The Hawks go into the All-Star break with the second-best record in the NBA at 43-11, trailing only Golden State (42-9), a team they beat last week. More importantly, they have a comfortable lead in the Eastern Conference over Toronto (6½ games), Chicago (9), Washington (10) and Cleveland (10½, but rising).
Notwithstanding blowing a game in Boston the other night, they have been a joy to watch. The on-court product has been a nice distraction from the off-court mess, where we’ve seen the excommunication of part-owner Bruce Levenson, the franchise going up for sale and the limbo status of general manager Danny Ferry.
The kids off the court just can’t play nice. If you missed it, I have a column on MyAJC.com on how individual agendas are still driving the circus bus off the court. Here’s a link that will get you there.
Back off the court, the NBA trade deadline is in six days and the Hawks are among the bidders for free agent three-point specialist Ray Allen, who has played on title teams in Boston and Miami. Actually, they are the favorites to sign Allen, according to the sports odds website, Vegas Insider, which has listed odds for nine teams on signing Allen and winning the NBA title.
Vegas Insider’s Tony Mejia has the Hawks as the favorite to sign Allen at 3-1 and third best to win the title at 7-1.
Here are the odds for the nine teams listed.
Team Signing Allen Winning Title
Hawks 3-1 7-1
Golden State 4-1 4-1
Cleveland 8-1 3-1
San Antonio 10-1 8-1
LA Clippers 15-1 20-1
Chicago 20-1 11-1
Memphis 20-1 12-1
Washington 25-1 40-1
Miami 40-1 150-1
Mejia has a nice breakdown on each team. Here’s what he writes about the Hawks:
Pros: The Hawks share the ball beautifully and seek out the open man, so getting the great looks Allen has become accustomed to wouldn’t be a problem. Although he likely wouldn’t share the floor with Kyle Korver too often, there would be late-game situations where he’d share the floor with the guy who has replaced him as the league’s deadliest shooter. That can’t hurt. He’d instantly provide a championship pedigree to a contender that doesn’t have anyone on the roster that has reached the Finals.
Cons: Once Thabo Sefolosha returns from his calf injury, Allen would be even more of a situational player, since head coach Mike Budenholzer would have another key option on the wing beyond starters Korver and DeMarre Carroll. Of course, at this stage of his career, that wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
Sportsbook.ag NBA title odds: +700 (7-to-1), currently third-best.
Odds Allen signs: Trading first-round selection Adreian Payne to Minnesota for a future first-rounder opened a roster spot that Allen would fill nicely. Considering what a strong fit this is from a style of play standpoint, the Hawks are VI’s favorite to land his services. 3-to-1.
For the entire story, click here.
Thoughts on this? Do the Hawks need Allen, or another big man, both or neither?
•Some recent ramblings from the digital jukebox
— MyAJC: Private agendas still at play in Hawks’ offices — AJC: Tiger Woods seems in danger of missing Masters (again) — AJC: Trade likely means Hawks are planning for something — MyAJC: Kyle Shanahan, the coach’s son, has absorbed a lot of jabs — AJC: Greg Hardy skates (and is he worth the risk for Falcons)? — MyAJC: Hawks’ deadline move wouldn’t hurt chemistry — AJC: Tech doing just fine, recruiting rankings notwithstanding — MyAJC: Dan Quinn’s ascent to top job was years in making — AJC: Forget trade talk — Dan Quinn wants Julio Jones on his team — AJC: Falcons need players but Dan Quinn is a good start — MyAJC: Tom Brady takes the air out of critics in Super Bowl — AJC: Short takes: Brady rallies Pats but Seahawks bungle ending — AJC: Another possible embarrassment for Falcons: Fake crowd noise — MyAJC: There’s no confusion about pecking order on Super Bowl teams — AJC: Dan Quinn could have final day on 53-man roster — MyAJC: Blank speaks but remains vague on Falcons’ restructuring — MyAJC: Tiger Woods’ problems aren’t just physical anymore — AJC: Is it Tiger time … or is Tiger Woods’ time over? — MyAJC: LeGarrette Blount walked out on team — and straight to Super Bowl — AJC: Georgia’s Lockette playing for third straight Super Bowl team — MyAJC: Dan Quinn says he’s ready for next challenge (with Falcons) — AJC: Lynch goes into interview Beast Mode again (surprise!) — MyAJC: Great or not, Patriots’ legacy is forever tarnished — AJC: Seattle players say Quinn will be ‘great head coach’ for Falcons — AJC: Brady says ‘feelings got hurt’ by accusations (really?) — MyAJC: Hawks are closest team to rare Atlanta sports title