the Hawks acquiring Damian Jones and a second-round draft choice.

Spellman was the No. 30 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft and the 21-year-old big man appeared in 46 games during his rookie season in Atlanta. However, Spellman battled injuries during the stretch run and has repeatedly addressed questions about his conditioning and fitness during his brief professional tenure.

In Jones, the Hawks are acquiring another former No. 30 overall pick, this time in the 2016 NBA Draft. The 24-year-old center has been only a fringe player for the Warriors over the course of three seasons, appearing in 49 games, and he earns $2.3 million (approximately $400,000 more than Spellman) for the 2019-20 season, after which he will face restricted free agency if tendered a qualifying offer.

While there is potential (and noteworthy) value in the second-round pick, this could signal the Hawks essentially giving up on Spellman, as Jones would seemingly be a downgrade in terms of upside, offensive acumen and salary control. On the flip side, Jones is certainly more of a “pure center” and that checks the box that the Hawks may desire, particularly in the wake of the addition of Parker.

Lastly, Jones was drafted by the Warriors during Schlenk’s regime with the franchise and there is a potential connection there. Still, the major takeaway is that Omari Spellman will be spending his future somewhere other than Atlanta.

Stay tuned.

blkbigdog35 likes this

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11 minutes ago, GEORGIAfan said:

We could have had Mitchell Robinson. <_<

yeah that pick never felt right - then we all convinced ourselves that maybe Spellman was the next Draymon Green.   oh well, maybe he will get in shape and be a player for the Warriors.   Hawks are building a culture - no room for lazy guys that won't get in shape - if you wanna play for Hawks, gotta be able to get your lazy/fat *** up and down the court.

FalconsIn2020 likes this

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well glad Schlenk can admit defeat and cut bait if he sees he made a bad move.   Hawks simply have too many options and players right now.   Since Spellman not a natural center and he didn't want to work on his weight, best to cut bait and let him mature - or not - somewhere else.

Omari - this is your wake-up call.   Will you answer?

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Recent article at the Athletic 

https://theathletic.com/1064179/2019/07/05/got-a-lot-to-prove-damian-jones-is-looking-to-salvage-his-final-chance-with-the-warriors/

 

Quote

 

Got a lot to prove’: Damian Jones is looking to salvage his final chance with the Warriors

AP_19184758088662-1024x764.jpg
By Anthony Slater Jul 5, 2019 comment-icon@2x.png34 save-icon@2x.png

Damian Jones became the rare fourth-year pro, still under contract with his original team, to appear in summer league. He played three games in Sacramento this past week. It was his idea.

“They didn’t ask me,” Jones said. “I asked them.”

Jones is on a race against time. There are no more option years ahead of him. His rookie contract expires next June. He has one more season to prove — not just to the Warriors, but any other possibly interested franchise — that potential can finally become production. He’s now 24. A new batch of early 20s prospects have arrived on the scene. The NBA will forget about you quickly.

Jones understands this better than anyone. That’s why he asked for a brief summer league assignment others his age (with his tenure and guaranteed contract status) would find embarrassing. He’s not playing in Las Vegas this week. But he wanted to use those three Sacramento games to knock off the accumulated rust from his latest five-month rehab from a pectoral tear.

“I’d been out for so long,” Jones said. “Just wanted to get some reps in.”

Ask scouts, execs and pundits about Jones and you’ll mostly be met with pessimism. He’s been given enough opportunity and hasn’t seized it. Hope has faded.

But there remains an optimistic corner within the Warriors who will explain his path to this point with a bit more delicacy, still believing a breakthrough is possible.

Year 1: Tore his right pec in June pre-draft workouts, which knocked him out into December, excluding him from training camp or any type of welcome-to-the-NBA runway. Spent the winter months easing into the professional world.

Year 2: Essentially his rookie season, he was buried behind a bunch of veteran centers on a win-now team. Mostly lived in the G League, save for some brief, irrelevant opportunities, besides a random big March night against the Thunder in Oklahoma City.

