Atlanta Hawks: New era begins

“We would be good, but not good enough.”

When Danny Ferry said it, I felt like Micheal Keaton in “The Paper” (underrated flick, by the way).

“He said the headline! The guy actually said the headline!”

Ferry succinctly summed up the frustrations I’ve heard expressed so many times by my blog people. That’s why the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive to Ferry’s decision to extract the franchise from two burdensome contracts.

But already I sense some anxiety among you about the next step. No doubt that feeling is heightened by Ferry’s failed (for now) pursuit of a trade for Dwight Howard, who’s status is in limbo. I’ve seen Hawks fans already fretting that no superstar would ever actually choose to sign with this franchise.

None of this surprises me, of course. It didn’t take me long in this job to learn that a sense of insecurity and pending dread appears to be a common symptom of your affection for the Hawks.

But, more than that, these concerns are reasonable. You recognize this is just the first step in a plan that’s difficult to execute. Bold moves may be necessary at times but they don’t always or even usually lead to more success than the status quo.

Ferry’s decision to take a step back comes with significant risk. That’s still true even if you believe there never would be any greater reward for staying pat.

Ferry chuckled when I told him that elation among Hawks fans about the trades had been supplanted by some nervousness that there would be no follow-through.

“I can’t give you all the answers,” he said. “We were good but not good enough, and now how do we find a way to get even better than before?”

Some tweeps interpreted Ferry’s comments about the status quo not being good enough as a shot at his predecessors and the team’s ownership. I didn’t read it that way–and, besides, Bruce Levenson himself was blunt in acknowledging that the franchise’s basketball operations needed a fresh philosophy.

On the day Ferry was introduced as GM, he mentioned that the organization seemed a bit too humble in light of its accomplishments. He seemed a bit incredulous when reporters peppered him with questions about his plan to make the Hawks better.

“They’ve been good here and I have to come to that with respect,” Ferry said. “There are teams that are trying to get to where the Atlanta Hawks are at now.”

These new Hawks are now behind those Hawks and it’s up to Ferry to get them where they’ve never been. He has the assets to do it now: expiring contracts, productive young players with reasonable deals, draft picks and massive cap space in the near future.

In fact, those chips should help alleviate your worries about free agents choosing Atlanta. Ferry has the tools to bring talent here in trades (the cap space will make that simpler, too). It’s telling that when Ferry is asked about free agents, he usually comes back to trades.

“There should be options but it’s also not all going to happen on July 15,” he said. “We have through to the trade deadline and we will continue to build on our team.”

Ferry decided that the Hawks’ good wasn’t good enough. It may take a while before my blog people can hope for greatness and it’s possible it may never come. But you said all along you wanted the Hawks to shoot for a championship and now they can at least try.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

264 comments Add your comment

random

July 11th, 2012
11:12 pm

Were dead

July 11th, 2012
11:14 pm

Rev in Tampa

July 11th, 2012
11:18 pm

“We have through to the trade deadline and we will continue to build on our team.”

Does Ferry mean the mid-February deadline? Or is there another that happens before the season begins?

Section 303

July 11th, 2012
11:19 pm

Danny Ferry continues to impress me everyday. I love the moves, so far. But, I also like that he acknowledges the Hawks recent success. The team has not gotten enough credit for what they have done the 4-5 seasons.

Najeh Davenpoop

July 11th, 2012
11:23 pm

All the stuff about changing the team’s identity and playing up tempo sounds really nice, but it’s hard not to be skeptical about such a dramatic shift in philosophy as long as the team employs the same head coach as the last two years.

H4L

July 11th, 2012
11:23 pm

IN FERRY I TRUST….

Slimjr

July 11th, 2012
11:25 pm

Need a rim protector or two.. Hawks are too small…

Also a scoring SF would be a great help…

H4L

July 11th, 2012
11:25 pm

Najeh not much he can do about the coach seeing how Sund was the one who extended him before stepping down. I think this year is an audition for LD to Ferry.

