The Hawks have taken a step backward with their offseason approach and moves, Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution opines. Rather than pulling closer toward the top of the Eastern Conference, Atlanta now looks like the sixth- or seventh-best team, Bradley continues. While trading point guard Jeff Teague to open up a starting job for Dennis Schroder was acceptable, Bradley points out that free-agent acquisition Dwight Howard doesn’t fit into coach Mike Budenholzer’s scheme as well as Al Horford, who signed with the Celtics. They also overpaid to keep Kent Bazemore, and the contracts of Howard and Bazemore will be hard to move if they wind up in a rebuild mode, Bradley adds.
In other Southeast Division news:
- Darvin Ham has been promoted to Budenholzer’s lead assistant, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Ham replaces Kenny Atkinson, who was named the Nets’ head coach in April. Ham has been on Budenholzer’s staff since 2014.
- The Magic did the right thing by bringing in defensive-minded big men rather than standing pat this offseason, Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel argues. While Orlando has been criticized in some circles for its offseason moves, the additions of Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo and Jeff Green gives new coach Frank Vogel an opportunity to play a more physical style, Bianchi notes. The Magic have floundered for four years with their young core and couldn’t wait any longer for it to blossom on its own, Bianchi adds, pointing out that coach Scott Skiles quit after one season because he didn’t like the roster.
- Dwyane Wade admits that the superior contract offer he received from the Bulls forced him to make a hard choice, as he told Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press and other members of the media. Wade agreed to sign a two-year, $47MM deal with Chicago when the Heat drew the line near the $40MM mark. “Moments like this, it [stinks],” Wade said. “The business side of the sport, sometimes it just [stinks]. That’s what we’re dealing with.”