Atlanta Hawks: Danny Ferry looking to trade but avoid the tax

Danny Ferry didn’t make the decisions that led to the Hawks owing $61 million in salaries next season to six veteran players on a team that’s topped out in the second round of the playoffs.

But now that’s he’s Hawks GM, Ferry will have to build a roster for next season without much financial flexibility. And he will have to start doing it pretty much on the fly because the free-agent negotiating period opens Sunday, less than a week after he took the job.

“It’s a crash course, for sure,” Ferry said. “I think we want to make the best decisions possible in the short term. We want to make right decisions, whether it’s a trade, whether it’s free agency. But especially trades.”

The trade market remains the best way for the Hawks to make significant additions to the roster (which of course means they’d also have to make significant subtractions).

They continue to get a lot of calls about Josh Smith but the impetus for pursuing Pau Gasol came from Rick Sund and Ferry so far hasn’t taken that baton. Ferry hasn’t even had a chance to fully assess the roster or meet the players.

Smith has a lot of value as a talented and productive player on a reasonable contract that expires after next season. Al Horford is an attractive piece, too, because he’s an All-Star big man locked up for four years and $48 million. Good luck dealing Joe Johnson with four years and $90 million remaining on his contract.

(Aside: I’ve heard some of my blog people wonder if Ferry will be “allowed” to trade Marvin Williams. Please accept that the Hawks have tried to trade Williams for at least two years and no one is biting. That shouldn’t be hard to do since you don’t want him on your team at his salary, either.)

If the Hawks don’t make a trade, then they’ll have to find some value on the free-agent market and perhaps get some contributions from unheralded rookies.

After signing first-round draft pick John Jenkins, Atlanta will have roughly $62 million in salaries committed to seven players. If second-round pick Mike Scott makes the roster and sticks for the year, that’s another $473,604. Ferry said he hasn’t decided if he will extend a qualifying offer to Ivan Johnson; if the Hawks do so and Johnson ends up playing on that deal, add about $1 million.

That’s about $63.5 million dollars for nine players. The roster minimum is 13 and the maximum is 15. The salary cap next season will be no less than $58 million. The luxury-tax threshold last season was $70.3 million and won’t rise significantly unless the players and league agree on a big increase in projected BRI for next season.

So, basically, the Hawks likely will have somewhere in the neighborhood of $6.5 to $9 million of room below the tax line to sign four to six players. Ferry said he’s authorized to spend into the tax but would like to avoid doing so.

“I want to build a roster that has some flexibility to it,” Ferry said. “Ownership has told me when appropriate, that when going over the tax makes sense as far as making us a better team, that is something we would be allowed to do. I want to use that judiciously, though, when you are given that opportunity to do so.

“In this new CBA, some of the challenges when being over the tax as far as trade restrictions as far as exceptions available to you going forward have changed the spending habits in the NBA. Would I think over the next few years we would go over the tax? I think there is a good chance but, again, I want to do that in a judicious manner.”

Ferry is talking about the more-punitive tax penalties that begin in 2012-13. Teams over the threshold will pay a higher tax; will have a smaller mid-level exception and no bi-annual exception; can’t take as much salary back in trades; and won’t be able to receive a player in a sign-and-trade if they are $4 million or more above the tax level.

Translation for the Hawks: Ferry can use the mid-level and bi-annual exceptions and make the Hawks tax-payers again but he’d better be sure he’s signing players that put the Hawks over the top.

“If the belief was it was going to make us a lot better, those things are on the table whether now or later in the year,” Ferry said. “The dollar amount certainly is a parameter as it relates to the tax. You’d prefer not to go over it. But right time, right trade, right thing [then] ownership, Bruce Levenson, has told me that if it’s appropriate and right and it would really make a difference we would have the ability to do so.

“I want to say with that I don’t think it’s always the right thing to go over the tax because of the rule and because of the way things operate. Most teams are never one player away. I think that’s a mistake sometimes teams make. We are going to look at opportunities and make a decision.”

The opportunities will be there for the Hawks on the trade market. There’s a sense of urgency because free agency opens in a couple days but Ferry said he plans to stay patient.

“Every player we may like, [the process] will take its own pace,” he said. “We will have some control over that but the players will have some control over that, as well. So we are going to make our calls on July 1, we are going to explore every option and hopefully we can make good decisions.

