The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Sekou Smith suggests the 3-way trade between the T-Wolves, Hawks and Suns (KG to Phoenix, Amare Stoudemire (above) to Atlanta, the no. 3 overall pick plus expiring contracts to Minnesota) was “only a pipe dream”, but ESPN’s Chad Ford suggests the deal would’ve happened, were it not for “the perils of dealing with the Hawks — arguably the most dysfunctional franchise in the league.”
The Hawks ownership group, Atlanta Spirit LLC, is embroiled in a nasty lawsuit with former partner Steve Belkin. Belkin won a lawsuit against Atlanta Spirit LLC last summer and a judge ruled that he could buy out the owners of Atlanta Spirit and gain full ownership of the team. Atlanta Spirit is currently appealing the ruling.
In the meantime, Belkin holds some authority over the team. He can veto any trade or free agent signing that takes the team above the NBA salary cap. Several sources suggested that it was Belkin who vetoed the trade.
This fiasco isn’t the only situation the Hawks are dealing with. Sources said that Knight is in a dispute with some of the Hawks owners over who to take at No. 3. Knight prefers Florida’s Al Horford. Some in the Hawks ownership, including influential owner Michael Gearon Jr., want to draft Yi Jianlian out of China.
Ford claims the Charlotte Bobcats are suddenly in the mix instead of Atlanta, with Minnesota coveting Charlotte’s no. 8 overall pick, Stoudemire going to the Nuevo Jordanaires, and KG proceeding to Phoenix.
Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski tips a pair of mega-swaps to occur either before or after tonight’s festivities, with Jermaine O’Neil going from Indy to the Swap in exchange for Richard Jefferson, Nenad Kristic and Jason Collins. Wojnarowski also claims the Knicks and Blazers are discussing a trade of Stevie Franchise and Channing Frye for Zach Randolph and Martell Webster.
While the Oregonian’s Casey Holdahl reports no. 1 overall pick Greg Oden will wear Buck Williams’ old number 52 in Portland, Doubt About It tries to evision how the Blazers would handle tonight’s big decision if the ownership and management of the Pittsburgh Pirates had their druthers. Hint : they wouldn’t take Oden or, yet would still find a way to pay Jeromey Burnitz.