Jeff Schultz blog 

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

LeBron, Carmelo opt out: Hawks an option? (Updated)

  • 10:12 am Tuesday, June 24th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
LeBron James reportedly will opt out of his contract with Miami. What next? (AP)

(Updated below with link to full column on MyAJC.)

We have known for a few days that Carmelo Anthony will opt out of his contract with the New York Knicks. He’s available.

Now we learn from his agent Rich Paul that LeBron James has told the Miami Heat that he will trigger the early termination of his contract and also hit the open market. And soon, we will hear the words, “I am taking my talents to . . .”

Marietta Street?

Should it be considered so far-fetched that the Hawks can land a high-profile free agent like James or Anthony? I know: [More]

Hawks’ assistant Snyder may get Utah job

  • 10:28 am Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Quin Snyder's last head coaching job came with Missouri. (AP photo)

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer and his staff did one of the better coaching jobs in the NBA this season. The ripple effect of that might be him losing one of his assistant coaches.

Quin Snyder, a long-time pro assistant and a former head coach at Missouri and in the NBA’s D-League, has emerged as a leading candidate for the head coaching job of the Utah Jazz.

When asked about Snyder’s candidacy Tuesday, Hawks general manager Danny Ferry responded via email, “They asked for permission to talk with him and he is a part of Utah’s continued process to fill the job there.”

Snyder [More]

Holiday 6-pack: Will Nats close on Braves?

  • 12:01 pm Monday, May 26th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
The Braves' B.J. Upton is reaching base more and striking out less. Honest. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Good morning. This is the day to celebrate our true heroes. Memorial Day began as a day to honor the soldiers who died in the Civil War but now serves to recognize all Americans who died while in the military. This isn’t a day for politics. To borrow from Mark Twain: “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”

And now, on the backside of this barbecue weekend, a six-pack of thoughts on a six-pack of teams:

1. Braves: Keep an eye on Washington

The Braves are showing signs of coming out of their offensive rut, [More]

Paul George was on court: Your move, NBA (update: no suspensions)

  • 9:46 am Friday, May 2nd, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Game 6 was easily the physical of the Hawks-Pacers' series. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

This should be fodder for NBA conspiracy theorists: Would the NBA actually suspend Indiana’s Paul George for a seventh game of a playoff series?

UPDATE: The answer is no. The NBA has decided to not suspend any players for Game 7. Can’t say that’s a surprise.

If you missed it, George and teammate Rasaul Butler left the bench in the Hawks-Pacers first-round playoff game Thursday night during an altercation between the Hawks’ Mike Scott and Indiana’s George Hill. Video shows Butler coming much farther onto the court than George, who took two steps onto the court before both players were held [More]

Sterling banned but this should’ve happened long ago

  • 2:44 pm Tuesday, April 29th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz

Here’s the good news: NBA commissioner Adam Silver, just three months on the job, issued a lifetime ban to the NBA’s longest-tenured owner, Donald Sterling of the Los Angeles Clippers, for racist statements.

Here’s the unfortunate news: Silver, a long-time NBA executive, denied the league has ever considered Sterling to have racist or “hateful” tendencies, at one point saying, “I’ve never seen anything in his behavior to support these views.”

There’s an acronym for this: C.Y.A.

Silver and the NBA should be commended for doing the right thing: Sterling was given a lifetime ban and fined $2.5 million, the maximum allowed by the [More]

Hawks’ Levenson would support Sterling’s exit

  • 12:48 pm Monday, April 28th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz

It has been two days and we’re still waiting for a flat-out denial from Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling that it was his voice on a secretly recorded conversation in which he revealed himself (again) as a racist. There has been only a non-denial/denial from team president Andy Roeser, whose statement read, in part: “Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings.”

Nowhere in the 176-word statement were the words, “He didn’t say it.”

Given Sterling has been accused of racial and gender [More]

Short takes: Pacers’ intensity, Hawks’ mistakes key loss

  • 5:27 pm Saturday, April 26th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
The reactions by Kyle Korver and Pero Antic tell the story for the end of Game 4 for the Hawks. (Curtis Compton)

I’ll be back soon on the Hawks’ 91-88 loss to the Indiana Pacers, which evened the playoff series at 2-2. Until then, here are my three “Short Takes” on the game:

UPDATE: Here’s a link to the full subscription column.

1. WAKE-UP CALL? This wasn’t necessarily a dominating performance by Indiana. They were being steam-rolled by the Hawks in the second quarter — 19-8 to open the quarter, including 15-2 in one stretch — and David West and Paul George both missed consecutive free throws down the stretch. But the Pacers finally showed a heartbeat in Game 4, and that could [More]

5 thoughts on Hawks (Pacers may bench Hibbert)

  • 6:39 pm Friday, April 25th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Kyle Korver and the Hawks are starting to get Atlanta sports fans excited. (Curtis Compton)

How’s this for irony? On a day Indianapolis coach Frank Vogel was given the Rudy Tomjanovich Award from the Pro Basketball Writers Association, recognizing his excellence and cooperation with the media, he wasn’t in a terribly expansive mood.

“No,” Vogel responded when asked if he had any update on lineup decisions. “Find out tomorrow.”

When asked again if he was still considering changes (read: benching center Roy Hibbert) Vogel again responded, “Find out tomorrow.”

OK, he was cooperative. Just not transparent.

Some thoughts going into Game 4 on Saturday, with the Hawks leading the best-of-seven series 2-1:

1. WHAT HAS BEEN GAINED: By winning Game [More]

3 reasons why Hawks can push Indiana

  • 9:23 am Thursday, April 17th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap and Hawks will be significant underdogs vs. Pacers.

The Hawks made the playoffs, which means the team that has no real chance to win the NBA title or probably even a postseason series will not be in the draft lottery or draft higher than 15th (barring a trade).

In most circumstances, the draft wouldn’t be a talking point on the eve of the playoffs. But the Hawks’ organization has made it no secret that tomorrow is a bigger priority than today at this stage of their building project and, well, it’s hard to dispute that mindset.

But the playoff series against Indiana isn’t without some significance. Here are three reasons [More]

Inaction shows Hawks care more about future than collapse

  • 11:02 am Thursday, February 20th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
The Hawks have faded lately without injured center Al Horford. (David Tullis/Associated Press)

It was back in late December when Hawks center Al Horford suffered a torn pectoral muscle, almost certainly ending his season. The team’s record then: 16-13.

Most of what has happened since has been predictable. The Hawks pulled together for several weeks in an effort to prevent the bottom from falling out of their schedule. They went 9-8 in the first 17 games without Horford. But now they’re running on fumes. They dropped five straight going into the All-Star break, and have come out of it with consecutive losses to Indiana and Washington.

This is what it looks like when a team [More]