Hawks make the right move (honest) hiring Danny Ferry

Danny Ferry. (Getty Images)

Sorry, Danny Ferry is no longer in a position to bring LeBron James with him if he takes the Hawks' GM job. (Getty Images)

(This Sunday blog has been updated with the news this morning that Danny Ferry has been hired as the Hawks’ new president and general manager.)

There will be a blur of issues for the Hawks’ new architect to deal with, but all that really matters today is the organization seems to have the right guy in charge.

The Hawks have finalized the hiring of Danny Ferry as their new team president and general manager, replacing Rick Sund. New general managers, like new coaches and first-round draft picks, come with no guarantees. But Ferry has a strong reputation around the league as a sharp personnel guy and he did a solid job for five years as the Cleveland Cavaliers’ general manager.

Ferry spent the last two years as vice president of basketball operations for the San Antonio Spurs, following his resignation from the Cavs in 2010. He and owner Dan Gilbert split after Gilbert fired coach Mike Brown, in part because the owner hoped to keep LeBron James from fleeing in free agency (didn’t work).

James left Cleveland because he wanted a better supporting cast, but Ferry did an admirable job, acquiring guard Mo Williams, Antawn Jamison and Shaquille O’Neal, among others. In five years as Cleveland’s general manager, the Cavaliers twice finished with the league’s best record, went to the finals once and had a cumulative winning percentage of .663 (272-138). Was that largely because of James? Sure. But that shouldn’t diminish the job Ferry did.

Ferry appeared to be ticketed for Philadelphia but the Hawks obviously put enough on the table in terms of autonomy and compensation to lure him to Atlanta.

Ferry said in a statement that, “There were many components that made this the right fit for me,” and expressed confidence in ownership, saying: “They are committed to building with the right people and investing in critical areas for development; both essential elements if we want to create sustained success.”

He’ll face a number of issues, including, but not limited to:

1.) What to do about forward Josh Smith, who has requested a trade and will be entering the final season of his contract.

2.) How to manage the Hawks’ salary cap situation with one player (Joe Johnson) taking up so much space while often not resembling an elite player of that compensation level ($20 million).

3.) Who to select in Thursday’s NBA draft, or should the team try to package Smith and/or make a trade to move up from the 23rd overall spot.

But at least the Hawks won’t have somebody in charge at the draft whose contract doesn’t expire at the end of the month (Sund).

PREVIOUS BLOG FROM SUNDAY NIGHT

The partners of the Atlanta Spirit believe I pick on them too much for matters pertaining to . . . well, you know, pretty much everything. So in the interest of equal time, here goes:

The Hawks reportedly have offered the general manager position to Danny Ferry and are in “serious talks” with him, according to Yahoo Sports. There has been no confirmation of this from team officials, but also no denial. The Hawks’ interest in Ferry was first reported by ESPN two days ago, but many believed he was ticketed for the GM opening in Philadelphia.

The team released a statement confirming they have “reached out” to Ferry: “As we continue to evaluate our franchise and look to build a championship caliber organization, we reached out to Danny Ferry. We are engaged in conversation regarding the Atlanta Hawks and our basketball operations. As the situation evolves, we will update at the appropriate time.”

If the Hawks get Ferry, it would be a solid move for the franchise for at least two reasons: 1) It would ensure that Rick Sund is not back as general manager; 2) Ferry is pretty good.

Let’s start with the Sund factor. His contract expires at the end of the month. He has been doing this Hamlet act since during the season, not knowing if wanted to return next season as general manager, a consultant or not at all.

I wrote three weeks ago — here’s the link – that the Hawks should not bring back Sund in any decision-making capacity because the team has major decisions ahead and it doesn’t make sense to put those in the hands of an executive who seemingly already was one foot into retirement.

As it is, the NBA draft is Thursday night and Sund will be the man in charge of the Hawks, unless ownership can get something done with Ferry in the next few days.

As for Ferry, he did a solid job when he was running things in Cleveland, where the Cavaliers went to the finals and twice had the best regular-season record during his five-year tenure. Granted, it helped that LeBron James was on the roster. Ferry resigned after the 2009-10 season when he disagreed with owner Dan Gilbert over the firing of coach Mike Brown (with the hope of enticing James to re-sign). So Ferry went back to San Antonio, where he had started, as a front office executive. I figure any executive twice hired by the San Antonio Spurs must know what he’s doing.

Ferry’s hiring obvious wouldn’t guarantee success. He would have to deal with some of the Hawks’ unique issues, the biggest being Joe Johnson’s contract and Josh Smith entering the final year of his deal. But if he takes the job and is allowed to work free of ownership entanglements, there’s good chance he’ll move the Hawks in the right direction.

By Jeff Schultz

165 comments Add your comment

Delbert D.

June 24th, 2012
5:51 pm

Who would notice?

Birdhair

June 24th, 2012
5:53 pm

sad that he has to work for the silly atl spirit group

zgoldatl

June 24th, 2012
5:58 pm

This would be an actual positive for the franchise. Make it happen

Dawg Haus

June 24th, 2012
5:59 pm

The Hawks sure could use some good news. I’m all for bringing Danny Ferry to the ATL.

BW

June 24th, 2012
5:59 pm

It could go well assuming that the Spirit sells the team…in lieu of that, that they not interfere with the GM like they did in the original Joe Johnson transaction

Rob

June 24th, 2012
6:02 pm

I agree, Schultz. Good points.

Rob

June 24th, 2012
6:03 pm

He has experience dealing with a petulant-yet-productive star player.

Yeah, I like this move.

steve brown

June 24th, 2012
6:03 pm

This news story began Friday and finally the AJC reports on it. Thanks for nothing.

Dawg Haus

June 24th, 2012
6:08 pm

Can we get new ownership for the team, too?

Rambover

June 24th, 2012
6:10 pm

The draft is Thursday night, not Wednesday. But, hey, it’s only the NBA, right?

CONservative Johnson

June 24th, 2012
6:22 pm

Does Lebron James come with him? He did almost nothing in Cleveland. Prince James carried them to the success they had. His success all boils down to a lottery ball that he had very little control over (other than tanking to ensure they had the best chance) . . .

Deja vu

June 24th, 2012
6:22 pm

Popovich is more responsible for the Spurs success than their front office.

