UNDER CONTRACT: F Josh Smith, F-C Al Horford, G Devin Harris, C Zaza Pachulia, G Jeff Teague, G Lou Williams, F Kyle Korver, C Johan Petro, G Anthony Morrow, G DeShawn Stevenson, F Damion James, F Ivan Johnson, F Anthony Tolliver
DRAFT PICKS: G John Jenkins, F Mike Scott
FREE AGENTS: C Erick Dampier, G Tracy McGrady, F Jordan Williams
MOVES:New GM Danny Ferry didn’t waste time showing he is a can-do man, moving the contracts of both Joe Johnson (4 years, $90 million remaining) and Marvin Williams (2 years, $16 million remaining) in separate trades. Johnson was traded to Brooklyn for the expiring deals of Anthony Morrow, Johan Petro and Jordan Williams, a signed-and-traded DeShawn Stevenson, a bought-out Jordan Farmar and Houston’s 2013 lottery-protected first-round pick. Morrow and Petro have expiring deals, Jordan Williams was waived and Jordan Farmar was bought out. The Marvin Williams trade was far less elaborate as he was moved to Utah for Devin Harris. Both deals cleared future money off Atlanta’s cap and make the Hawks a potential player in next summer’s free agency market, which could include Chris Paul, Andrew Bynum, Manu Ginobili, Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson and maybe even Dwight Howard. But Ferry didn’t wait until next year, signing Lou Williams to a multi-year deal. Williams will help offset some of Johnson’s missing offense. So will Kyle Korver, who was acquired from Chicago for cash and a $5 million trade exception. Korver has just one year left on his deal, keeping alive next summer’s plan. Atlanta also signed-and-traded Willie Green to the LA Clippers for the rights to Sofoklis Schortsanaitis – who will never play in the NBA – and a trade exception in the $2 million range. And joining assistants Lester Conner and Bob Bender on coach Larry Drew’s staff are NBA lifer Bob Weiss as an assistant and consultant and Kenny Atkinson as an assistant of player development. They replace assistants Kenny Gattison and Tyrone Hill, who were not renewed. Just weeks before camp, the Hawks signed Damion James, one of six former Nets on the roster. And rugged Ivan Johnson signed his qualifying offer of just under $1 million. Just before training camp, the Hawks landed Anthony Tolliver for the veteran’s minimum, bringing the roster to 15.
TO-DO LIST: There was a school of thought that said Ferry was collecting friends of Howard – former AAU teammate Josh Smith, desired teammate Morrow, Georgia native Williams – to lure the big man to Atlanta. But Orlando did not want to trade Howard within the division, and the only way Atlanta can get Howard now is in free agency next summer.
PROJECTION: Ferry’s cap-clearing will have consequences. He took a bag of hammers in return for Joe Johnson, and who knows what Harris’ frame of mind will be if he has to back up Teague in a contract year. The Hawks are going to take a step back next season – perhaps out of the playoff picture, because Eastern Conference teams such as Milwaukee and Brooklyn have gotten better. But at least they are positioned to get better, and Ferry didn’t have to totally detonate the roster to get there.
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