Slumping Hawks could turn into dealing Hawks
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
Two seasons out of the general manager’s office didn’t diminish Danny Ferry’s desire to make a deal.
After leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010, Ferry returned to the San Antonio Spurs as vice president of basketball operations under team president and general manager R.C. Buford for two seasons. Ferry was not the man calling the shots.
But after the Atlanta Hawks hired Ferry in June, he began transforming a team that had turned into a playoff team but with little hope for reaching the Eastern Conference finals. The Hawks were always first- and second-round playoff exits.
It was time for change, and Ferry implemented it in a dramatic way.
He traded All-Star guard Joe Johnson to the Brooklyn Nets and traded forward Marvin Williams to the Utah Jazz, clearing the books of restrictive contracts. The Hawks also bought out guard Jordan Farmar’s contract.
Ferry signed guard Lou Williams, acquired sharpshooter Kyle Korver and drafted John Jenkins, projected as another strong shooter.
When all the deals were done, Ferry found himself looking at this: a roster with a minimum of seven contracts that expire after the 2012-13 season and nearly $40 million dollars under the salary cap headed into 2013-14.
It put Hawks coach Larry Drew in a tough spot. He talked to coaches who had been in similar situations, with several expiring contracts.
“I wanted to know exactly what it is I was up against,” Drew said. “Certainly, they didn’t paint a pretty picture. … I think our guys have really bought in to what we’re trying to establish here.
“All the players who are in their situations … I have conversations with them. One of the things I did, when we finalized all the moves, I went around and visited each player this summer, and sat down and talked with them as far as what I expected from them. I told them I understood their situation and just got on the same page.
“We have (several) players who are in the last year of their deals. We traded an All-Star. The question was, can we build on that? So far, we’ve shown we can.”
Atlanta had been in the top … [For more on Slumping Hawks could turn into dealing Hawks: NBA A-Z, click here.]