NOTSO FAST

June 24th, 2012
6:24 pm

Enter your comments here

Just Me

June 24th, 2012
6:36 pm

Would not be surprised to learn Ferry was merely using the Hawks as leverage to secure a better deal with Philly. I hope it’s not the case, as Ferry would be a great get by the Hawks, but cannot rationalize how someone as accomplished as Ferry would willingly walk into a position with that “well respected” organization know as the Atlanta Spirit Group!?!

The real hawk

June 24th, 2012
6:36 pm

None of this matters without new owners and the ability to spend over the luxury tax

unbiased committee

June 24th, 2012
6:43 pm

….. you mean get rid of the Winnipeg Spirit LLC ownership ……

hmmmm.........

June 24th, 2012
6:54 pm

I hope he comes in and moves jj and his contract, even if the hawks have to eat another bad contract for a season

QB/DB

June 24th, 2012
6:56 pm

YES! YES! PRETTY PLEASE!!!!!!!!!

Rob

June 24th, 2012
7:10 pm

“He did almost nothing in Cleveland. Prince James carried them to the success they had.”

Almost nothing? He was in Cleveland for five years. In that time, they got the Finals once, and won 60+ games twice. Lebron deserve credit but the Cavs were always an elite defense and had one of the deepest rosters in the league. Remember how badly they embarrassed the Hawks in that second round series a few years ago? Yeah.

Brian

June 24th, 2012
7:14 pm

Love it….step in the right direction and with this franchise that is all you can ask for!

chem

June 24th, 2012
7:16 pm

Danny Ferry failed in Cleveland. Did anyone else notice what happened to Cleveland after Lebron left? Not sure anything Danny Ferry did in Cleveland translated to success on the court.

Sage of Bluesland

June 24th, 2012
7:22 pm

It’s simply re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, folks. Don’t be fooled. The rot starts at the very top–and, until this ownership is gone and replaced by caring ones with deep pockets, expectations, and accountability, it won’t matter a bit.

Stop subsidizing the incompetence–as that what this is all about.

This smells fishy

June 24th, 2012
7:25 pm

This has Bill Parcels to the falcons written all over it. I hope that he’s not using this as a ploy to get Philly to give him more,not in terms of money but control. If the hawks can get him, all well and good. I think it would be a great hire. But why would he want to come to an organization that run by ASG who doesn’t believe in spending? I’ve never seen a bunch of broke millionaires.

ThreeDawgKnight

June 24th, 2012
7:30 pm

Thanks for the news Jeff, please keep us abreast.

Jeff Schultz

June 24th, 2012
7:34 pm

Steve Brown – There’s a million rumors out there daily, written and unwritten, and the fact is it would be irresponsible to report on them all because 90 percent of them are bunk. And, fact is, I think Chris Broussard (who reported Friday) probably is hitting .026 with his unsourced stories. Adrian Wojnowski (Yahoo) is slightly more reliable in my book. Secondly, both are quoting unnamed sources, which the AJC does not do except in rare circumstances (sources must be approved by upper editors). So unless we have somebody telling us something directly, you’re not going to read it. That’s why this blog attributes “news” to Yahoo. Hawks owners aren’t commenting. … Now if you just felt like taking a shot, that’s another matter. Swing away, bunky.

CONservative Johnson

June 24th, 2012
7:35 pm

“Almost nothing?”

You’re right. He did NOTHING besides tank a season to get the #1 pick for Lebron.

Lebron is a great defender, so in a 5 on 5 game in the NBA, his teams should be pretty good on D.

The team you mentioned that kicked our butts were starting Žydrūnas Ilgauskas, Ben Wallace, Delonte West and Mo Williams along with Lebron. Pick any 4 of our starters and they are better than that cast without Lebron.

Jeff Schultz

June 24th, 2012
7:37 pm

CONservative Johnson — “He almost did nothing in Cleveland.” … Really?

Jeff Schultz

June 24th, 2012
7:38 pm

Hmmm.... Regardless of who GM is, it would be nearly impossible to move JJ with that contract. Nobody who has that kind of money and cap space to spend on one player would do so on Johnson (in the opinion of most).

Jeff Schultz

June 24th, 2012
7:40 pm

Chem – Danny Ferry also left Cleveland when LeBron left so how can you judge teams that followed LeBron and blame Ferry? (By the way, coach also changed.)

Jeff Schultz

June 24th, 2012
7:41 pm

This smells fishy — Honestly, the thought of Ferry using Hawks as leverage crossed my mind more than once.

Beast from the East

June 24th, 2012
7:50 pm

Anyone with Ferry’s resume has to be an improvement. The problem will still be trying to maneuver around JJ’ contract.

CONservative Johnson

June 24th, 2012
7:51 pm

Jeff Schultz – “Really?”

Really! His rosters were no better than the Hawks’ roster that a lot of people around here hate. His best move was tanking a season, which allowed him to pick the best NBA prospect in a couple of decades.

What else did he do, Jeff? Didn’t everyone else in the media complain that he didn’t surround Lebron with enough talent?

Max

June 24th, 2012
7:52 pm

What roster moves did Danny Ferry make that resulting in success??? Mo Williams from the Bucks as a PG to go with LeBron? Psh. Antwan Jamison is a legit #2!?!?! Come on now, I know basketball isn’t your forte but anyone can see Danny Ferry’s moves were not helping the Cavs chances. Although I will admit anyone who works for the Spurs gets the benefit of the doubt.

Artman

June 24th, 2012
7:57 pm

Jeff, the biggest issue will be dealing with the ASG. You know, the ones who decided to bring back the coach prior to getting a new general manager. Do you think that is how they do things in San Antonio? I bet he has close to zero autonomy in running the Hawks.

Must go

June 24th, 2012
7:58 pm

As a Duke alumn I welcome Danny. However even with Danny I will not support the Hawks or step foot in Philips until ASG sells the team and arena. Sell. Sell. Sell

Jeff Schultz

June 24th, 2012
8:00 pm

CONservative Johnson — I thought getting Mo Williams was obviously a good move. I thought getting Shaq and Antawn Jamison were aggressive moves. I thought – and think — Mike Brown is a good coach. I don’t know all of his decisions off hand but NBA people I respect respect him as a personnel guy. And like I wrote, San Antonio Spurs are one of most respected organizations in sports, not just NBA, and they hired Ferry twice. Good enough for me. There’s absolutely no question he is going to get another GM job, question is which one he takes.