Year 3: Last season, he was given his first true rotation shot, gifted the starting center spot in training camp. Many consider his 24-game test drive a dud. Others, in that optimistic corner, view it differently.

Jones had a pretty encouraging preseason. The Warriors opened the regular season against the Thunder. He scored 12 points and had three blocks, holding Steven Adams down decently in 27 minutes.

His next three tests came against Utah’s Rudy Gobert, Denver’s Nikola Jokić and Phoenix’s Deandre Ayton. Jones held up well enough and earned praise for it.

“This is why we have to have Damian,” Steve Kerr said after the Suns game. “If you think of the past week: Adams, Gobert, Jokić and now Ayton. You have to have that kind of size to deal with the position. There will be smaller matchups, but I thought he passed this week’s test with flying colors.”

“Opening night was cool,” Jones said in retrospect. “Built off of that. I had different spurts, games that I got a lot of kudos for. Coaches could tell you which games they really liked.”

Coaches will split his 24-game trial run into two distinct sections: Before Steph Curry and after Steph Curry. They’ve always believed Jones’ effectiveness is tied to Curry’s.

It’s similar to JaVale McGee’s time with the Warriors. The staff always tried to handcuff JaVale’s minutes with Curry. That’s who drags defenders out of the paint and blasts open the runway for rim-runners and lob catchers to roam free and crush dunks.

Curry was there to do so the first 12 games of the season. The Warriors opened 10-1. Jones wasn’t incredible, but he’d been fine in the JaVale role, finishing off 22 dunks and 12 alley-oops. That starting lineup had a 118.0 offensive rating and had outscored opponents by 15 points. It was working decently.

Then, in that 12th game, Curry strained his groin. He’d miss the next 11 games. Jones’ production dipped. He only had 13 dunks and two alley-oops while Curry was out. The spacing around him disappeared. The Kevin Durant-Draymond Green argument happened. The vibe around the team wilted.

Jones has a useful but limited skill set, very dependent on its surroundings. Give him spacing and an elite pick-and-roll ballhandler and he can do some things. Take it all away and he’s suddenly lost in an environment where his strengths are diminished and his weaknesses are illuminated.

In the days leading up to Curry’s return, Kerr talked about the impact he hoped it’d have on the now struggling Jones. Questions emerged about whether Kerr should pluck Jones from the starting lineup, but the Warriors first wanted to see him paired with Curry again, hoping it’d unlock him.

Curry returned on the first day of December, in Detroit. Jones had two dunks and a putback that night. But in the third quarter, his arm got tangled up while battling for a rebound with Andre Drummond.

“Weird play,” Jones said. “Super unexpected. I thought maybe I dislocated something.”

He hoped it was something minor, but the swelling intensified once he got to the locker room. The training staff had him go through some motion exercises with his left arm. He’d had this type of feeling before.

A late-night Detroit hospital trip and MRI would only confirm what he’d already feared. The game Curry returned, Jones tore his left pec, ending his best opportunity to prove whether he could survive in the NBA.

“It really did suck,” Jones said.

His season was presumed to be over, but Jones healed a bit quicker this time around. He said it was easier to keep his game sharp since it was his left pec recovering, not his right pec, like the last time around.

“Because I could still shoot with my right hand (during this rehab process),” Jones said.

He had returned to game shape by mid-May. The Warriors were still alive in the playoffs, but dealing with other injuries. That meant Jones could be activated, allowing him to enter in mop-up duty in case of a blowout, basically some extra scrimmage time. But no one expected him to play. He was not only unproven on this stage, but rusty.

Didn’t matter. Kerr was playing center roulette. He landed on Jones before Game 3 of the Western Conference finals and told him at morning shootaround that, guess what, you’re starting tonightGulp.

“I was nervous as ****,” Jones said. “Couldn’t sleep, pregame nap just wasn’t happening. Just excitement. First playoff game. I was a little jittery instead of being calm.”