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

July 11th, 2012
11:26 pm

Is Sund still with the franchise?

Slimjr

July 11th, 2012
11:28 pm

Expect Larry to win roughly 6-9 games against the winners. He’s [28-47] or 37% so far..Just brutal man….

Luke Cage

July 11th, 2012
11:32 pm

SWEET CHRISTMAS!!!

Hawks making moves, like I said before, nothing wrong with taking a small step back to leap forward.

Heard Hawks are intrested in Korver, hope not, dude is the worst defender

Harpie

July 11th, 2012
11:33 pm

Get rid of Larry Drew!

RD

July 11th, 2012
11:33 pm

Well said, MC.

I am more excited about Ferry’s 2012 team than I ever was about the past two seasons.

tankarelli

July 11th, 2012
11:33 pm

We’ve tried this before when we unloaded Mookie/Smitty cuz we topped out at 1st round wins. Tried again to clear cap space in early/mid ’00s, but couldn’t get anyone to sign here. Hope 3rd time is the charm.

Tearing down is much easier than building up. We’ll see what Ferry can do. Gonna be hard when all the good players are basically leaning to NY, LA, Miami and OKC somewhat.

i_am_soulstar

July 11th, 2012
11:34 pm

Considering the Ferry’s not thinking championship w/ this particular squad or for this particular season, I’m sure he’ll let LD coach himself into a new contract or out of a job this season. It’s all in your hands, L.D. (he’ll probably be gone).

RD

July 11th, 2012
11:39 pm

Larry Drew is not the problem with this team. NBA basketball is all about the players and the decisions they make on the court. The coach is just a scapegoat.

NannyFerry

July 11th, 2012
11:42 pm

LD didn’t really have to coach too much with iso-joe. Let’s see what happens when LD actually has to be creative with an offense.

I’m not very optimistic.

Section 303

July 11th, 2012
11:43 pm

Najeh, I agree. Ferry should have been allowed to pick his own coach (Brian Shaw is my choice). LD is nothing but a lame duck . He won’t be the coach next season.

What will LD do with no “iso-Joe” to turn to? He will actually have to think when he draws up plays.

NannyFerry

July 11th, 2012
11:46 pm

Section 303

My thoughts exactly.

Hazeltine

July 11th, 2012
11:47 pm

Most all of us want Dwight Howard, but you hafta think the Magic are reluctant to trade him to a division rival, especially when they can ship him (and Turkogku AND J-Rich’s contracts) to the Western Conference (Houston). Our hope for landing Dwight will probably hafta reside in dealing with Houston at the trade deadline or hoping Dwight makes it to free agency. All that being said, I’m proud of the Hawks and Danny Ferry for at least trying to get Dwight Howard here.

zeyfromtheay

July 11th, 2012
11:50 pm

Gerald Green….Jaavale Mcgee….look like they are related

What if they were both on the same team!? OUR TEAM!!

Is anyone opposed to signing Javale Mcgee??

I really want Gerald Green more than anything, but with Mcgee AND Green, we’d be absurdly athletic!!

Hazeltine

July 12th, 2012
12:03 am

tankarelli — Actually, in both cases the Hawks could’ve been very successful. We drafted Pau Gasol after trading away Mookie/Mutombo/Smith… only, we traded him for Abdur-Rahim. Then, after tanking again, we had the #2 pick… only to screw that up. And, in all fairness, Joe Johnson was a huge free agent acquisition for ATL in ‘05. He would’ve looked a lot better next, well, we all know who.

zeyfromtheay — We’d be athletic, but don’t give us any basketball IQ tests.

Barton

July 12th, 2012
12:04 am

Last time I swear – addition by subtraction. This Hawks team will perform better as a team than they have the past 2 years and we will see more consistency and defined roles. Stop with all this McGee/OJ Mayo nonsense. Don’t need them, don’t want them.