CP

June 24th, 2012
8:02 pm

Let’s hope the Hawks have the good sense to hire BEFORE the draft and not after. Though it would be typical to saddle Ferry with Sund’s picks…

CONservative Johnson

June 24th, 2012
8:07 pm

Jeff, do you think the team we mentioned that smoked us in the playoffs (Žydrūnas Ilgauskas, Ben Wallace, Delonte West and Mo Williams) was any better than the team we have now?

Max

June 24th, 2012
8:08 pm

Shaq was a terrible move.

Double Dribble

June 24th, 2012
8:10 pm

Ferry would be the best hire we could get at GM. He’s already dealt with an idiot owner (Gilbert), so the Octocluster would be nothing new. And some championship (even if its just conference) blood in this franchise would be nice for a change.

slydog

June 24th, 2012
8:11 pm

The Hawk’s GM job is really simple:

#1 You have to ride out JJ’s contract unless one of these teams are in dire need of his services: Lakers, Bulls, Knicks, or Celtics; all teams with money to burn

#2 Make the heart-wrenching decision to trade both J. Smith and Horford in exchange for 1st rounders, preferably lottery picks; Stop wasting time playing yourself out of the lottery if you know for a fact you will never advance past the second round. Any team not going anywhere will do.

Rutherford Seydel

June 24th, 2012
8:20 pm

I haven’t heard anything about this. Then again, they don’t really keep me in the loop.

CONservative Johnson

June 24th, 2012
8:21 pm

MY BAD:

I’ve been giving Ferry credit for tanking a season to draft Lebron. But that was done before he got there. So, now I don’t know that he did anything at all that would qualify as a good move . . .

OH . . .

What he did was allow Lebron to leave without signing him to an extension or trading him! MY GOODNESS!

Erik

June 24th, 2012
8:36 pm

If it weren’t for that incredibly stupid Joe contract, this GM job might actually be a somewhat attractive position. The only players other than Joe that we have under contract beyond next year are Al (3 more yrs beyond next), Marvin (1 more – it’s a player option), and Teague (1 more). Conveniently ignoring the albatross that is the Joe contract, there could be a lot of flexibility there.

Then again, that would also require you to ignore the horrible ownership.

Erik

June 24th, 2012
8:55 pm

slydog,

They’re going to have to ride out Joe’s contract for at least 2 more years. He has 4 yrs left on it and nobody is going to want him until he’s down to the last year or two.

Otherwise, I think you’re right on with your analysis. Might as well tear down and start rebuilding now. Use the 2 years to clear out all the other crap and acquire a bunch of draft picks. If they take their medicine now, they could really be in good shape when they’re finally able to dump Joe.

Jeff Schultz

June 24th, 2012
9:10 pm

Folks: Hawks have released a statement confirming conversations with Danny Ferry. I inserted the statement in the blog.

CSD

June 24th, 2012
9:17 pm

Danny loves overpriced shooting guards he’ll love him some JJ. After locking up Larry Hughes to a silly contract and outbidding himself the Cavs had no flexibility for years and didn’t develop young talent with Lebron. Hughes had no outside shot and he couldn’t help spread the floor. As a slasher he was a horrible fit. Danny went on to sign lots of over the hill talent in Cleveland. That will be another skill set that will suit him well in the ATL.

Section 303

June 24th, 2012
9:20 pm

This is good news. Ferry can do a good job here, pending the up aboves stay out of his way.

donte080

June 24th, 2012
9:21 pm

This would be a great move…but better if done a couple weeks ago to give Ferry time to analyze team before draft….but I guess that would be asking too much…

CSD

June 24th, 2012
9:23 pm

Danny Ferry was an overpriced waste as a player for the Cavs and he was a GM that squandered arguably the greatest player ever’s talent. He must interview well.

All this for a players who in best season averaged 13.3 points per game?

“The Clippers traded Ferry’s rights on November 16, 1989, along with Reggie Williams to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for high-scoring guard Ron Harper, two first-round draft picks and a second-round pick.”

donte080

June 24th, 2012
9:32 pm

CSD…well, since it appears your sole criteria for a GM is how good he was as a player, I guess you would prefer Isiah Thomas as our new GM?

Come on, man…this would be a positive upgrade for hawks.

Najeh Davenpoop

June 24th, 2012
9:34 pm

Danny Ferry instantly becomes the best GM this team has had in at least 17 years. Think about it: it’s been Babcock, Knight, and Sund since then.

Ryder

June 24th, 2012
9:34 pm

I agree with slydog. Over the next three years begin to trade out players such as Josh Smith and Marvin Williams for draft picks and tear it down as much as possible. Build around Horford, Teague and JJ (until his contract gets into the last year, then trade him to a team needed that cap space) for the time being.

As for Ferry, he is proof that it is not only about the talent on the floor, but the leadership in the front office. I’m willing to give him some time to set this up and ultimately remove the stench of Billy Knight.

I know a lot of people think that he couldn’t acquire a lot of talent in Cleveland, but Atlanta may be a more preferred destination for players which could be an advantage.

Najeh Davenpoop

June 24th, 2012
9:35 pm

Danny Ferry instantly becomes the best GM this team has had in at least 17 years. Think about it.

Najeh Davenpoop

June 24th, 2012
9:35 pm

By the way, Jeff Schultz, I am pretty sure this blog auto-censors the name of the Hawks’ GM from 1995 to 2003, the guy who came before Billy Knight, probably because of the last four letters of his last name.

Rob

June 24th, 2012
9:38 pm

“You’re right. He did NOTHING besides tank a season to get the #1 pick for Lebron.”

Incorrect. Lebron was drafted in 2003, Ferry wasn’t hired in 2005 after Paxson left. Cleveland was just a middle of the road playoff team with no depth when DF took over — two years later, they went to Finals.

Rob

June 24th, 2012
9:40 pm

“You’re right. He did NOTHING besides tank a season to get the #1 pick for Lebron.”

Incorrect. Lebron was drafted in 2003, Ferry was hired in 2005 after Paxson left. Cleveland was just a middle of the road playoff team with no depth when DF took over — two years later, they went to Finals.

Bob Nightie Night

June 24th, 2012
9:45 pm

Come on experts put on your game face….Ferry would be a great move by the Hawks if they give him a little $$$. Some of you actually know a little about MY game, but you must not realize the mind this guy has for the game and for personnel.

