Hawks’ Ferry Clearing Space For A Run At Dwight Howard, Now Or In 2013?





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – In his first eight days on the job, new Hawks general manager Danny Ferry cleaned up the biggest mistakes of the men who preceded him and positioned the Hawks as potentially the biggest player on the free-agent scene in 2013.

By agreeing to trade the remaining four years and nearly $90 million on Joe Johnson‘s contract to the Brooklyn Nets for five players and a lottery-protected Draft pick in 2013 and Marvin Williams to the Utah Jazz for Devin Harris and his expiring contract, Ferry put the Hawks in a position to work with $30 million in cap space next summer.

He has rid the franchise of Billy Knight‘s Draft blunder in 2005 (Williams ahead of both Deron Williams and Chris Paul) and Rick Sund‘s free agent fiasco of 2010, when the Hawks signed Johnson to a $126 million deal, the richest deal in the league.

Do the math. The Hawks are shedding $100 million in outgoing salaries and taking back a fraction of that ($24 million), which gives them all sort of flexibility to make a play for hometown All-Star Dwight Howard (who has demanded a trade from Orlando) this summer or next summer when he’s a free agent.

With an All-Star center of their own on the roster in Al Horford, the Hawks could offer both Horford and Jeff Teague to the Magic and then pair Howard and his preschool classmate, AAU teammate and close friend Josh Smith on an imposing frontline as Ferry rebuilds around the 26-year-olds. Smith and Howard have remained close through the years and Howard was the best man in Smith’s wedding.

The question has been asked around Atlanta for years: would Howard ever come home and play for the Hawks? We could find out in the coming days. The Hawks are poised to make a play for Howard since his trade demand to the Nets is being dismissed by the Magic. Whether or not they’d be willing to send Howard to a division rival remains to be seen. Potentially acquiring Horford, who starred in college at the University of Florida, could be the sort of chip needed to get the conversation started.

(Howard went to former Magic GM Otis Smith on more than one occasion and to inquire about the Magic making a move to get Smith to join him in Orlando, according to two people familiar with the situation. But the subject of a potential reunion in their hometown was never discussed.)

With the NBA champion Miami Heat already entrenched and the Chicago Bulls in wait-and-see mode after Derrick Rose torn his ACL in the playoffs, the Pacers and Celtics are the only other Eastern Conference teams that look to be true challengers for one of those top four spots in the standings.

A summer makeover that includes an infusion of talent Howard’s caliber could vault the Hawks into that upper echelon of teams right away. Even if they don’t make their big splash this summer, they should still have a team capable of competing for a playoff spot. They did it this season without Horford for all but 11 regular season games after he tore a chest muscle and had to have surgery.

Either way, Ferry now has the flexibility to craft a team to his liking around his two best players and a young point guard without a cap-crippling contract hanging over his head.

That’s not bad for a week and a day on the job.


27 Comments

  1. Tony says:

    could the hawks trade AL horford and jeff teaueg for dwight this summer instead of waiting for him next summer because it would help the hawks cap space as well.

  2. HAWKLESS says:

    Ferry has done a great job so far. I do not understand why the Hawks exercised the one year option on LD when they had plans to bring in a new VP/GM. The owners need to let Ferry handle all of the personnel issues. The Hawks need an experience coach who can lead this team to a championship. How much will it cost the Hawks to buy out this one year salary?

  3. DREW says:

    YO JOHNSON,TEAGUE,HORFORD AND ANYBODY ELSE FROM THE HAWKS EXCEPT SMITH FOR HOWARD. BEST FRONT COURT HANDSDOWN BETTER THAN GASOL BYNUM BUT ITS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN BECAUSE THE HAWKS AND MAGIC ARE IN THE SAME CONFERENCE AND DIVISION SO MOST LIKELY HOWARD FOR BYNUM
    BUT IF HAWKS SOME HOW FIND A WAY TO GET HIM SMITH AND HOWARD AND BUILD AROUND THEM LIKE THEY DID WITH THE HEAT BUT I THINK WE CAN GET MUCH BETTER ROLE PLAYERS THAN THE HEAT THE ONLY WAY TO
    GET HOWARD IS TO GIVE UP SMITH AND HORFORD OR GIVE UP X3 WHAT EVERYBODY ELSE IS OFFERING WHICH
    IF I WAS ANY TEAM I WOULD DO!!!!

