Danny Ferry's tenure as GM of the Cleveland Cavaliers is not impressive. He inherited LeBron James, Anderson Varejao, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas. For the positive of the Mo Williams trade, there's the negative of signing Larry Hughes to a 5-year, $60 million contract as a free agent. For the positive of drafting Shannon Brown and Danny Green, there's the negative of neither playing useful minutes for the Cavaliers. Ferry traded for Ben Wallace and Shaquille O'Neal, but well after either could play significant minutes anymore. His last major move, trading for the 33-year-old Antawn Jamison, didn't work.
I fear it's this history, of drafting out-of-sync with his head coach, adding an above average player to an undisturbed core rather than making a move of profound and risky change, signing a player in the hopes he'll be something he hasn't been before, acquiring the fading, ex-famous rather than promising players and giving them a defined role to play, acquiescing to ownership's desire to win now, even the Cleveland franchise's futile fascination with the potential of Wheeler's JJ Hickson that makes him a natural fit with the Atlanta Spirit Group rather than an indication of a new direction.
Not that a new direction would be especially feasible for anyone to forge given the years of entrenchment represented by the franchise's current roster and cap situation.
Despite my general misgivings, Ferry's hiring offers one indisputable reason for optimism: a six-year contract. Danny Ferry's contract lasts longer than Joe Johnson's. Long-term planning could return to the Atlanta Hawks for the first time since Billy Knight mused as to how many wings could play at the same time. Given the fairly predictable and familiar near-future (unpredictability only coming via the potentially unsatisfying conclusion of Josh Smith's time with the team), the possibility of a long-term plan, even if it exists as a mirage for the time being, offers Hawks fans a reason for real, true hope.