Rob

June 24th, 2012
9:46 pm

“Danny Ferry failed in Cleveland. Did anyone else notice what happened to Cleveland after Lebron left? Not sure anything Danny Ferry did in Cleveland translated to success on the court.”

Have you all forgotten how dominant those Cavs were? That was an average team when Paxson ran the show. Then Ferry gets hired and started making moves. Next thing you know the Cavs ended the Pistons reign in the East, got to the Finals, and went 66-16 in 2009. If it wasn’t for the Hall of Fame-filled rosters in San Antonio and Boston, Ferry’s Cavs might have won 2 titles in his five seasons as GM. Whatever are yall smoking, pass that sh*t lol

Rob

June 24th, 2012
9:49 pm

Also, anyone judging an NBA exec by his playing career should be ignored. How did Isish Thomas work out in NYC? Or Jordan in Charlotte? Oh. The Jerry West types are few and far between.

Neki

June 24th, 2012
9:51 pm

I think he is going to be announced to be the GM during next week since the only other team that was after him(76ers) drop out for his services. I think this a good step and he can fully control of this team.

Keeping it Real

June 24th, 2012
10:08 pm

There is no chance Ferry actually comes to work for the ASG. Just leverage with any team that does not have the ASG for owners. Personally, I would just as soon see the Hawks leave town as continue with these incompetent bozo as owners. Won’t go to games, won’t watch them on tv and won’t root for them.

tyger

June 24th, 2012
10:29 pm

Hawks Easy Button 1.0 2012

K. Lowery D.Gibson
J. Johnson W. Green J.Hazell
T.McGrady Dray Green Q.Miller
A. Horford I. Johnson V.Radmanovic
Z. Pachulia F.Melo F.Ezeli

Hawks trade JSmith, J.Teague to Hou for KLowery, SDalembart, #16
Hawks trade MWilliams, #43 to Cle for D.Gibson, #24, #34

2012 Draft Order
#16 Quincy Miller, 6′9, G-F,
#23 Fab Melo, 7′0, C
#24 Draymond Green, 6′7, F
#34 Festus Ezeli, 6′11, C

Win-Win for Atl and Hou…
Both Kyle Lowery, Josh Smith unhappy…
Dalembart has $6.7 team option for 2013…
Atl opts out of Dalembart, saves $6.7M…
Hou adds Smith, Teague to Scola, Martin, #14…
Atl gets Lowery, #16 – Q. Miller, top HS player 2011…

Win-Win for Atl and Cle…
Cle gets solid piece for rebuild, keeps #4 pick…
Atl upgrades w/ D.Gibson, #24 – Dray Green, All-American…
Cle adds Marvin to K.Irving, #4, A.Varejao, T.Thompson…

Atlanta gets $16M to sign rookies/free agents…
Upgrades backct, infuses young talent in frontct…
Moves Horford to PF, Pachulia to Center…
Lowery, Gibson upgrade Teague, Hinrich, i.e. fast, shooters…
TMac mentors NBA-ready Draymond Green…
Melo, Ezeli provide length, young legs behind Pachulia…
Q.Miller rehabs properly, NBA style…

Blueland

June 24th, 2012
10:35 pm

Improvement, but still won’t spend money at a Hawks game after what the ATL Spirit did to the Thrashers. New management and Danny Ferry? Maybe.

day old fries

June 24th, 2012
10:52 pm

@Keeping it Real …but you will read their blogs?

Gresham Brown

June 24th, 2012
11:19 pm

Send them to Winnipeg!

Atlanta Spirit Stinks

June 24th, 2012
11:55 pm

Well, with Atlanta Spirit, LLC owning this team, we shouldn’t worry much. They’ll be sold and relocated to Seattle before all is said and done. This ownership group cost me my hockey team, and I won’t support the Hawks until they are sold and these clowns are gone.

KevinM

June 25th, 2012
12:26 am

Does this make up for the incompetence of 4 years of Rick Sund? What has he done in 4 years other than draft Teague and cost us any youth on our roster.
Sund was part of the Joe and Marvin signings. He also found a way to promote ‘Prime’ Bibby. Sund was over his head on Day 1, yet he continued to stay the course and watch team after team step over us for a shot at the Finals.
So while Miami wins, and this becomes a pivotal summer, Sund walks away from an incomplete job and 6 contracts that keep us in cap purgatory.

Marvin’s agent is still laughing at that offer.
I’m sure he and Joe are at Philips right now continuing to live up to those contracts.

Ferry may or may not work out, but anything is better than Rick Sund. Right now, the best I see happening is Pendergraft being promoted. Ferry will get an unknown offer out of the blue this week and stun anyone who supported this move.

Dr. Warren

June 25th, 2012
12:27 am

If Lebron keeps playing with the same attitude we saw last week, what will any Hawks decision ever matter?

Tyler

June 25th, 2012
12:29 am

Can the Hawks just amnesty Joe Johnson, trade MArvin Williams and get somebody good for Josh Smith?!??!?!?!?!

Link

June 25th, 2012
12:41 am

@Chris_Broussard
Hawks offer Danny Ferry a 6-year deal to become their GM, sources say. That’s strongest indication yet the club is no longer for sale.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution [...]

Who cares!!

June 25th, 2012
1:10 am

The NBA is a bunch of overpaid thugs. I never watch this silly crap and wish it would just go away. A total waste of time and money. Isn’t it really just another welfare program?

JSS

June 25th, 2012
3:55 am

“Welfare?” You mean like the Chipper Jones 80 games a year benefit program? Ha ha, the rest of the world is laughing at you!!!

Pete Babcock

June 25th, 2012
4:13 am

Who said I can’t be mentioned on this blog?

Rico

June 25th, 2012
4:37 am

Wish list:

1) Team gets sold to a competent owner.

2) Team gets a competent GM willing to abandon current formula, blow up roster, and start over.

3) New, competent owner decides to overhaul pricing structure of tickets b/c he wants the arena to be full for every single game.

[...] The Atlanta Hawks Are Openly Courting NBA Executive For Their General Manager Job [...]

GT

June 25th, 2012
7:30 am

I read somewhere Duke has just moved into the number one spot having alumni playing minutes in the NBA. Ferry’s father was a NBA executive for years and Danny himself has been around for a while. Unless you hire someone from Harvard you won’t find a more cerebral guy. They one thing the Hawks lack is maturity, this guy could bring that to the table.