“Honestly, last year–I know I keep crediting Rick–but I thought they did a pretty nice job filling out their roster from where they were. Hopefully we can find avenues to do as well, [and] hopefully even better.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

363 comments Add your comment

doc

June 29th, 2012
3:41 pm

Rod here is the answer to your question from previous blog. New guy in town to shore it up.

phoenix falcon

June 29th, 2012
3:42 pm

I wish we could sue the people who put the hawks in this position. oh yeah….1ST…………..

phoenix falcon

June 29th, 2012
3:43 pm

Dawgz Rule

June 29th, 2012
3:43 pm

Rod from College Park

June 29th, 2012
3:45 pm

“(Aside: I’ve heard some of my blog people wonder if Ferry will be “allowed” to trade Marvin Williams. Please accept that the Hawks have tried to trade Williams for at least two years and no one is biting. That shouldn’t be hard to do since you don’t want him on your team at his salary, either.)”

Thanks. Been telling half the clowns for 4 years that no other team in the league wants Marvin Williams.

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

June 29th, 2012
3:47 pm

BIG IVAN WAS THE ONLY ONE THAT SHOWED UP AGAINST THE THE HEAT ON NATIONAL TV

doc

June 29th, 2012
3:48 pm

Heh heh at Phoenix.

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

June 29th, 2012
3:49 pm

BIG IVAN GOT PAID THE LEAST BUT WASN’T AFRAID TO CALL FOLKS OUT FOR NOT HUSTLING

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME JOE JOHNSON CALLED SOMEONE OUT

Rod from College Park

June 29th, 2012
3:50 pm

“Rod here is the answer to your question from previous blog. New guy in town to shore it up.”

doc, this is why the Jenkins pick is being questioned so much. You can go sign a Wille Green or any other shooter for the vet min. It is much more expensive to find a sevicable back up big, a or a starting caliber small forward.

doc

June 29th, 2012
3:50 pm

Heh at dawgz rule about as far off the mark as isiah.

Rod you know that is not the first time or even third that MC has said that. :-)

Ernest

June 29th, 2012
3:50 pm

Let’s hope it is a trade that will make the Hawks a better team. It will also be interesting to see what is done to fill out the bench. Will Ferry bring back some of those that played last year or look to bring different players in? There is something to be said about chemistry.

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

June 29th, 2012
3:50 pm

BIG IVAN DIDN’T CRY WHEN HE WAS ASKED TO PLAY CENTER

John

June 29th, 2012
3:52 pm

Resigning Ivan is a no brainer. Maybe he didn’t go to a good enough school for Ferry though.

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

June 29th, 2012
3:56 pm

WE NEED MORE HARD NOSED PLAYERS ON OUR TEAM LIKE IVAN

ALL WE GOT IS A BUNCH OF SISSY’S

SISSY’S CRY ABOUT PLAYING CENTER

SISSY’S CRY ABOUT HIS TEAM NOT DOING ENOUGH TO HELP HIM MAKE THE ALL-STAR TEAM

SISSY’S LET ANOTHER TEAM COME TO THIER HOME COURT WITHOUT THEIR STAR PLAYERS AND GET BLOWN OUT. THEN GOT THE NERVE TO BLAME IT ON THE FANS.

SMGDH

ShoNuff07

June 29th, 2012
3:57 pm

Just because they didn’t sign Ivan Johnson 5-10 mins after the season was over does NOT MEAN we will not resign him. I am very sure we will re-sign the young man prior to the Sat deadline. The Hawks Management are on their own time table…not on the fans who are only commenting from the outside and don’t have any money nor rep on the line.

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

June 29th, 2012
3:57 pm

John
June 29th, 2012
3:52 pm

Resigning Ivan is a no brainer. Maybe he didn’t go to a good enough school for Ferry though.

THE HAWKS ARE STILL THINKING ABOUT IT. SMGDH

doc

June 29th, 2012
3:59 pm

I hear you rod.

My take jenkins is better than green who is a good guy who really had a career year that may not be duplicated again. We need someone who can reliably stand on the perimeter and take the shot when they leave him open to double down on josh or jj or want to close down the interior to take away the pick and pop of Teague and Horford or make the close in look in big game situations Green had his chance with.

