How long does it take to turn an eternal weakness into a strength?About two and half weeks for Hawks general manager Rick Sund.
With Mike Bibby's agreement on a new three-year, $18 million deal on July 7, the day before free agents could sign contracts, the Hawks solidified things at point guard for the present and future.
They took care of the future on draft night by drafting Wake Forest star Jeff Teague. They handled insurance at the position earlier that day in the form of Jamal Crawford. They got Crawford from Golden State for Acie Law IV and Speedy Claxton, two players that weren't in the Hawks' playing rotation last year.
Bibby was the last piece to the puzzle, and he came on board for a miniscule salary compared to the $15 million he made last season in the final year of a seven-year, $81 million deal he signed when he was with Sacramento.
Bibby guided the Hawks to back-to-back playoff berths since coming to the team in a February 2008 trade deadline deal. With Bibby returning as the starter, the Hawks have plenty of options in the backcourt.
On draft night Sund and Hawks coach Mike Woodson maintained that Bibby was a priority in free agency, even with the additions at the position.
"All I can tell you is to look at our team before he came here and then look at our team after we had him," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said last week when asked to explain Bibby's importance to his team. "This guy changed our team. His teammates love playing with him and he's great for me, too. He made a huge difference for me from a coaching standpoint. I can't overstate his importance to what we're doing here."
Bibby's agent, David Falk, said that his client's relationship with Woodson was one of the major factors in his staying with the Hawks.
"It has been a very good environment for Mike," Falk said. "He enjoys playing for coach Woodson, who has allowed him to be a coach on the floor."
An 11-year veteran, Bibby averaged 14.9 points, 5.0 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals last season for the Hawks, who won 47 games during the regular season and advanced to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.