I think it is a no brainer.

dap01

June 25th, 2012
7:31 am

Jeff: You are right. The Hawks need new blood running things. They don’t need more years of evaluations. Sund was like a dead fish running things. He inspired no confidence. ”

Hopefully, Ferry can come in a for the first time in 10 years, the Hawks will have a basketball person in charge. Billy Knight, Rick Sund, Woody and Larry Drew were all bottom of the barrel hires. We deserve better.

MOVE NOW !!!!!

June 25th, 2012
8:21 am

MORE IMPORTANT, WHERE AND WHEN IS THIS CRAP, WORTHLESS FRANCHISE MOVING ??

IN 42 YEARS HERE, NEVER SPENT A DIME ON THIS WORTHLESS TEAM, NEVER WILL, NEVER WATCH OR GIVE A DAMN !!!!

MOVE BACK TO ST.LOUIS PLEASE !!!! NO NEED FOR A THUG LEAGUE IN THIS TOWN !!!!!!!

KevinM

June 25th, 2012
8:33 am

Hey dap01, you do realize that if Gearon had his way, one Rick Sund would be back as GM?

And LD isn’t in the rearview mirror yet……we are stuck with him to waste another year.

That’s how difficult it is to see anyone coming in here and making things go in the right direction.

Yes, Ferry’s Cleveland team smoked us in ‘08 in Round 2. We were no match. Well, Ferry or not, get in the 2nd round with Miami and here we go with ‘Groundhog Day’ again.

If you’re incompetent enough to think that your current GM is getting the job done, your expectations don’t belong in this league.

Can you tell I loathe all things ASG and what Gearon is all about? Please don’t let Gearon tell you what he thinks about Marvin’s 487 games here in Atlanta. He might get another extension.

DP

June 25th, 2012
9:10 am

I can’t imagine that somebody who has multiple GM options would be dumb enough to work for the Atlanta Spirit. I predict that Ferry takes another GM job in the next couple of days and leaves the Spirit with egg all over their faces yet again.

rollo lawson

June 25th, 2012
9:16 am

Thanks for the update Steve.

What is your honest opinion of the Hawks trying to re-sign the bench players from last season. I think that the only two that deserve to get re-signed are Ivan Johnson and maybe Pargo as the third point guard. T-Mac was nice in spurts, but is good as gone (hates Larry Drew and I don’t blame him).

Rick

June 25th, 2012
9:20 am

MOVE NOW,

Could you do everyone a favor and move yourself? You want to talk about worthless? Take a look in the mirror.

You’re a clown.

AtlFlavor

June 25th, 2012
9:22 am

Move Now have you taken your Zoloft this am? Ferry would be a great move. But if they really offered him a six year deal and he didn’t take it on the spot, he is not coming here. Philly is dream job. One the best young teams in the league and a great coach in place. Sund wasn’t so bad for guy who had to put on handcuffs when he came to work. The ASG is really trying to put a shine on this team to unload it. There might be some high drama on Thursday if they do land Ferry. Marvin and Josh should pay real close attention.

Skeezix

June 25th, 2012
9:24 am

Ferry is a very capable GM and a class act. The Spurs are one of the best managed teams in the NBA—not a bad model for the Hawks to follow. I hope he does come to Atlanta.

Bill Payer

June 25th, 2012
9:36 am

There are two parts to hiring someone. You want to hire the person who you think will do the best job. The other part is, is that person willing to work for you? Ferry may be the best guy willing to take this job. Or not.

DHD

June 25th, 2012
9:40 am

The Hawks are still in Atlanta?

We'll see

June 25th, 2012
9:51 am

Hopefully Ferry can renege on exercising Drew’s option and get a real coach like Stan Van or Sloan. Heck, even Jeff Van. And if I were Ferry I’d appease J-Smoove and ship him out under the condition that whichever team trades for Smoove must also absorb Marvin Williams’ contract. Amnesty Joe in three or four years and the Hawks could be in decent shape.

NORRIS CHUCK

June 25th, 2012
10:29 am

“Atlanta finished 40-26, drawing praise from Sund for an “outstanding job,” despite being without All-Star center Al Horford for all but 11 games of the regular season. Horford returned in Game 4 of the Celtics series.

The Hawks will return an experienced nucleus of Horford, six-time All-Star Joe Johnson and Josh Smith, who is entering the final year of his contract. Marvin Williams, point guard Jeff Teague and backup center Pachulia also are under contract.

The other nine players are free agents, leaving much work to be done by the general manager.

From The Associated Press.”

I think this would be the perfect time for a new GM to come in since they have so many Free Agents. Time to put a new GM’s stamp on this team. Lets GO Hawks!

CP

June 25th, 2012
10:34 am

It’s done. He’s been hired!

CP

June 25th, 2012
10:35 am

Nate D

June 25th, 2012
11:08 am

I heard that the Hawks might go after Ray Allen…. that would be awesome. Starting lineup Teauge,Allen,Johnson,Smith, Horford. Then Pape sy is reportedly coming back not for PG this time but Sg and have a back up as you resign Hinrich and draft Fab melo. Backups HInrich,Sy,Marvin,good free agent backup, Zaza!

Rick

June 25th, 2012
11:15 am

I’ve been as critical as anyone of these “owners”…but I actually like this move. It will be interesting to see what he does.

Eldrick

June 25th, 2012
11:15 am

Sorry – what happended to Sunds?

reebok

June 25th, 2012
11:22 am

I’m confused…I thought the Hawks moved to Winnipeg?

Mike S.

June 25th, 2012
11:34 am

I’m not sure I commend Ferry for his efforts getting players around Lebron. The fact is, they overpaid for many of them the same way the Hawks have for JJ. Lebron needed to leave because it was impossible to enhance that roster. They were over the cap paying Williams, Varejao, trading for Jamison, and others.

For years, they kept surrounding Lebron with solid, but not great players while massing a payroll as if they did have those great players. He couldn’t so much as find a Pippen to go with his Jordan. There was no three point specialist. There was no dominating inside help. It showed in the playoffs as soon as the hit a true championship contender. They rarely won a game in those series that Lebron didnt absolutely dominate.

Meanwhile, other teams like Miami, NY, and Chicago had their eye on the free agents of the last couple of years. They cleaned out space, managed their rosters, and were in a position to make moves for top players that Cleveland, like these Hawks, had no cap room to make.

I just dont see how that translates to helping a Hawks team essentially in the same spot he got Cleveland in.