For more years I have said it starts with the ineptitude of gearons et all who thought they knew how to build a team. I thing levinson learned a lot about how it is done and is going to step back as well as gearons to let ferry do his job though he is hemed in. We still have to question but never get an answer on how they could throw so much at jj to keep him here and derail any chance to build a competitive team salary wise. Ultimately they will have to go over tax because of their mistakes if they are to build a team. They have themselves to blame.

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

June 29th, 2012
4:00 pm

OUT OF ALL OUR RESERVES THAT WE SIGNED LAST YEAR BIG IVAN GAVE US THE MOST PRODUCTION.

WE SHOULD HAVE RESIGNED HIM THE FIRST DAY WE HAD A CHANCE.

THE DEADLINE IS SATURDAY AND TODAY IS FRIDAY.

WHAT’S TAKING SO LONG?

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

June 29th, 2012
4:01 pm

BIG IVAN FOR PRESIDENT

NCBravesFan

June 29th, 2012
4:02 pm

After hearing Levenson’s comments about Joe Johnson earlier this week (how JJ wanted to come here and that in their view that was an important step in the development of the franchise) … if ultimately the Hawks are going to see JJ’s contract through to the bitter end.

If so, cutting Marvin loose with the amnesty clause might be the way to go. It would free up some cash for Ferry this year without dealing from the true core of the team.

To be sure, it wouldn’t solve the issue of Josh’s pending free agency and the payroll issues surrounding that. But it would give the team one more shot at getting to the Finals.

Either way, it will be interesting to watch how Ferry plays things.

Rod from College Park

June 29th, 2012
4:03 pm

“BIG IVAN DIDN’T CRY WHEN HE WAS ASKED TO PLAY CENTER”

Our All star center, does not want to play center, because its too physical for him. LOL

Rod from College Park

June 29th, 2012
4:08 pm

“We need someone who can reliably stand on the perimeter and take the shot when they leave him open to double down on josh or jj or want to close down the interior to take away the pick and pop of Teague and Horford or make the close in look in big game situations Green had his chance with.”

But we have our #2 pick, 8 million dollar per year SF Marvin Williams, who shot the lights out in his pre-draft workout for the Hawks. No way Jenkins can shoot better than him. LOL

Astro Joe

June 29th, 2012
4:08 pm

Ra’mon, I don;t know Jenkins, but when you ask “what will he do if hs shot isn;t falling?”, I think he will struggle. But how is that different than anyone else available at #23? And who is to say that he can;t learn how to improve his offense off the dribble? I just don’t understand why it seems like players with zero skills can improve but players with a few can’t.

lewis

June 29th, 2012
4:08 pm

Not really sure how you can question Al’s heart.

Roy Hibbert inflicted season ending injuries on like 15 players this year it seemed like. That guy is a spaz.

Rod from College Park

June 29th, 2012
4:09 pm

If you guys thought Jamal Crawford did not play defense, wait till you see Jenkins trying to guard 2 guards in the NBA. He has no chance of guarding point guards.

lewis

June 29th, 2012
4:10 pm

If Jamal Crawford was so damn good – someone would’ve signed him for more than a year.

Astro Joe

June 29th, 2012
4:11 pm

Jenkins=Ben Gordon.

BrittishAnger

June 29th, 2012
4:13 pm

I thought we already extended a QO to Ivan Johnson…Oh well, screw my assumptions….

Rod from College Park

June 29th, 2012
4:14 pm

“And who is to say that he can;t learn how to improve his offense off the dribble?”

Marvin has been here for many years, still can’t dribble, Horford still can’t dribble, Josh still can’t dribble. If those three guys have had no success doing so on this team, I have no confidence that John Jenkins will.

Rod from College Park

June 29th, 2012
4:16 pm

“If Jamal Crawford was so damn good – someone would’ve signed him for more than a year.”

He was signed for more than a year, he turned down a 5 mil per option to become a free agent. This is a business after all.

Dana F. Blankenhorn

June 29th, 2012
4:17 pm

I think the problems Ferry faces are clear. They are named Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams. They are dramatically overpaid, they are on long contracts, and they have to be moved.

Maybe if fans stopped getting mad at the ownership and started getting mad at the players who are overpaid they might have an impact. Maybe those players would want to leave. Obviously, Ferry believes they should.

Get the message, Joe? Get the message, Marvin?

Go away now.

