Al Harrington Will Be A Hawk, But Not Kenyon Martin?

Philip Maymin
Basketball News Services 

Indiana's Al Harrington has been looking to start and now he will with almost all certainty be traded for a re-signed Stephen Jackson at the stroke of midnight Wednesday morning, making him the belle of Atlanta's ball. Harrington's Cinderella story is not an illusion however, and he expects to keep both shoes firmly attached to his feet: he will finally start at the three or the four with the Hawks next season. Meanwhile Kenyon Martin seems unlikely to agree to Atlanta's offer sheet unless Denver chooses not to offer one at all, as most observers expect New Jersey to match any Martin deal.

Congratulations are in order for Stephen Jackson. What looked like a big blunder last year when he turned down a generous offer from the Spurs only to play for a pittance on the Hawks has become a huge payday. Jackson will sign a six-year contract for $44 million with Atlanta before being traded to Indiana for Harrington.

Harrington's presence on Atlanta's roster expands their already considerable depth at the small forward spot. If by some stroke of luck, Denver cannot work out a sign-and-trade with New Jersey for Martin, and choose not to offer him a max deal to avoid tying up their money for two weeks, and Martin signs the deal with Atlanta expecting the Nets to match it, but the Nets choosenotto match it (yes, that's a whole lotta if's), then Martin will be starting at the power forward spot and Harrington at the small forward. That means Josh Childress, Boris Diaw, Josh Smith, and Donta Smith will all be fighting for the shooting guard spot.

Most likely, Martin will not be a Net, as at least one of the four preconditions will not be met. That means, given Atlanta's large collection of small forwards, that Harrington will likely start at the four.

Indeed, the Hawks are just one center away from fielding a respectable team. A starting lineup of Jason Terry, Boris Diaw, Josh Childress, and Al Harrington is young, athletic, and hungry. If they can learn to play with even half the intensity and selflessness of new head coach Mike Woodson's former team -- if they play at even half of the championship Detroit Pistons caliber -- then they have a good shot at making some noise and a run for the final playoff spot next year.

The Hawks will participate in the Reebok Rocky Mountain Revue in Salt Lake City, Utah from July 16-24. Their first game will be versus the expansion Charlotte Bobcats, Friday July 16th at 4:00 p.m. EDT/2:00 p.m. MDT. Other teams participating in the RMR include the Charlotte Bobcats, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, Seattle Sonics, and host Utah Jazz. The remainder of their RMR schedule is as follows:

*Friday, July 16th - Charlotte - 4:00 p.m. EDT
*Saturday, July 17th - Seattle - 6:00 p.m. EDT
*Sunday, July 18th - Bye
*Monday, July 19th - Phoenix - 4:00 p.m. EDT
*Tuesday, July 20th - Dallas - 6:00 p.m. EDT
*Wednesday, July 21st - Bye
*Thursday, July 22nd - Utah - 10:00 p.m. EDT
*Friday, July 23rd - Bye
*Saturday, July 24th - Portland - 4:00 p.m. EDT

Fans overwhelmingly want Kenyon Martin to be a Hawk next season. Nearly three-quarters of more than 2,500 responders voted to sign him quick inThe Atlanta Journal-Constitution's online poll.


The Associated Press writes inThe Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: The Indiana Pacers need perimeter shooting and the Atlanta Hawks need just about everything. Stephen Jackson wants to play for a winner and Al Harrington just wants to play, period. So a proposed sign-and-trade deal in which the Hawks would send Jackson to Indiana for Harrington makes perfect sense... It has been reported that the 26-year-old Jackson would sign a six-year contract worth $44 million with Atlanta and then be traded to the Pacers for Harrington.

Dave D'Alessandro ofThe Newark Star-Ledgerwrites: While the ink on the Atlanta Hawks' $86 million offer sheet has already dried, the Nuggets are still dawdling, and they may not make a move until Wednesday's signing day."I haven't talked to Kenyon's agent for a few days," Thorn said yesterday. "He was busy telling reporters that he'll do something today, but I haven't heard anything about it." That's because Martin's preference is to sign with the Nuggets -- otherwise he would have already signed with Atlanta, according to an agent familiar with Dyke's plans. The Nuggets, however, won't extend their own offer until they have exhausted all sign-and-trade options with the Nets. That probably won't happen before Wednesday, at which time the Nets will have 15 days to decide whether they will match it and retain Martin.

Marc J. Spears ofThe Denver Postwrites: The Atlanta Hawks reportedly have offered Martin a maximum six-year, $85 million offer sheet. Martin's agent, Brian Dyke, has said his client is expected to make a decision today between the Nuggets and Hawks.Free agents can begin signing offer sheets Wednesday. The Nets would have 15 days to match or decline a potential offer sheet.

Mark Montieth ofThe Indianapolis Starwrites: What appeared to be a costly gamble by his agent has turned into a windfall for Stephen Jackson.Jackson is expected to sign a six-year, $44 million contract with Atlanta this week, the precursor to his trade to the Indiana Pacers for Al Harrington. If it comes off as expected -- and there was no indication Sunday it wouldn't -- it brings lifetime security for the 6-8 swingman who took a roaming path to the NBA. "Considering the road I took to get here, I'm definitely blessed," Jackson said. Jackson was cut by four NBA teams, two CBA teams and played in four foreign countries before catching on with New Jersey for the 2000-01 season.

Chris Tomasson ofThe Rocky Mountain Newswrites: Denver's hopes received a boost when, according to the source, Martin indicated his preference is to join the Nuggets rather than Atlanta.The Hawks have offered Martin a contract for the maximum of about $86 million over six years, and the Nuggets are willing to pay him at least the same. The source said trading forward Nene, whom the Nets wanted last month in a deal for Martin, is not an option. The Nuggets are willing to part with future first-round draft picks and sparingly used forward Nikoloz Tskitishvili, who said Sunday he would not mind being dealt to New Jersey.

Fred Kerber ofThe New York Postwrites: Nugget officials have a maximum contract offer sheet — a six-year deal, worth roughly $85 million — in reserve as a last-ditch effort. Martin has a similar offer from Atlanta, but every indication is that he wants no part of the Hawks, and strongly prefers the Nuggets as Plan B to the Nets.The Nuggets don't want to fire that last shot because they believe the Nets will match any offer, rather than see Martin walk away for nothing.

Kyle Hightower ofThe Orlando Sentinelwrites: [Haywoode] Workman was in Orlando last week as part of a special NBA program that hires groups of minor-league referees, mostly from the National Basketball Development League (NBDL) and Continental Basketball Association (CBA), to serve as officials at its summer leagues around the country... Workman, 38, played eight NBA seasons for five teams from 1989 to 2000 (averaging 5.5 points per game as a point guard). A second-round pick by Atlanta, he didn't stay long with the Hawks before becoming a league nomad... Then two years ago, after a few chats with current NBA official Bob Delaney, he decided to pursue a second career as a referee. He is entering his third year officiating, having done one-year stints each in the CBA and NBDL.

Larry Hartstein ofThe Atlanta Journal-Constitutionwrites: Philips seats about 16,000 for arena football, but the Force would be the No. 3 tenant behind the Hawks and the Thrashers.That status can make scheduling difficult.