The result: Three fouls in less than three minutes, the last of which came on an overhyped contest on a Damian Lillard corner 3. Lillard baited him into the air, Jones fell for it and crashed into him for a bad foul. Kerr pulled him, ending the unfair challenge and sending him into his third summer on a sour note.

But that brief conference finals glimpse did highlight one of Jones’ largest negatives. He’s a capable shot blocker (25 in 24 games last season) but still a below-average defender because of his propensity to bump shooters, reach too often and foul too much.

This wasn’t just a case of one-night rust. Jones had nine fouls in a summer league game last year (players can get up to 10 fouls in a summer league game). He just had six in 10 first-half minutes last week. He had four or more fouls in six of the first 11 games last season.

“That’s (the key for him),” Warriors summer league coach Aaron Miles said. “The man had, what, seven fouls, six fouls in the first half? He has to be able to play without fouling.”

The Warriors have hammered the verticality rule into his head. He’s become pretty good at it, keeping his arms extended toward the ceiling when he contests. But defense is about much more than that.

Jones seems to lack those initial, in-the-moment instincts. He often seems like he’s chasing the play instead of ahead of it, springing back into it with his bouncy athleticism, but, in doing so, often bumping bodies for easily identifiable fouls.

“It’s about initial positioning, staying in a stance and being alert,” Miles said. “You can’t be reacting when you’re playing defense. You gotta kind of be in a stance and when they start moving, you should already be moving. That’s something he definitely has to improve on.”

“It’s a mental thing,” Jones said. “It’s all mental. Knowing where to be.”

As of this current moment, Jones has another chance ahead of him. The Warriors only currently have three centers on their roster and, as they fill out the final couple roster spots, are in much greater need of wings.

So it may just be Jones, Kevon Looney and Willie Cauley-Stein manning the center spot next season, assuming Jones (and his $2.3 million contract, which could be moved to dip further below the hard salary cap) is still around in October.

Jones would be a clear third in that pecking order. But third centers get minutes during marathon NBA seasons, especially 24-year-old ones in a season that’s more about development than title chasing.

The extra space created by Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson (at least for a few months) won’t be there, which should hurt Jones. But Curry’s continued presence and the addition of D’Angelo Russell, a top-flight pick-and-roll ballhandler and shooter, plays into Jones’ strengths. The Warriors are expected to use more high-screen, spread-the-floor action next season.

Now it’s on Jones to leverage that into a longer, more productive career than many think is ahead of him.

“Major opportunity,” Jones said. “Just approaching it as a contract year. Got a lot to prove.”

 

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He got 17 mins a game last season for GSW, he won't get that here, unfortunately for him.

Len will probably get 28-30 mins a game with Fernando getting the other 18-20, and slowly but surely Fernando will get more and more.  Collins will even get some mins at the 5 too.  So I suspect Jones is going to be very upset about this trade.

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Spellman had promise but when your overweight for the 2nd season in a row.  Teams will think your not taking things seriuosly.

g-dawg and thofin21 like this

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Just now, g-dawg said:

in an ironic twist - Spellman ate the donuts that were to go to Atlanta/Schlenk....

Golden State was then forced to add a player to the deal.

:lol:

JDaveG and g-dawg like this

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He got his minutes reduced last season due to his weight. What he do between the end of the season and SL - get fatter. Smh.

This tell me TS and CLP have no time to waste time and resources on youngs players if they can't do what's necessary to get and stay in shape.

 

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3 hours ago, g-dawg said:

Schlenk and Pierce had to be pretty down on him to make this move.

I went and looked at the highlights of the Minnesota game yesterday and the first thought I had was if THIS is his weight loss, then I hate to see him when he gets older and starts putting on weight.  He obviously didn't come back into camp at the weight they wanted him at.  Its a shame because he can REALLY play...