Astro Joe

June 29th, 2012
4:18 pm

Rod, ask doc if there is a pill you can take for your Marvin Anxiety. Did you accuse the past 3-4 draft picks of being Marvin? Any reason that you have decided that Jenkins is Marvin or did you just run out of your meds again?

lewis

June 29th, 2012
4:19 pm

I agree with you on most things Rod, but Jamal was addition by subtraction. Unbelievable scoring talent – but could never seem to score within the offense. He could get his, for sure, at the expense of no one else being able to score alongside him.

Ra'mon

June 29th, 2012
4:19 pm

AJ, last night there were quite a few players who can defend and rebound available when the Hawks were on the board. Those guys can always learn how to knock down open shots. It just often seems as if guys who can score but not defend and rebound, have a harder time ever applying themselves to rebounding and defending once drafted. While guys who come in able to rebound and defend, eventually develops their shooting and decent scoring. I don’t know Jenkins. He may turn out to be a great addition. But I think many of the games the Hawks this past season had more to do with no one on the reserve unit being able to rebound the ball, or defend for long stretches, more so than not being able to score. I could see Moultrie having an impact similar to Farie.

Sam

June 29th, 2012
4:22 pm

Good article, Mr. Cunningham.

My only question is why didn’t we see any trades last night that involved player movement along with pick movement? Ben Gordon, Samuel Dalembert, and Chase Budinger were the only players moved near the draft.

Ra'mon

June 29th, 2012
4:23 pm

Lewis, sorry but you said ’score within the offense’. What offense?

lewis

June 29th, 2012
4:26 pm

Lol – I guess by “offense” i mean anything centered around ball movement – playing inside out – finding the open man – things that the hawks rarely do but have major success when they do – not 2 guards dribbling dribbling dribbling.

Rod from College Park

June 29th, 2012
4:27 pm

Astro Joe,

I know it kills you that I was right about Marvin. John Jenkins will automatically be better than Marvin as long as he can stay upright for most of the game. Many guys that reach this level have the ability to knock down open shots, which if he is a shooter he should be able to do. Still does not make it a smart pick. There will be a Jason Kapono, James Jones, Mike Miller, Willie Green….sitting there after the free agency period is over waiting on the phone to ring. Bet on it.

hawksfancents95

June 29th, 2012
4:29 pm

if we planned on re-signing Ivan and we still drafted a 6′8 PF we deserve to be stuck in this neutral pergatory of a luxury taxed 1st round bounced team.
if we got PJ3 or Tony Wroten we would be a top 3 in the east team no doubt, but now we will be in the 4-7 seed.
also idk how anyone can claim anyone but josh as the best player on our team. he does everything and gets no credit, when hes great we say, he’s supposed to do that but when he plays mediocre its josh smith is this teams true weakness. i bet we trade josh for no one close to his talent as well as we will give them a pick and that team will make their respective conference finals and we will be two steps back.
last season was the same as the season before and we didnt even have AL. we were like 5-6 on PPG allowed and we didnt have our all-star center oh no! josh did it all for us and got snubbed. the funny thing is i think we can get to the nba finals with josh and joe on our team, i just believe we need to trade AL for another 1a player. three 1a guys can beat even mia with their 1(lbj6) and 1(dw3) and 1a(cb4). if we traded al for iggy we would have 3 1as and i think we could possibly when that series.

Astro Joe

June 29th, 2012
4:29 pm

Ra’mon, I understand, I wanted a solid defender who can learn how to shoot. But I also recognize that we need a lights out shooter. Vlad was a disaster in that role.

Jenkins has a 36 inch vertical so he isn;t withount some athleticism. Everything I’ve read suggests that he is a hard worker which is the first step toward being a decent defender. He was not exclusively the only player at 23 to fill a skill gap, but he may have the most NBA ready skill of those guys. I’m not feeling like the difference between Taylor, Jenkins or Ezeli will be the difference between the 2nd round and ECF. I’m not bright enough to know that the day after the draft (unlike others who seem to have that knowledge).

Astro Joe

June 29th, 2012
4:33 pm

Rod, Willie Green will never make 40% of his 3s again, just like you;re convined that Marvin will never reach his previous career high in performance. I’m on board with trading Marvin. You can butcher Marvin until the cows come home. I’m just trying to understand why you have decided to link Marvin to Jenkins the day after he was drafted, that’s all. It’s like if you don’t like a player, they become Marvin-esque, just because you are a one trick pony incapable of any other way of articulating yourself.

