The Atlanta Hawks liked their reserves so much this past season that they want to bring the entire bench back next year, according to Hawks beat writer Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“When we go forward I would anticipate — because our bench was so good for us last year [and] in our exit meetings with our veterans to a man said, ‘Can we get our same bench back?’ — we are definitely going to make an effort to do that,” Hawks assistant GM Dave Pendergraft said. “Because, as you know, that was one of the deeper benches I’ve been involved with. It helped us sustain the injuries. I think they enjoyed the experience.”
However, its going to be very tough for the organization to bring back every reserve because their entire bench, with the exception of rookie Ivan Johnson, is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. That means Jannero Pargo, Kirk Hinrich, Willie Green, Tracy McGrady, Jerry Stackhouse, Vladimir Radmanovic, Jason Collins and Erick Dampier are all free to sign with another team.
“Last year I think we were the deepest team in the from league one through 15 once we picked up Dampier,” current GM Rick Sund told the AJC. “We had a great composite with the versatility and flexibility. It gave a lot of options for [head coach] Larry [Drew], which he used a lot. He changed lineups and he could match up well.
“Also I think the really good teams can play the different styles”, Sund added. “You can play an up-tempo game, you can play a defensive game, they can grind it out. I think the team with the best record, San Antonio, was the best at that. I think with all the versatility we had that was a plus. We could do that. And we were one of the best defensive teams in the league.”
Cunningham, the beat writer for the Atlanta Hawks, shares his take:
“Since many of those guys are well past their prime, they may not draw much interest on the free-agent market. That could give the Hawks a fair shot at bringing many of them back for next season. On the other hand, those aging players may be even another step slower next season, which means it’s debatable how much money the Hawks should spend to keep the group intact.”