Atlanta Hawks: Danny Ferry and Mark Cuban seek similar paths

Each time Hawks GM Danny Ferry does an interview, the recurring theme is how he’s being “opportunistic.”

As in, after trading Joe Johnson and clearing the books after 2011-12, the Hawks now have the flexibility to take advantage of pretty much any opportunity that comes along.

That’s true, but now what?

The Hawks already missed out on one opportunity when Dwight Howard was sent to the Lakers before Ferry could even measure Dwight’s feelings about returning home. Next summer Ferry probably will get another crack at Howard (though the Lakers will own Howard’s Bird rights) and any of the other star free agents set to hit the market.

Financial flexibility is good, and there will be other opportunities, but how to turn that potential into a superstar player(s) that is (are) essential to competing for championships?

“Read an article about what Mark Cuban is doing,” Ferry said.

Cuban struck out with his plan of clearing cap space to acquire star players last summer. He’s since resisted the urge to double down on payroll because he believes that, eventually, teams with financial flexibility will benefit from specific CBA rules that kick in starting in 2013-14.

“I just think there’s a different approach,” Cuban told CBSSports.com. “You see what’s happening with teams that are up against the financial limits and it’s impacting their behavior. But we haven’t seen what’s going to happen with the trade limitations and things like that — not being able to do sign-and-trades, all that kind of stuff.”

The more punitive tax rate is just one aspect of the rules meant to curtail the big spenders. The rules also stipulate that teams with payrolls more than $4 million above the tax line can’t execute sign-and-trades, can acquire less salary in trades than non-taxpaying teams, and have a smaller mid-level exception and no bi-annual exception.

Cuban is betting those rules will lead to high-payroll teams being unable to acquire superstars, leaving those with cap space in a stronger position to make deals for those players. Ferry is predicting the same.

“It’s the same path,” Ferry said. “We don’t have [Dirk] Nowitzki but we have more assets. We have good players. [The Mavs] are piecing things together to keep flexibility to stay competitive. On some level, we are in a similar mode as what Dallas is doing.

“With Josh [Smith] and Jeff [Teague] and Al [Horford] and flexibility around it and draft choices ahead. I think we are positioned well to be opportunistic whether that’s trade [or] whether that’s free agency in the future. It’s not an exact path. It’s about having a situation where you can be opportunistic.”

There are reasons to believe the Hawks are in a better position than Dallas. The 2012-13 Hawks, on paper at least, are comparable to the 2012-13 Mavericks. Smith and Horford may be more attractive trade targets now than Nowitzki is 34-years old and owed nearly $44 million over the next two years. The Hawks also have multiple draft picks.

The counter to those arguments is that the Mavs under Cuban have a much better organizational reputation than the Hawks. That means that, theoretically, they have a better chance of landing superstar free agents or keeping them for the long term after trading for them.

Now that Ferry has gained the flexibility he coveted, the next step is trying to make the Hawks the kind of franchise where the best players want to work.

“I’m trying to build well from the inside out,” Ferry said. “We need to build an organizational pride from within. We are not hinging our program on cap space or anything like that. We are hinging it on building a good program and having flexibility to make a trade or do free agency or do whatever.

“To get centric on cap space, [focusing on] would a free agent come here, that’s not what we are doing right now. That’s not the mode we are in right now. We are in a mode of, ‘Let’s build on an organizational pride and build an even better run machine as an organization.’

“From there, pride will grow and I think the opportunities that are out there, we are in a good position to be in the game, whether that’s a trade or a free agent or whatever that is.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat
Follow @ajchawks on Twitter.

118 comments Add your comment

Kevin Williams

August 14th, 2012
2:50 pm

Hawks Suck and will never be good. We’ll never win a championship, and never get a superstar here. It’s sad that i’m a hawks fan and bought season tickets for the past few years to see us suck so bad. A huge waste of my money.

Matt

August 14th, 2012
2:53 pm

This is coming from someone who’s lived in Atlanta for about years: Comparing the Hawks to Mavs is laughable. Championships, front office, owner, state tax, lifestyle, everything.

Steve

August 14th, 2012
3:00 pm

I’ve seen more quotes from Danny Ferry in 1 month than I saw from Rick Sund or Billy Knight in 10 years. Bravo Danny. Even if it doesn’t work, at least you’re opening yourself up to Atlanta.

cdog

August 14th, 2012
3:03 pm

danny ferry saved the hawks from sinking into losing put there by bunbling and doing nothing, rick sund.the hawks will be a team to reckopn with.

