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If the Hawks are lucky, they can have two big men named Al come the summer.
It is unlikely that forward Josh Smith will stick around in Atlanta. Then again, sports writers across the nation thought the same when he was on the trading block in February.
Regardless, the Hawks’ top guy ought to be Utah Jazz center Al Jefferson.
Dwight Howard may be the most sought-after center once free agency hits, but he won’t be the best.
The Hawks need to go for the very best in order to fill the void that has been plaguing them for over a decade.
Seriously, if Dikembe Mutombo is the last true center Atlanta has seen in a Hawks uniform, then it would only make sense to go big—literally and figuratively.
Jefferson may be the purest big man in the league. His post moves are done with such finesse and would bring tears of joy to Hakeem Olajuwon’s eyes.
The major obstacle would be the Jazz, considering how valuable Jefferson is to that organization. There is no telling what Jefferson wants in a contract, and there is no denying that Utah will do everything in its power to keep him.
That’s where general manager Danny Ferry comes in.
If he was bold and smart enough to rid Joe Johnson’s mammoth contract a year ago, he definitely could show off his astute negotiating skills in making a move for Al.
Jefferson is making $15 million currently, which is the third-highest contract among centers. Still, he ought to be the Hawks' main target.