Wednesday, July 04, 2012

The Future

Through two trades announced within a couple of hours of each other on Monday, Danny Ferry transformed the Atlanta Hawks from one of the most capped-out teams in the league to one that will have $30-40 million in cap space next Summer when Chris Paul and Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum and James Harden and Serge Ibaka will all be free agents. And cap space isn't just for signing free agents. It gives an organization the flexibility to take advantage of other teams' dysfunction to add quality players and assets. A numbingly cautious and predictable organization became bold and opened itself up to countless possibilities.

The Hawks are going to be far more interesting now that their ambitions extend beyond hosting a couple of second-round playoff games but greater ambitions and smart management provides no guarantee of greater success. Kevin Pritchard couldn't turn and Daryl Morey hasn't turned sound methodology into a championship contending team. Sam Presti runs a model franchise but it's got to be better than even money the Thunder don't win an NBA title on his watch. Danny Ferry was there as the Spurs saw what might be their last hurrah turn from two months of glorious basketball into playoff elimination in the course of a week. For all the ambition, talent, and hubris collected in Miami, Pat Riley and the Heat felt both accomplishment and relief in winning the NBA title. It's terribly difficult to win a championship.

Here's the thing: reaching the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history won't be all that satisfying if the Hawks lose that series. That's the nature of fandom. Team success breeds desire for more success. For now, for the first time in a very long time*, the desires of the Atlanta Hawks and the desires of Atlanta Hawks fans are in sync. I think we have to enjoy that, embrace the possibilities or the playoff losses and the injuries (in various degrees, both will come) will won't make it feel like a better place. For Hawks fans, it is.

*I don't count the Joe Johnson sign-and-trade. That was a move made out of desperation and insecurity, one that diverted resources which could have been used for rebuilding into the acquisition of an above average player. It laid the foundation for an era of competency despite mismanagement, realized only through moving up in the 2007 lottery and drafting Al Horford to pair with Josh Smith. The Hawks didn't have a winning record until you could honestly argue that one of those two, rather than Johnson, was the best player on the team.

7 comments:

Barton Goode said...

I like the message about perspective and optimism for what's to come. We were a fan base in limbo after our star player gave us the proverbial middle finger only to be rewarded with the richest contract in the sport at the time. Are you set on this being a down year for the Hawks even if they get some good vets to fill out the roster? Are Teague, Horford, and Smoove not better off as a core group sans JJ and Marvin?

Calkutta said...

I am prepared to take a step back this year if we must. However, Morrow could be a serviceable SG. Along with Stevenson and our rookie. We still desperately need a center. Surprised we could not/would not including Lopez in the deal. The one I'd like to have is Kaman. I think he'd fit well in our system. A decent jumper & Josh is sorta forced to remain in or near the paint at Sf. Al finally can punish most Pf's in the east and with Morrow and Teague ready to drop 3's, we have a formidable sqaud. If we get him or any true starting center.

Calkutta said...

I would have traded Marvin for you, no offense lol.. but he's our 3rd worse mistake behind trading 'nique for Danny effing Manning (the ultimate spit in the face ) + priest Lauderdale ..(honorable mention to the Jon Koncak hold our & extension )

Bret LaGree said...

Calkutta --

Such disrespectful talk of Danny Manning isn't appreciated here. The trade however...

jrauch said...

It'll be a step back in the short-term for greater possibilities in the long-term.

For the first time in years, we have hope the season won't be Groundhog Day. Something different is going to happen instead of a decent regular season, following by an early exit from the playoffs.

Joe Johnson lost me as a fan when he said he didn't care if we showed up in the playoffs. It was a fair criticism I suppose, since he never bothered to show up then either.

Hawks&Dawgs said...

The Hawks should run Teague, Jenkins, Morrow, Smith, and Horford as the starters and Harris, Ivan, Zaza and who ever they sign as the number two.

Jeffrey Thompson said...

They certainly will not be that great this season. I doubt that the Hawks will even make it to .500 with the roster it contains, let alone make the playoffs.