Rev in Tampa

August 14th, 2012
3:04 pm

Well it ain’t sexy and it may require more patience than a year, but at least its a plan. Better than running the same ‘ol, same ‘ol out on the court every year while not advancing past the second round of playoffs.

TMACfan

August 14th, 2012
3:07 pm

Rev in Tampa

August 14th, 2012
3:10 pm

As a big Jeff Teague fan I love the fact that Danny intentionally mentions him along with Josh and Al. ARE YOU LISTENING Leisure Suit Larry?

JOSH IS BEAST

August 14th, 2012
3:15 pm

yall stay crying bout everything I swear ….myself I’m a proud hawks fan! !! I’m so Happy I ain’t a cheat I mean heat fan or a bucks or a timberwolves or raptors fan …I Love the hawks. period and when the next four seasons produce a championship run all y’all haters going to hop on ferrys ____ u Know what.!!@#$@@…if it wasn’t for the Game 6 bad calls that were undoubtedly admitted by NBA OFFICE. then we may have went ECF EASILY! ! IDIOTS STOP TALKING ABOUT MY HOME TEAM IF YOU ARE AN UNHAPPY FAN GO KISS BRON OR PLAY GOLF….GO HAWKS..GO HAWKS …GO HAWKS .PERIOD #ATL

Rev in Tampa

August 14th, 2012
3:17 pm

“That’s not the mode we are in right now. We are in a mode of, ‘Let’s build on an organizational pride and build an even better run machine as an organization.’”

In other words, we are going to gut the whole stinking hot mess and start over.

Rev in Tampa

August 14th, 2012
3:21 pm

I wonder if Danny Ferry has authority to address the scoreboard problems and the resturant.

Najeh Davenpoop

August 14th, 2012
3:22 pm

“Comparing the Hawks to Mavs is laughable. Championships, front office, owner, state tax, lifestyle, everything.”

13 years ago, the Mavs were even more of a laughingstock than the Hawks are now. It only takes one guy in power to change the culture.

JOSH IS BEAST

August 14th, 2012
3:24 pm

and for teague haters ..let me share something u must have missed out on he Started during a semifinal series versus the Chicago bulls who he went up against a guy maybe you’ve heard of= Derrick rose …and his First full season starting was THIS past year..so I BELIEVE IN HIM BECOMING A TOP FIVE PG IN THE NBA THIS YEAR..HIS WORK ETHICS IN OFFSEASON IS UNMATCHED REMARKABLE AND DETERMINATION IS A HUGE FACTOR IN PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL LADIES N GENTLEMAN ..WATCH IT UNFOLDING AND MARK MY WORDS

Glenn

August 14th, 2012
3:25 pm

Yeah Danny Ferry hit on the one thing . The teams that make it to the finals are the ones with true superstars . Not over payed decent players like Joe Johnson . Thats where Cuban & Ferry seem to be on the same page .The NBA really isn’t a team game anymore .

beone

August 14th, 2012
3:25 pm

Opportunistic & sustainability! I like it.

Mike is Back

August 14th, 2012
3:26 pm

MC, I wish Danny much success trying to repair the battered image of this organization…HE seems to be more than up to the task.

GO DANNY GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Astro Joe

August 14th, 2012
3:29 pm

Last week’s trade (and the Lakers $100M payroll) kind of flies in the face of Cuban’s prediction that the new luxury tax rules would influence “mega-teams”. Heaven knows, I hope that he turns out to be right.

Buddy Grizzard

August 14th, 2012
3:31 pm

JOSH IS BEAST

August 14th, 2012
3:37 pm

I watched deshawn Stevenson handle lebron james in the FINALS. AND IF NOT FOR THAT U THINK MAVS would’ve won? ? Really /?? so why everyone crying about a sf?? he is the guy we Need and we Have him ..if we didn’t and he was a FA. then everyone would be screaming get deshawn Stevenson for his lockdown defense ..wake up and see what’s bout to happen around u idiots …hawks are way Better and deeper this season than they Have been since 1887…lol

JOSH IS BEAST

August 14th, 2012
3:39 pm

oh btw. GO DANNY..GO DANNY!!” AND MAKE OUR HAWKS GOOOOOO!!!

Slimjr

August 14th, 2012
3:41 pm

790 the Zone is reporting that the Lakers want Josh!