Astro Joe

June 29th, 2012
4:34 pm

John Jenkins = Ben Gordon

kidstunna

June 29th, 2012
4:35 pm

Dana u have to blame ownership they are giving out the big contracts WE SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN PERRY JONES DA 3RD

Rod from College Park

June 29th, 2012
4:35 pm

“I agree with you on most things Rod, but Jamal was addition by subtraction. Unbelievable scoring talent – but could never seem to score within the offense. He could get his, for sure, at the expense of no one else being able to score alongside him.”

It was already mentioned, what offense. Our offense is iso based. Anytime we really needed a bucket this year it turned into iso Joe. Iso Jamal was just as effective as Iso Joe. The problem was when Jamal was here our coach would not play Teague. That is a coaching issue. I can promise you John Jenkins ain’t better than Jamal. He might end up shooting a higher percentage, but he can’r handle the ball, create his own shot, pass the ball, or get to the line better than Jamal. Neither guy plays defense. Jamal was not addition by subtraction because ass you say in the playoffs this year, our bench gave us nothing.

Rob

June 29th, 2012
4:36 pm

Pretty sure Josh has been crying about playing power forward for years because he can’t take the punishment. So much that he lost 30 pounds last season to force them to move him to small forward.

he whined about lack of touches/shots.
he whined about not making the all star game
he whined about playing small forward

Should rename that building the CRY-Light Factory

Section 303

June 29th, 2012
4:41 pm

I like Danny Ferry. Feeling more trust that the right moves will be made. More trust than I’ve ever had in a Hawks GM, in fact. And, I like Rick Sund.

Don’t know if Ivan is worth the money or not. He is a ticking time bomb. Have a lot of doubt about him after he left the floor in Boston, at the end of Game 6, flipping off the Boston fans. Normally, I would kind of like that (I hate Boston and their fans), but in Ivan’s case, it has to give cause for concern.

Betting Scott makes this team. He is a tough guy, from all accounts, and he will be cheap. Also, bet David Lighty has a great shot at a spot, too. He’s on the Summer League squad and already has established himself with the Hawks as a potential player. He performed well in their free agent camp last summer (or…was that in the fall? Can’t remember exactly).

One thing about the severe tax penalties….they will level the field. Not many teams are going to want to pay the heavy tax.

Astro Joe

June 29th, 2012
4:44 pm

303, yep, that’s what teams like the Hawks were hoping for, a CBA that leveled the playing field.

Section 303

June 29th, 2012
4:46 pm

Rod from College Park, I like reading your posts. You’re a knowledgeable fan, from what I can tell. But…..I think you are forgetting how bad Jamal Crawford was his last season here. He had some good moments (the shot in Game 3, in 2010 Magic Series. And, Game 1 against the Bulls, also in 2010). He had more bad games than good, though. He often took poor shots and that put the Hawks in a lot of holes.

I will say this…I thought his defense was a lot better his last year here. His shooting was poor. Even in the Game 3 against Orlando, he shot bad. Everyone remembers the banked in 3, but if you go back and watch that game again, Crawford was not good.

I like Jamal, too. He seems like a guy I would actually like if I met him. I don’t want him back, though.

Rod from College Park

June 29th, 2012
4:47 pm

“You can butcher Marvin until the cows come home. I’m just trying to understand why you have decided to link Marvin to Jenkins the day after he was drafted, that’s all.”

I never linked Marvin and Jenkins. I said that we heard the same things about Marvin is his pre-daft workout, (that he shot lights out), that we heard about Jenkins. I also had a close friend who was a scout for the Hawks who said the same thing about Salim. I also stated I wonder if he had anyone guarding him. I know many guys right now who are not NBA talented who can knock down open jumpers all day long. It’s more a questioning of this franchise. I have seen John Jenkins play numerous times. The guy can shoot the rock. But so can, Jamal Crawford, Mike Miller, James Jones, Jason Kapono, Salim Stoudemire, Willie Green………

Section 303

June 29th, 2012
4:48 pm

Rod, correction…..those playoff games I mention above, are from 2011, not 2010. I am getting my seasons that ended in 2nd round defeats mixed up!