And why is there so much hate for Teague? Dude just came off his first year as a full-time starter and I thought he played quite impressively for someone who handled the ball about as much as his SG and SF/PF.

Danny Mannin'

July 12th, 2012
12:06 am

Horford should be enough. The length of that reasonable contract is gold for Orlando. The rest are filling in enough players to make the salary cap work. Ferry should hold firm at offering Horford (and fillers) for Dwight. We could even throw Orlando a 1st rounder or 2 in the next draft and all sing Kumbaya together.

Hoops

July 12th, 2012
12:07 am

The Hawks are not going to get D12 this summer for these reasons:
1. The Magic are not going to trade him to a division rival.
2. The Hawks are not going to trade for him without a long term committment from Dwight and he has never said that he will commit to the Hawks.

So, if I am correct in my assumptions, then the Hawks can wait for next summmer to make a run for him or move on and improve their team. I don’t think D12 is ever going to agree to come to the Hawks. I’m sure Hawks management has Josh in his ear. They know if he is interested in coming to ATL or not. I bet not. So, where does Danny Ferry go now to improve this team? The Hawks need a SF bad!!! Do you think Ferry keeps Josh if D12 is not coming to the Hawks? If not, what about Josh for Iggy? It’s just refreshing that Ferry has the Hawks in the news about building for a future instead of holding onto what they have!!!

Ra'mon

July 12th, 2012
12:11 am

Guys, this is the reason I would trade Josh or Al to a team like Charlotte for next season’s draft pick, and 2015’s.

http://nbadraft.net/players/shabazz-muhammad

Muhammed is the best wing player coming out of high school since Lebron.

HAWKSORDIE

July 12th, 2012
12:12 am

i called couple friends AND suggested lou Williams and javalle mcgee as well as goran dragic…one outta three not bad but we NEED mcgee also

Barton

July 12th, 2012
12:13 am

Andre Iguodala is not who we want for Smoove.. he doesn’t even come close to providing what Josh can across the board. Add Iggy to my list of no’s.

i_am_soulstar

July 12th, 2012
12:19 am

I don’t seriously believe that Ferry is gonna go into the season with no true starting SF on the roster. I just don’t see it happening with all these guards.

I believe he speaks for the team as currently constructed. Notice when asked about the team in his interview, he mentions Jordan Farmar, who we all know is being bought out, but it hasn’t officially happened yet.

From what I’ve seen thus far, Danny “Poker Face” Ferry reveals none of his cards, and very of his intentions.

i_am_soulstar

July 12th, 2012
12:19 am

starting-caliber SF*

Rusty

July 12th, 2012
12:20 am

Larry Drew is a horrible coach.

i_am_soulstar

July 12th, 2012
12:21 am

very few* jeez, i gotta proofread these things before clicking submit.

Hoops

July 12th, 2012
12:27 am

Barton,

If you don’t want Iggy, you have to have better reasons than that. I would make the 76′ers include a 1st round pick and make the trade!

i

i

JustSayinB

July 12th, 2012
12:27 am

LD may not be the problem with the Hawks, but because of his nuthuggin thuggin lovin of Josh Smith-he basically sold himself and the Atlanta fan out. If LD’s given another chance this season-it will only be because he’s a cheap hire on the last leg of an extension-whereby Danny Ferry is going to lay in the cut to see where the chips fall for this year win or lose. Then this time next year-God willing, the Hawks may be in a better position to deal.

zeyfromtheay

July 12th, 2012
12:30 am

@Hazeltine @Barton

Mcgee was kicking Andrew Bynum and Gasol’s butts for a minute in them playoffs last year. He’s a freak of nature. He’s like some kind of cross between a llama, an orangutan, and a human.
But for real, he is as athletic as he is dumb, and has very long arms. He can make up for his mental short-comings I believe.