Rick

June 25th, 2012
11:41 am

Mike S,

I agree with you. I’m assuming he learned from the mistakes he made in Cleveland and won’t repeat them. If he does, then it won’t be pretty.

bowman

June 25th, 2012
11:44 am

The arrival of Danny Ferry is an opportunity for a change of culture for the Atlanta Hawks. It worked for the Atlanta Braves when the organization brought in John Schuerholz. Like Schuerholz, Ferry has a past with some success. The palate may be more crowded that it was for Schuerholz but Ferry has a chance to paint his own masterpiece. Player issues come an go. The key here is for the Atlanta Spirit group to stay out of the way and give Ferry time to do his work.

J

June 25th, 2012
12:06 pm

Would it be feasible to deal Joe Johnson by agreeing to pay part of his exorbitant salary? Seems to me that’s the only way to get some money back to invest in other talent. As far as I’m concerned, the Joe Johnson/Josh Smith core of our team isn’t going to win the NBA, and prudent managers should be able to look at their roster and answer “Yes” to the question of whether the core pieces can be built off of to make a team capable of winning it all. If the answer to that is no, you have to deal your valuable assets and start over again. Hawks should hold Jeff Teague and Al Horford, and they should deal Johnson and Smith for players with more promising prospects on the horizon.

CP

June 25th, 2012
12:07 pm

@ Reebok. God, THAT was funny. You are a regular Seinfeld. What are you doing in your Mom’s basement? You ought to be on Broadway with that talent!

Jeff Schultz

June 25th, 2012
12:28 pm

Najeh Davenpoop — Just saw your comment on Pete Babcock’s name being caught by spam. And yes, you are correct. I check spam filter frequently for comments, then either release or delete.

FalconUGAFan

June 25th, 2012
12:36 pm

Like the move….

@who cares…I gotta say that was a dumb comment, but well-trolled.

Jfreak13713

June 25th, 2012
12:37 pm

Not real sure about Ferry as only time will tell but a change was needed and hopefully he will make some good decisions starting with trading Josh Smith. Not because Smith isn’t good as he is probably the Hawks best player but he doesn’t make the team better.

Brandon

June 25th, 2012
12:39 pm

Conservative Johnson is right, and once again there is no critical analysis from ATL pundits. Ferry was blessed with the game’s top talent, and he basically failed to deliver a solid supporting cast around him. Mo Williams, presented as a #2 option to the sheep, was/is actually a #4 or #5 option, and that fraudulent mistake alone should be criticized. Additionally, to bring up Shaq as a key addition is laughable–Shaq 2000? No. Shaq 2006? No. This was an end of the road, miserable and broken down Shaq. As for Jamison, I consider that a joke, so besides laughing, I am assuming that Schultz was kidding. The bottom line is that the jury is still out on Ferry, and if anything, precedent is not comforting. I DREAM of critical analysis in this town, but as in hockey (where Waddell was amazingly little criticized despite a woeful performance), it isn’t available.

smithyred

June 25th, 2012
12:41 pm

PMC

June 25th, 2012
12:42 pm

I’m not sure honestly how anyone with options would accept a position with this ownership group. How can you trust a word they are saying?

Sonny Clusters

June 25th, 2012
12:42 pm

Well, that’s the spirit. Let’s hope he can get us a reliable starting pitcher and some right handed power. Oh, wait . . .

cpsman_atlanta

June 25th, 2012
12:44 pm

Would love this deal, except for the fact that the team is owned by the worse group of idiots ever assembled. BOYCOTT ATLANTA SPIRIT GROUP!!!! BRING BACK THE THRASHERS!!!

ASG LLC

June 25th, 2012
12:44 pm

Well our work is done here.
We will check back in about 10 and a half months to see if we have made it out of the first round of the playoffs. Meanwhile, please don’t talk or write about us.

Sincerely,

Absentee Owners

Mike S.

June 25th, 2012
12:46 pm

I’m honestly not sure how anyone will truly improve this roster…not while paying JJ 20 million. If they get rid of Smith, which most think is going to happen before he becomes a free agent, what will they get in return? I hope its a draft pick and not someone else’s good but not great player to eat up salary.

I hate to say it, but the Hawks are in a very bad spot right now. No one is going to take JJ off their hands, so its not like they can totally break up the roster. I think thats what they need to do in order to get even on par with Chicago and Miami…rebuild. You cant beat teams that have MVP superstars without one of your own, especially when the rest of their roster is as good as yours anyway.

If I’m Ferry, I find anyway possible to unload JJ, Smith, and Williams. Keep Teague and Horford and build around them with a much better draft than the past 10 years. Im just not sure that can happen though.

ASG LLC

June 25th, 2012
12:46 pm

OMG. Just read Jeff’s callout on Najeh. Hilarious. Down in flames. Ha ha ha.

Eldrick

June 25th, 2012
12:47 pm

Need to hire Peter LaFluer from Average Joes gyms. He has a solid record of pulling together a team of underdogs.

JSS

June 25th, 2012
1:10 pm

What the heck is ASG LLC talking about? Well, reading is fundamental…

Well, at least it is not a Drive-by Hawks Blog!

Stop worrying about the Joe Johnson contract, that Marvin Williams contract and deciding what to do with Josh Smith are priority one! Sund, see ya! Enjoy retirement on the Sound player!

No more eggcuses 4 Perrier Jerry

June 25th, 2012
1:18 pm

Maybe he can do sumtin about that looser Perrier Jerry.

Bernie Matt

June 25th, 2012
2:09 pm

Sounds like someone’s a little jealous of Chris Broussard. Steve Brown, never mentioned any names. How classless of you Mr. Schultz!

bobby

June 25th, 2012
2:55 pm

Mr. schultz

Danny Ferry would be a bad hire he could’nt build around lebron james.

Rothschild

June 25th, 2012
2:57 pm

boxxiethebull

June 25th, 2012
3:25 pm

thank the basketball gods!!!!!!!!!!!!!! there is a pulse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bobby

June 25th, 2012
3:29 pm

Mr. schultz

if ferry was a good general manager the cavs would’ve won a title with lebron. the cavs had no one on that team to take to pressure off lebron. his big moves larry hughes bust, ben wallace past his prime, antwan jamerison past his prime, shaq past his prime, mo williams it worked in the regular season but in the playoffs he flopped badly 39percent shooting from the field in the 2009 and 2010 playoffs and he flopped against oralndo and boston. the cavs had no second or thrid option to take any pressure off lebron plus he turned a trade that would’ve sent j.j. hickson to the suns for amare stoudimare.