Gasol is being offered in return!

Do not make that deal Danny!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Astro Joe

August 14th, 2012
3:42 pm

Buddy, my guess is that they are all correct. Howard wanted SVG fired… but yucked it up in his face like all was well. The Orlando front office badly managed the issue (and ultimately lost their jobs for selling themselves out). And SVG is currently “cleaning up” his mess because if he ever gets another shot at a head coaching gig, he needs to not be remembered as the head coach who threw a superstar under the bus. So everyone is being self-centered. But of all of the parties involved, only one will be making $16M+ over the next few seasons and only one entered the league representing a “higher calling”.

Slimjr

August 14th, 2012
3:42 pm

Gasol and All NBA= Layup line..Oh the Humanity!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JOSH IS BEAST

August 14th, 2012
3:45 pm

wow I Hope to god that Danny ferry don’t trade josh fpr That garbage gasol…mannnnnnnnNOOOOOOOO

hawksfancents95

August 14th, 2012
3:53 pm

Hawks fans
We are fine just fine with GM DF at the helm. ASG has stepped back and is keeping up with the payroll and that is it, GM DF showed them(ASG) if they followed his plan they could make even more money and put some credibility to their names. We are still going to be just as good as last year and we have put ourselves in a great position. AL and Josh will not be traded unless we get something spectacular in return as GM DF wants to see who he will proceed with after this year.
Even though the free agents next year look slim, you all know in a year a lot will change and guys will be moved and coaches/GM’s/players will have fall outs and new paths will be seeked.

Basically we have the same product as the last 5 years on the court but now we have a bright future with almost unlimited possibilities, that was not our outlook 1 year ago. we are fine just fine.

JOSH IS BEAST

August 14th, 2012
4:10 pm

exactly and Well put@hawksfancents95

Sameba

August 14th, 2012
4:16 pm

Josh is untradeable, more so to Lakers. Looks like a deliberate provocation. Lakers actually rented Howard for a year, and now want to secure him with the help of Hawks? Disgusting!

Ron

August 14th, 2012
4:24 pm

Gonna be REAL interesting to see what happens if the free agent offers for Josh creep into the max salary territory… and see how both Ferry and this fanbase reacts to whatever decision is made.

Slimjr

August 14th, 2012
4:27 pm

The Lakers actually would have upgraded brilliantly by swapping Bynum and Gasol for D12 and Smoove…

Wow. The Lakers just maybe the team to beat if Josh heads West…

Slimjr

August 14th, 2012
4:28 pm

Lakers in 5 if Josh heads West….Wow….

Rev in Tampa

August 14th, 2012
4:33 pm

hawksfancents95,

Your optimism is refreshing. But I think the Hawks have to take a step or two back this season, and possibly the next, to be in a position to even sniff the ECF. Realistially we are probably four years away from being able to think about ECF and beyond – IF all goes well AND Dwayne Wade retires.

Slimjr

August 14th, 2012
4:35 pm

Should we expect this down at Phillips, should the “Blockbuster” trade be consummated???? Hmmmmmm

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

The Truth

August 14th, 2012
4:40 pm

“Darren Wolfson: FA Jerome Jordan’s camp has been told the #Twolves are not interested at this time. The camp initiated the talks. Big man search continues.” Twitter

The Hawks should invite this (7ft 253 lbs) center to camp

D-league stats: 18 ppg nearly 9 rpg

Sameba

August 14th, 2012
4:40 pm

I hope DF is not that stupid to play along Lakers …

JOSH IS BEAST

August 14th, 2012
4:44 pm

josh for a lifetime hawk would be ok by me

steven a smith

August 14th, 2012
4:56 pm

I can see teams allowing Josh Smith to shoot 3s in La La land and causing the Lakers to get trounced by OKC. I love Joshs’ Game, however, he makes BAD decisions.You can not win with him.

steven a smith

August 14th, 2012
4:57 pm

Josh is “Overrated” I would trade him, but I need a lottery pick in return.

Buddy Grizzard

August 14th, 2012
5:01 pm

Pretty sweet… my first link on TrueHoop:

http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/49206/tuesday-bullets-258

I got more hits on my blog in the last hour than it had for its previous lifespan :)

Ron

August 14th, 2012
5:04 pm

“Wow. The Lakers just maybe the team to beat if Josh heads West…”

The Lakers are already the team to beat. Nash? Kobe? Gasol? DWIGHT? Jamison, Hill and Meeks off the bench?