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20 minutes ago, slickgadawg said:

I went and looked at the highlights of the Minnesota game yesterday and the first thought I had was if THIS is his weight loss, then I hate to see him when he gets older and starts putting on weight.  He obviously didn't come back into camp at the weight they wanted him at.  Its a shame because he can REALLY play...

yeah, even more telling than the weight itself is the attitude.   When coaches/GM likely told you in offseason "don't come back fat, come back in shape" - and you fail to do that - then it shows a lack of professionalism and seriousness - I mean, it's your job.   The kid is rich enough to hire a chef and get a trainer.

Glad he's gone - wouldn't be surprised if he turns it around but only if this 2nd wake-up call works.  Hope the kid wakes up before it is too late.

 

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1 minute ago, g-dawg said:

yeah, even more telling than the weight itself is the attitude.   When coaches/GM likely told you in offseason "don't come back fat, come back in shape" - and you fail to do that - then it shows a lack of professionalism and seriousness - I mean, it's your job.   The kid is rich enough to hire a chef and get a trainer.

Glad he's gone - wouldn't be surprised if he turns it around but only if this 2nd wake-up call works.  Hope the kid wakes up before it is too late.

 

I'm in agreement that I think it has nothing to do with his play on the court.  In other words, I think it was strictly him not coming in at the weight which ticked the Hawks off because Omari looked good in summer league...

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4 minutes ago, slickgadawg said:

I'm in agreement that I think it has nothing to do with his play on the court.  In other words, I think it was strictly him not coming in at the weight which ticked the Hawks off because Omari looked good in summer league...

the weight is likely just a sympton of the underlying issue - attitude/work ethic.

Remember that article about Lakers almost drafting Spellman and Josh Hart was asked about him - what Josh said should never have been leaked to the press - but that's another issue.

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35 minutes ago, slickgadawg said:

I'm in agreement that I think it has nothing to do with his play on the court.  In other words, I think it was strictly him not coming in at the weight which ticked the Hawks off because Omari looked good in summer league...

Play on the court but not at full potential? Got to think the organization has "eyes" on him throughout off season and knew he would show up out of shape, gave him shot, and said No Tanks. Pretty sure no player goes Mike Vick anymore without organization not knowing

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I think it's as simple as Parker came available, and we'd rather have him at PF. At that point, we needed a center more, and we figured Golden State would covet a shooter, even one with warts. We're better than we were seven days ago. If Parker is 90% healthy and motivated, we're quite a bit better.

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44 minutes ago, jidady said:

I think it's as simple as Parker came available, and we'd rather have him at PF. At that point, we needed a center more, and we figured Golden State would covet a shooter, even one with warts. We're better than we were seven days ago. If Parker is 90% healthy and motivated, we're quite a bit better.

Parker? Parsons??

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1 hour ago, maorifalcon said:

Parker? Parsons??

I meant Parker. It's still not settled that Parsons will play for the Hawks.

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Staff:  Omari, we need to control your "weight gain"

Omari:  Could I at least get one hoho a day?

Staff:  Time to get draft picks!

Beef likes this

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4 minutes ago, jidady said:

I meant Parker. It's still not settled that Parsons will play for the Hawks.

I just saw we signed Jabari, thats my bad what you said makes sense now haha. Was too focused on the HR Derby. 

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2 hours ago, jidady said:

I think it's as simple as Parker came available, and we'd rather have him at PF. At that point, we needed a center more, and we figured Golden State would covet a shooter, even one with warts. We're better than we were seven days ago. If Parker is 90% healthy and motivated, we're quite a bit better.

I don’t think it’s that simple at all.   There are a lot of spare parts on Hawks now that could have been processed or bought out.   Schlenk drafted Spellman and Parker is effectively on a one year deal.

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1 hour ago, maorifalcon said:

I just saw we signed Jabari, thats my bad what you said makes sense now haha. Was too focused on the HR Derby. 

Heh, no worries. I took it to mean you thought we'd start Parsons at PF over Parker. 

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