A BAD HIRE MR. SCHULTZ.

boxxiethebull

June 25th, 2012
3:31 pm

now if we could just get the new guy to amnesty joe and resign josh and trade marvin and resign ivan, mcgrady, and green…….

JSS

June 25th, 2012
3:43 pm

“Amnesty” does not mean that Joe’s (or Marvin’s) contract would go away… You’re still stuck paying him, it just doesn’t count against the cap!!! BASG is not rolling in dough like that!

Baz

June 25th, 2012
3:52 pm

Hey Jeff,

Do you think any of the “Evil Empire” teams LAL,BOS,NYN,NETS,CHI,DAL or perhaps OKC,IND…Would be interested in acquiring Joe with the Hawks paying 35-50% of his RIDICULOUS SALARY…Or would JJ be so “kind” to restructure the monstrosity? smh he has to go

FreshFromATL

June 25th, 2012
3:58 pm

Sam Amick:

“Well, that didn’t take long: with Atlanta GM Danny Ferry in his first day on the job, the message is spreading that he’ll be looking to shake up the Hawks’ roster and rebuild in some capacity. No specifics yet, but forward Josh Smith has tremendous value and an expiring contract (next season at $13.2 million), center Al Horford will be healthy again and is an attractive piece as well (four years, $48 million remaining) and shooting guard Joe Johnson has the sort of deal that any sane GM would try – and likely try in vain – to get rid of (four years and $89.3 million left).”

http://sulia.com/channel/atlanta-hawks/f/82bbba6f-2b42-4b0a-b05e-7163fbe96573/?source=Twitter

GT Alum

June 25th, 2012
4:18 pm

Isn’t this the first time anyone running the Hawks has talked about building a championship team? It’s always been that hokey elite termbefore.

The Corps

June 25th, 2012
4:34 pm

the core is pleased and wishes to say thank you to Mr Sund for holding down the fort after the BK fiasco. Hawks are in a good spot that just got better. We are lucky to have such a great organisation as the Hawks here in the ATL….Go Hawks.

cloudodust

June 25th, 2012
5:05 pm

The hiring of Danny Ferry is proof that the Hawks ownership could sell rain to an Asian during monsoon season.

R. Stroz

June 25th, 2012
5:08 pm

As long as the Spirit Clowns are in charge, nothing will get better.

Hawks still have same owners!!

June 25th, 2012
5:12 pm

This guy couldn’t win with Lebron, what makes anyone think he will win with Joe, Josh, and Marvin?? These are the 3 stooges of the NBA, and unless this guy can play on the court, it really want matter. He also is stuck with the worst coach in the NBA. The hawks are losers now and always will be, no matter who they hire as a G.M. He was fortunate enough to be in charge of a terrible franchise that was lucky enough to draft Lebron But once he had LeBron, he couldn’t surround him with quality players, so he couldn’t win a title. How did he do in Cleveland once James left?? Terrible. This guy is nothing but a big name, and he want be able to help this sinking ship known as the Atlanta Hawks.

Elijah

June 25th, 2012
5:28 pm

Not a good move, uinless Danny has changed his thinking about how to build a franchise. Mr. Ferry relies too much on the veteran player. Shaq, Jamison, Joe Smith, Damon Jones, Danyell Marshall are a just a few players who were past their peak once they go to Cleveland. Look at his draft choices not good after the King which was an abvious no brainer….. Danny u do not bring in slow players who cannot run with a thorough bred,,,,,

The Truth

June 25th, 2012
5:31 pm

This is a great move!!! This will take the Hawks from a 4-8 seed in the East to a 4-8 seed in the East

Double Zero Eight

June 25th, 2012
5:49 pm

At last, we have some hope.
Good move by the owners. Wish they
would sell the team to remove the stigma
attached to it.

This should provide temporary stability for
attendance and prevent any slippage next
season..

donte080

June 25th, 2012
5:53 pm

You don’t win 60+ games two seasons in a row with just Lebron and some scrubs. Ferry put together the right pieces in Cleveland, Lebron et al just didn’t get it done.

joe

June 25th, 2012
5:54 pm

the hawks–no matter whom they hire–will be winners until they dump joe johnson

J-Man

June 25th, 2012
5:57 pm

Well this is definately welcome news…..Too bad we still have an idiot managing the Braves, I wish you guys would call him out once in awhile. ButFerry is a good Basketball mind and great evaulater of talent. So lets just say if we had Ferry in 05 we would have CP3.

[...] Hawks make the right move (honest) hiring Danny Ferry [...]

Jeff Schultz

June 25th, 2012
6:37 pm

Link: “Hawks offer Danny Ferry a 6-year deal to become their GM, sources say. That’s strongest indication yet the club is no longer for sale.”

Not necessarily. 1) It’s a long-term team, yes, but we don’t know how steep the dollars are; 2) And this is the main thing: It would be surprising if owners weren’t still looking for a major partner to replace the one they lost (Belkin). Bottom line: I’d be surprised if things remained status quo.

Jeff Schultz

June 25th, 2012
6:40 pm

ASG LLC — “Call out”? What do you mean? I was just confirming what he suspected.

Jeff Schultz

June 25th, 2012
6:40 pm

JSS — So you like this decision?

Jeff Schultz

June 25th, 2012
6:44 pm

JSS (and others) — On the “amnesty” clause. Correct. It’s not like the money just goes away. The Hawks would still have to pay Joe the balance of his contract ($80 million) and then can get him off the books. Anybody have an extra 80-mil?

perk

June 25th, 2012
7:11 pm

this is actually the 1st time I have cared about the Hawks in a long time. Great move – hope he has complete control. The owners need to sell – they have screwed this town over and over since they bought both teams.

tjhook

June 25th, 2012
7:14 pm

Ferry should bring in a veteran point guard (Andre Miller) to help Larry Drew curb the bad habits of the veteran core: Iso-Joe, long jumpers by a power forward (Smith), a stronger mindset on offense (Marvin). Teague is a good player but not mentally tough enough to corral this trio. Bring in a PG who has the skill and will to get the rest of the starting lineup to bend to his directions. The team is called soft because in tight situations they revert to individual actions and not team oriented plays. Strong point guards make sure plays are run. Besides, it’s Drew’s last year; he’s better coaching seasoned veterans. Relying on Teague to become a stronger leader is too much of a risk.

