Mark Bradley blog 

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

LeBron back to Cleveland, and that’s not a bad thing

  • 12:41 pm Friday, July 11th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Gone from South Beach in a puff of smoke. (AP photo)

LeBron James is taking his talents to …

How about we just retire that tired line here and now? How about we just say, “LeBron James is headed back to Cleveland to play for the Cavaliers?” Is that good enough?

I’ll be honest: I never thought he’d leave Miami — a good organization based in Florida, which has nice weather and no state income tax — but the Cavaliers, of all teams, closed the sale. (LeBron announced his decision via an essay on SI.com, which beats the heck of “The Decision,” that overblown hour of ego-gratification that aired on ESPN in [More]

For the Hawks, Luol Deng would be an upgrade

  • 7:48 am Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Luol Deng and Kyle Korver: Once and future teammates? (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Esteemed colleague Chris Vivlamore has identified Luol Deng, once of Chicago and lately of Cleveland, as the Atlanta Hawks’ top target, realistically speaking, in free agency. (The Hawks will try to woo LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, but neither pursuit would seem realistic.) What would landing Deng do for the local franchise?

It would give them a better No. 1 small forward than DeMarre Carroll, who shouldn’t be starting for an upper-level NBA club, and would make their first five — Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Deng, Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague — one of the league’s 10 best. Deng is [More]

Payne is Hawks-like, but is he right for the Hawks?

  • 11:02 am Friday, June 27th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Props for the plaid and the pink, Mr. Payne. (Jason DeCrow/AP)

Danny Ferry knows what he’s doing, and I haven’t always said that about every Atlanta Hawks general manager. (And I’ve known five.) I don’t doubt that Adreian Payne fits what the Hawks want to do. Strange as this might sound, that’s my problem with them picking Adreian Payne.

If you’d asked me at noon Thursday, “Among players apt to be available at No. 15, who’s most Hawks-like?”, I’d have said Adreian Payne. He’s big and he can shoot 3-pointers. The Hawks like their big guys to shoot 3-pointers. Paul Millsap does it. Pero Antic does it. Mike Scott does it. Even [More]

Should the Hawks trade Horford? Not now, I say

  • 11:27 am Tuesday, June 24th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
"Take my advice: You'd rather tear a pectoral than break a foot." (Jason Getz/AJC)

Danny Ferry just reminded me of this: “The first time we ever talked — two years ago in Centennial Tower (where the Atlanta Hawks’ offices are located) — you said, ‘You might have to trade Al Horford to get where you want to go.’ “

Not that I have a one-track mind — and not that I know anything about anything — but here it is 2014 and I’m still thinking the same. With Ferry as general manager, the Hawks have become a pretty good team with a very good coach and a clear idea of how they want to play. [More]

Carmelo to the Heat? It’d be fascinating

  • 9:02 am Thursday, June 12th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
I tried to dislike these guys. Couldn't do it. (Lynn Sladky/AP)

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein report that the Miami Heat are preparing to pursue the free-agent-to-be Carmelo Anthony in the hope that their Big Three will become a foursome. On its face, this is astonishing news. The Heat’s biggest task of Summer 2014 figured to be keeping the Big Three intact — LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh can all opt out of their contracts. But Pat Riley, who’s the best in the business, wants to add yet another All-Star to his mix.

Somehow, the notion of Carmelo teaming with LeBron and his Super Friends isn’t off-putting in [More]

How close were the Hawks to the Eastern finals?

  • 8:33 am Monday, May 12th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Jeff Teague checks the Game 7 score. Doesn't like what he sees. (AJ Mast/AP)

The history of the Atlanta Hawks is strewn with what-ifs. What if they’d kept Julius Erving, who played three exhibition games for them in 1972 before a judge ordered him back to the old ABA? What if they hadn’t traded Pete Maravich? What if Dominique Wilkins, as opposed to Cliff Levingston, had taken the last shot in Game 6 against Boston? What if — stop me if you’ve heard this one — they’d drafted Chris Paul?

Today we have a new one. What if the Hawks had closed out the Indiana Pacers in six games? Would they be sitting where the [More]

The Hawks did well, but not well enough

  • 9:35 pm Saturday, May 3rd, 2014 by Mark Bradley
The story of Game 7: Roy Hibbert stuffs Paul Millsap. (AJ Mast/AP)

INDIANAPOLIS

A heaping helping of cognitive dissonance after the Atlanta Hawks lost Game 7 to the Indiana Pacers 92-80 here Saturday.

On the one hand, this rebuilding team — a team playing without its best player to boot — did well to push the East’s No. 1 seed to brink. But the Pacers have seemed for two months a team capable of being shoved over the brink. The eighth-seeded Hawks had a chance to go up 3-1 but wasted a late lead in Game 4. They had a chance to end the series but wasted a late lead in Game 6.

Both of [More]

Update: Will George be suspended for Game 7?

  • 7:42 am Friday, May 2nd, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Paul George drives in Game 6. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

It’s clear from the video that Paul George, the Indiana Pacers’ best player, took a step and a half onto the court when teammate George Hill squared off against the Atlanta Hawks’ Mike Scott late in the second quarter of Game 6 on Thursday. At issue now is whether that step and a half, which isn’t enough to warrant a traveling violation, will disqualify George from Saturday’s Game 7.

Esteemed colleague Chris Vivlamore reports that the NBA will review the matter. A decision should come today.

UPDATE: As Vivlamore writes, the decision came. Nobody will be suspended for Game 7.

The [More]

The eighth-seeded Hawks – one step from Round 2

  • 11:55 pm Monday, April 28th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
The happy Hawks celebrate a Naptown beatdown. (Darron Cummings/AP)

INDIANAPOLIS

Three observations regarding the Atlanta Hawks, a No. 8 seed on the verge of a major upset after Monday’s 107-97 victory in a Game 5 the Hawks once led by 30 points.

1. First of all, this isn’t a major upset. The Hawks have beaten the Indiana Pacers, who’ve lost eight games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse this season, on their home floor three times in 22 days. In two of those games, the Hawks led by at least 30 points. In the other, they led by 20. They’re a terrible matchup for the Pacers, who won 56 games because they’re great [More]

For the good of the NBA, Donald Sterling must go

  • 12:33 pm Monday, April 28th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
The Clippers and their generic shirts. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

On a karmic level, the best punishment the NBA could administer to Donald Sterling would be to make him keep owning the Los Angeles Clippers for the next decade. Imagine how that would be. What player not currently under contract would agree to play for him? What coach — Doc Rivers, in Year 1 on the job, has said he’s not sure if he wants to continue– would want to work for him? How many games would they win then? And, given that Sterling is on record as preferring that African-Americans not come to his team’s games, how many sellouts [More]