As long as Mike “Larry Drew Jr” Brown don’t F it all up… LOL

Astro Joe

August 14th, 2012
5:13 pm

Buddy, that’s because you talked about Howard and not the Hawks.

The Truth, I agree, I liked Jordan during his draft year. he seemed like a guy with good potential. My guess is that there is something “behind the scenes” as the Knicks never gave him much of a shot and they could have used some center depth before landing Chandler. With potentially one roster spot (although that has not been cleared up, who has the 14th contract), I’d rather see an SF added than a 4th center (while good ole Petro stays on the roster).

Najeh Davenpoop

August 14th, 2012
5:15 pm

I’m going to need to see some independent confirmation of this Josh for Gasol Part 2 trade rumor that Slimjr is talking about. Kobe was ecstatic when he found out that the Lakers kept Gasol in the Dwight trade, and Gasol complements Dwight better than Josh does.

Melvin

August 14th, 2012
5:23 pm

Astro,

Under the new CBA. Do you know if there’s a possibility that a Free Agent (say Dwight) can sign a multiyear deal with another team (say Atlanta) with an Early Termination Clause then exercise that clause to become a free agent and remain eligible to resign with the same team (Atlanta) for a full max length of 5 years?

Section 303

August 14th, 2012
5:37 pm

I, for one, am glad that Dwight Howard is not coming here. He’s overrated and is not a winner. The Hawks will be fine without him. Anyone remember the 2011 Playoffs? Who was it that sent Dwight and his crew home, again? The Hawks are fine without Howard.

I love the position the organization is in. Cuban is right. The rules are going to kill teams that are way over the cap. Those teams will not be able to to land the top players. The Hawks will have more money to spend and the players will come.

And, props to the ASG. We spend so much time ripping them, it’s time to give them credit for hiring Ferry and getting out of his way. When Game 6 in Boston ended, I thought this team was trapped. A Josh Smith trade (which I didn’t want) seemed to be the only way out of the salary cap mess. Was preparing myself to accept having to watch Joe Johnson diminish before my eyes for the next 4 years. I never thought he could be traded!

Team is in a great position. And, I still say this year’s team will be good. They have a shot, if healthy, to still be one of the top teams in the East. A top team with money to spend. That is not a bad place to be.

Bane

August 14th, 2012
5:40 pm

“I, for one, am glad that Dwight Howard is not coming here. He’s overrated and is not a winner.”

-facepalm-

soullrenaissance

August 14th, 2012
5:42 pm

Gasol for Josh?!? Danny Ferry would not make that move. He said we need flexibility and a superstar, Gasol offers neither. Spare me.

Astro Joe

August 14th, 2012
5:44 pm

Melvin, that question just made my head hurt.

Astro Joe

August 14th, 2012
5:54 pm

Melvin, I don’t know. Once the player uses the ETO, that could void the Bird Rights for that team & player… meaning that he could only get a 4-year deal from a new team or the incumbent team. The other problem is that it may require the incumbent team (the Hawks in your scenario) to have salary cap room to re-sign him because they no longer own his Bird Rights. If that is the case, they would pretty much need to gut the team while he is there only to resign him later. (They would need to have only ~$35M in payroll to offer him a max deal).

I’ll look around the inter-web to see if there is info about that. My guess is that they would have closed that loophole to prevent guys like Cuban from exploiting it.

Talkin out the side of your neck again

August 14th, 2012
6:03 pm

“I, for one, am glad that Dwight Howard is not coming here. He’s overrated and is not a winner.”

prison mike

August 14th, 2012
6:49 pm

Dwhite done went “hollywood” a long time ago. We need to focus on the big men coming out in the draft this year. I would love to package our current pick, depending on seeding and Hou pick to try and move into the top 7.

gigolo

August 14th, 2012
7:04 pm

Been a hawks fan since the 80’s. Saw the good, bad, and the more recent ugly. Now it’s time for something great. Love the moves DF made, even more excited about the future. Just hope we don’t miss out on getting great players (ASG), cause if we do (Dallas Maverick’s) it will set us back 10 years
Anybody remember shareef abdur-raheem, Glenn big dog Robinson, and Alan Henderson. Bet that makes your stomach turn.

FRESH

August 14th, 2012
7:18 pm

Mo Harkless signed rookie deal on July 24. How was he even in the deal. What happened to the 30 day rule. Guess the NBA let that one slide.