Hawks forward Josh Smith is eager to see what Danny Ferry has in store for the in the future but he doesn’t seem to be impressed by what he sees right now.
Ferry agreed to trade Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams in deals that no doubt leave the Hawks as a worse team now. Word is Smith, whose contract expires after next season, expressed his concerns about the team’s direction in a recent meeting with Ferry. The Hawks GM in turn told Smith his short- and long-term visions for making the team a contender.
Ferry acknowledged meeting with Smith last week.
“It went great,” Ferry said. “It went fine.”
Ferry declined to elaborate on any details about the conversation with Smith but, speaking generally about the effects of major trades on players, said there can be shock initially.
“If changes are made there is a sense of loss because relationships get built in this business,” Ferry said. “It takes time for everyone to adjust.”
If Smith was stung by Johnson’s departure, it would make sense on a couple levels.
For one, as mentioned, the Hawks right now have less talent than at any time during their five-year playoffs streak. Smith has told the team he wants to be traded to a franchise he believes is more serious about playing for championships. That’s certainly part of Ferry’s long-term plan but the Hawks took a step back in the interim.
The other factor is Smith had a solid relationship with Johnson, who was Smith’s longest-tenured teammate along with Zaza Pachulia and Marvin Williams. Smith was in his second season when Johnson arrived in Atlanta with the expectation of being the team’s star. Smith and Johnson’s strong chemistry on the court was obvious, too, with Smith often looking to pass to Johnson in transition or spotting up in the half court.
Ferry said he has yet to meet with all of the Hawks players. He’s had a busy schedule that’s included trips out of town, and many of the players also have been in and out of Atlanta. Ferry said he planned to meet soon with Pachulia and Jeff Teague, who both are in Atlanta.
“I am trying to build connections with all of these guys,” Ferry said.
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat