The speculation is rampant, trade rumors abound, and reporters remain vigilant. It’s trade deadline season. It’s also a chance for Atlanta Hawks GM Danny Ferry to pull one more act of financial wizardry.
Shortly after his arrival as the Hawks’ new GM, Ferry put together a package-an agreeable one, at that-that would send Joe Johnson (he of the $119 million contract) to the Brooklyn Nets for a package that included Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow, and a first round pick in this year’s draft.
If you’re wondering how this deal even makes sense because of the level of talent that Atlanta got in return for an all-star, you’re in the minority. You’re also missing the point. The players and the pick were just about the most that any team could have even hoped for in return for Johnson’s radioactive contract.
In dealing Johnson, Ferry got a couple of players he wasn’t locked in to, a future-building first round pick in a severely undervalued draft, and a suddenly spacious cap room gap that would make Mark Cuban take notice.
Before the Joe Johnson trade, Ferry had already started to make moves when he drafted the slick-shooting
John Jenkins. The shooting guard was an SEC first team selection, and a third team AP All American. Not to mention he was a gem of a steal at pick 23.
Unloading Josh Smith, and his max-deal expectations, could prove to be another magic trick in the Ferry era. What remains to be seen is just what kind of package the Hawks’ GM can get.
One thing is for sure: another trade that unloads a likely lofty contract for high picks and decent players is going to leave the streets of Atlanta littered with confetti.