ATLANTA — Larry Drew smiled Wednesday as he talked about the fun he has had with his coaching staff drawing up different lineup combinations for the Atlanta Hawks.
Drew’s long list of newcomers includes Anthony Morrow, Lou Williams, Devin Harris, Kyle Korver, DeShawn Stevenson and rookie John Jenkins.
That makes for a lot of combinations.
All Drew knows for sure is it will take a combination of those players to replace Joe Johnson, a six-time All-Star.
The Hawks traded Johnson, who averaged more than 20 points in five of his seven seasons in Atlanta, to the Brooklyn Nets in July for five players and a draft pick.
When healthy, Johnson was a lock as the starting shooting guard. Now Drew has to figure out who will join three returning starters – center Al Horford, forward Josh Smith and point guard Jeff Teague – in the new-look lineup.
“Every morning before we come out on the floor, my staff and I meet and we talk about the different combinations,” Drew said.
“That was one thing we wanted to do in training camp, throw out a lot of different combinations to get a good feel for some of these guys and how they play with others.”
First-year general manager Danny Ferry also traded small forward Marvin Williams to the Jazz for Harris.
The Hawks could be much smaller – and quicker – if Drew replaces Johnson and Marvin Williams with a three-guard lineup.
Teague said he’s expecting to play at times with another point guard, Harris or Lou Williams. Harris is 6-foot-3, Teague is 6-2 and Williams is 6-foot-1. Teague’s size wasn’t an issue when he was paired with Johnson, who is 6-7.
Williams said speed can make up for lack of height.
“It’s a speed league anyway,” Williams said. “It’s all about quickness and obviously we have a lot of guys that can fly around.”
KNICKS: Have signed forward Rasheed Wallace, a four-time All-Star who is ending a two-year retirement.
The 38-year-old Wallace last played for the Boston Celtics during the 2009-10 season. Terms of his contract signed Wednesday were not announced.
Wallace averaged 14.6 points and 6.7 rebounds in 15 seasons. The temperamental 6-foot-11 Wallace helped the Detroit Pistons win the 2004 NBA title. Knicks coach Mike Woodson was an assistant on that team.
LAKERS: Steve Nash is learning about much more than just his new city and new teammates during his first few days with Los Angeles.
The two-time MVP point guard is also learning an offense that’s like nothing he has ever run in 16 NBA seasons.
The Lakers are incorporating major elements of the famed ball-movement schemes known as the Princeton offense into their game plan this fall.
Coach Mike Brown realizes he’s taking a risk by installing an offense relying on sophisticated passing and reactions. He believes the Lakers have the veteran personnel to make it work.
FLIP ON FLOPPING: The NBA will penalize flopping this season, fining players for repeated violations.
Players will get a warning the first time, then be fined $5,000 for a second violation. The fines increase to $10,000 for a third offense, $15,000 for a fourth and $30,000 the fifth time. Six or more could lead to a suspension.
The league said Wednesday that flopping will be defined as “any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player.”