Joe

June 25th, 2012
8:24 pm

Are not the Hawks now in Winnepeg?

WTF

June 25th, 2012
8:26 pm

Atlanta has a basketball team?

Jeff Schultz

June 25th, 2012
9:20 pm

Baz: No. Nobody is touching Joe’s contract.

Steve

June 25th, 2012
9:36 pm

If Danny Ferry can get rid of Joe Johnson and that ridiculous contract then he should automatically be named GM of the Century!

Sadly, that contract will likely doom any chance he has at making this any more than a ‘might get lucky and win one playoff series’ kind of team.

JSS

June 25th, 2012
10:11 pm

@ Jeff Schultz…
I can feel that “context” email heading my way when you said “like!”

It all depends on ownership/management division of power and what does he do with Pendergrast and Co.? The Josh Smith is not going away, so I can’t wait to see if Bradley, Cunningham, and yourself ask them straight out about those matters?

I say “Derek Lowe” Marvin and stop the insanity!

KD

June 25th, 2012
10:18 pm

If he can find a way to sign Josh Smith (long term), get rid of Joe Johnson, and get a real center, then he will have my vote!

tjhook

June 25th, 2012
11:23 pm

Why is no one on this blog acknowledging or talking about the soft label that has become the team’s biggest criticism? What can Ferry do about that?

Wink

June 25th, 2012
11:26 pm

Danny Ferry has to be the Wizard of Oz!

These players need an internal infusion of personality trait of winners:

Teague is like the Cowardly Lion…he needs COURAGE to lead this so called Core…he needs to go all Tony Parker on the Hawks….study game film and adapt…impersonation is the sincerest form of flattery!

JJ is like the Tin Man…just creeking along…waisting the shot clock, pounding the rock…like they said in the old days…”get that ball off your wrist”…he needs to be “DECISIVE”…he needs Josh Smith’s PERSONALITY…Josh think he can do anything with a basketball, but Joe has the skills to do it.

Josh should adapt to being the SCARECROW…then an only then will his game grow…he needs “PATIENCE”…he needs to be more like Joe…know his LIMITATIONS and work out of the paint…”be quick but not in a hurry”.

These two guys needs to swap PERSONALITIES and we would get TWO additional first round draft picks this coming season.

Marvin is like Dorothy…he just needs to find his way HOME…he does not know where he belongs…starter, alpha dog, slasher, three point shooter, bench player and everybodies whipping boy and he is FINE with that…Dude had been ASLEEP his whole career, because he is living a DREAM…Marvin played off the bench in jv ball, High School, College and just can’t find a place…his HOME is off the Bench…he’s comfortable there and he can find his ALPHA DOG there!

Horford should just be like Todo, just follow the Core and be Loyal to the Center Position. If he tries to play with the Big Dogs, as a Power Forward he will get over matched most nights. His Big Advantage is his FOOT SPEED & QUICKNESS over the opposing centers he faces…which has been good enough for him to make ALL STAR team as a CENTER…

These guys will be together again next year and these changes will aid them greatly, because when the get to OZ expecting the Wizard…I suspect they will find the ASG at the controls of OZ.

Welcome to the Kingdom Danny!

ATLIEN

June 26th, 2012
4:19 am

Where still gonna suck… We need new owners and a new coach!!

ATLIEN

June 26th, 2012
4:20 am

Where Still Gonna Suck!! We need a New Coach and a New a new single Owner!!

D man

June 26th, 2012
6:58 am

He won’t be able to do anything special because he won’t have the funds to do it with. The Atlanta Spirit will ask him to work miricals without any additional money for quality players. Then they will tell us that it is a “process” and we should be patient. I am skeptical, can you tell…

Joey

June 26th, 2012
7:40 am

Ferry may not be the best GM in the league, but I bet he wouldn’t have passed on Chris Paul . . .

Humvee Baybee

June 26th, 2012
7:44 am

You are right, Jeff. The biggest problem with the Hawks is that Joe johnson gets paid to be the leading scorer/superstar on the Hawks but rarely delivers on a nightly basis. To be paid like Kobe,LeBron,Durant,D.Howard you’ve got to score and lead like them. Worst Hawks move ever was to resign JJ. They should have went without a supposed star for a year then this year they could have signed the top free agent available. But now their stuck with 24 ppg,6 ppg,9 ppg,21 ppg,5 ppg weekly averages from JJ while the other REAL stars score consistently to lead their teams.

BigMugFug

June 26th, 2012
7:46 am

Dats rite. JJ wanna be a Lebronn but he wanna sleep on da bench an rest not shoot dat rock.

Atticus

June 26th, 2012
7:57 am

Jeff you are wrong. This move is IRRELEVANT as long as those clowns own the team. Nothing will change.

Bunraku

June 26th, 2012
7:58 am

Who cares how good Ferry was as a player ? Phil Jackson & Pat Riley were sorry NBA players but became two of the greatest coaches ever.

Bunraku

June 26th, 2012
8:05 am

Why would you rehire Coach Larry Drew before hiring a GM ? Shouldn’t the GM decide who the coach wii be ?

Bunraku

June 26th, 2012
8:09 am

Maybe after 20 years the Hawks will finally draft an NBA center ?

Bunraku

June 26th, 2012
8:10 am

Jeef, ever see the movie Bunraku ?

Bunraku

June 26th, 2012
8:12 am

JJ’s contract is like paying the lawn guy $5,000 per cut instead of what its worth,$50.

wcj

June 26th, 2012
10:49 am

Jeff, I heard that Golden State may offer the 7th draft pick with some other players for Josh Smith. Have you heard anything or would the hawks make this move?

Powder Springs Playa

June 26th, 2012
11:43 am

Ferry does bring some history and credibility to the Hawks organization. Like it or not we are stuck with Joe Johnson forever.

1. Sign Andre Miller. A solid veteran who can control the 4th quarter and can either start or come off the bench.

2. Find someone who will give us someone of value from Josh Smith. Pao Gasol? Carlos Boozer? If we can’t then sign Smith and deal with him.

3. We have to find magic in a bottle somewhere/somehow. A guy who loves the 4th quarter and would be willing to take over when Joe disappears. Ray Allen maybe?

Zing

June 26th, 2012
12:08 pm

We’ve got to get something better than a #7 pick for Josh… he’s the best player on the team.