The best part is he is cheap and NOT a main option, but his athleticism commands defensive attention. And he can defend pretty well. There ARE NOT MANY BETTER AVAILABLE CENTERS OTHER THAN MCGEE. In fact as far as I know, excluding Dwight, he is are best choice.

zeyfromtheay

July 12th, 2012
12:33 am

Sign Javale Mcgee, trade Horford for Iggy……think about it

Najeh Davenpoop

July 12th, 2012
12:54 am

McGee is supposedly asking for upwards of $10 million a year, which would be an insane amount for him seeing as how his entire offensive game is limited to alley oop dunks and putbacks. He’s not much more than DeAndre Jordan on offense, and that contract already looks bad.

pointguardslim

July 12th, 2012
1:54 am

“The Hawks have other options, including shifting Josh Smith from power forward to small forward like they did last season.”

Really? Because I watched all season waiting for it and it never came but 3 or 4 times.
Once against the Magic (the 2nd time the Hawks put Marvin on Ryan Anderson and Smith on Turk). Once against Durant.
Then once against the Bulls backup SF.

Overall Josh Smith played 0% at SF last year according to 82 games iirc. Smith did however guard some SFs who play PF; Lebron and Gay (Grizzlies, Heat went small for a few minutes) and Carmelo (Amare injured, Hawks won),

Don’t tease us MC!

Geno

July 12th, 2012
1:56 am

I like mcghee too.. hes does have skills and is a beast of an athlete…

falCans

July 12th, 2012
1:59 am

I BEEN SCREAMIN HORFORD FOR IGGY FA DA LAST MONTH SHEESH PPL WAKE UP. Josh smith and iggy is a defensive nightmare. Not sold on mcgee because we need post players

Geno

July 12th, 2012
2:01 am

I would like to see mcgrady back in here… The last playoff game he was in against boston he was going off until he hurt his ankle….. If he had more touches he would be very effective…. #our sf

Atlhawksfan

July 12th, 2012
2:04 am

Ferry doing good moves so far, get Howard and then go after a defensive sf

pointguardslim

July 12th, 2012
2:04 am

sf Josh and pf Ivan
vs
sf Durant pf and Ibaka

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RX_M_UAtKQw
the weak link is Ivan. Baby with the bathwater folks. The big lineup being the burgeoning baby.

Geno

July 12th, 2012
2:06 am

Josh smith @sf?… Are u sure…. I would say yes if he stuck to being a slasher and 2pt shooter… He showrd glimpses of that, but can he be consistent with it….

pointguardslim

July 12th, 2012
2:07 am

A scoring SF? Like Paul Pierce?????

No we’re running offense through our guards. Then a PF will knock down jumpers and Josh and Pachulia*/Horford will crash glass.

* Rumors are that Elton Brand wants to go to the Mavs. Old team, backup Dirk and Kaman…

Come on Elton we got 24mpg with Pachulia. Come be our Ben Wallace! ‘04 Pistons!

Could you imagine the man to man and help defense?

Josh, Horford, Elton Brand
Deshawn Scott/Ivan Pachulia

pointguardslim

July 12th, 2012
2:11 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biEFVQoLmPY

Here’s a new angle I thought of watching the Boston vid. With Lou and Josh on the wings you can’t switch.

Imagine the switches…

Avery Bradley trying to guard Josh Smith

Paul Pierce trying to guard Lou Williams

are you kidding me? Kind of makes me want to start Lou

Go real small in the backcourt and real big in the frontcourt,

Geno

July 12th, 2012
2:13 am

Hoford and josh will have a monster season……

Geno

July 12th, 2012
2:22 am

Jason collins OWNS dwight…. Lol

JIm

July 12th, 2012
2:23 am

I think they should make a run at O.J. he would def be a good fit in the offense. i also think the Hawks should keep Horford and Smith together..

JIm

July 12th, 2012
2:24 am

O.J. Mayo that is* lol