  4. Rachel says:

    This is good so far but trading jeff teague is not a guarantee dat will have a great point guard except we get dwill and if dh play like he did last year this whole thing was a bust and keep josh smith and get younger so dont get nash

  5. HAWKLESS says:

    The hawks need to hire a premier coach before they start to put this team back together. I don’t think Josh will want to stay here with LD as coach.

  6. Sharquay says:

    Danny Ferry will be GM of the year.

  7. Chris From Y.G.!!! says:

    They should been got rid of joe johnson he is not the type of player the franchise thought he was.He’s very inconsitent played an he wasn’t worth 20 million my opinion an we would have been but off with jamal crawford starting over him.SO ATL should get rid of him seek out dwight howard and deron williams and there your play off team rite there maybe even champion once they figure each other out.But as for joe get rid of him please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Faye's Dad says:

    Howard and Anderson for Bynum, Barnes or Artest, and Murphy will be a good trade,

  9. hooplover says:

    i don’t think i can get any sicker of dwight howard!

  10. MartMoney says:

    Sign Steve Nash to a one year contract!

  11. geoffblade says:

    i recon they should go for nash to set up howard ans smith both would rock it

  12. monstergigolo says:

    Nets should have gone for Smith instead of Johnson! Dwill, D12 and Josh Smith will make a very strong defensive core! And Dwill will have the ability to space the floor for Howard and Smith to operate. With Dwill handling the ball for most times, and the ability of Howard to seal deep, along with Josh Smith’s constant moving without the ball, they would really be fun to watch on offense. Try comming in the paint with Howard and Smith waiting to swat away! Complimentary players and a decent bench is still needed of course. well that was the move i hoped Nets would have done, but seeing how this played out for Atlanta, I hope hawks can sign Dwill and try to get Dwight in a trade, or let him sign next year in free agency. I’m not a Hawks fan, but this would be great to watch!

    • Allan says:

      why would Atlanta give up Smith to the Nets when Smith is the selling point to attract Howard?

    • minipony666 says:

      if ATL goes after DWill they won’t have enough money to sign DH12… I agree with you, Smith to the Nets instead of Johnson would’ve been a great move, but I think the Hawks are not letting their young star go, they put on the plate a salary cap-bait like JJ and Brooklyn, desperately looking for a star to attract other stars (even if with their little cap flexibility I’m not sure if they’re gonna get Howard)
      tl;dr: JSmoove to Brooklyn would’ve been way better, and at this point I’m not sure the Nets are landing DH12

    • Heat! says:

      The reason they want to trade Joe Johnson to the Nets is to free up alot of cap space and besides the nets might not take smith, the only reason they want johnson is because rumours have floated around that Orlando has wanted Jonhson for a few years now so it’s a good bargaining chip to aquire dwight. They won’t be keeping Joe johnson if they get Dwight howard that contract is too big to deal with and they’ll definitely lose deron williams then too

  13. marqius says:

    The hawks should not trade for Dwight or trade Joe Johnson to Brooklyn

  14. Lakers-R-Us says:

    I love how all these people love to dream! So dream on! Like CP3 is really going to just jump ship on the Clippers and head to Atlanta! And haven’t you read the reports! Howard requested to be traded to the Nets!

    • Things and stuff says:

      If you havent realised dwight howard may be out of the reach of brooklyn if this trade continues. Atlanta is dwights hometown, josh and morrow are his great pals and he is hungry to win just like josh and al horford. But i do agree paul will not be coming to the hawks next summer. Some reason atlanta doesnt seem very appealing.

    • ATL says:

      Well, it’s been reported that Chris Paul wanted to play for the Hawks when they drafted Marvin Williams in 2005, and plus the possible reunion of AAU teammates Smith and Howard may intrigue Dwight,

  15. ben says:

    I am so tired of these dwight howard trade rumors. I dont care where he goes. just make it stop. Everybody is sick and tired of it.

  16. Lyn says:

    Now THIS makes sense!!!

  17. OKCfan15 says:

    atlanta needs to do the smart thing and trade for dwight and then cp3 to build a team around them.

  18. ATLienC4 says:

    Thank you Sekou for answering everyone in ATL’s preyers…. Letting the NBA world know that we now will a legit shot at bringing home our hometown phenom… I truly hope that this blog can penetrate the minds of the entire Hawks organization… and most importantly Dwight Howard himself… again i say…Thank you Sekou

  19. mario says:

    If they trade Horford n Teague for Howard they can go for Deron Williams as well.

  20. Amitpal says:

    Ferry has already cleaned up the mess from before. Now it’s time to build a team.

  21. juris says:

    Howard is a mess.