- Allow Me To Reintroduce Myself - Before we get to the nitty and the gritty, it's time to remind everyone that this is Str8Talk. Not to be confused with Homer Talk. I leave fun, hopeful fan stuff for my time within the friendly confines of the Highlight Factory, the Hawks road trips, Facebook, and so on. On this blog and on Twitter (@hawkstr8talk), I'm all about championship building and nothing else. Unapologetic, nuanced, and definitive. If what I say turns out to be wrong, I'll say it. If what I say turns out to be right, I'll say that too. So, if that's not your cup of tea
(or if you can't disagree respectfully), read another blog. That said - to the b-ball thoughts, we go...
- Danny Ferry so far is .... Billy Knight - Let's start with what I'm sure will be the most controversial Truth with all these In Ferry We Trust vibes going on these days. Controversial to many, but not any less true. Before you blanch at the thought, let's review the Billy Knight transactions from 2003 thru 2005. He got rid of an albatross of a contract of a player that was good, but not good enough (Shareef Abdur-Rahim along with Theo Ratliff and Dan Dickau). He got rid of Nazr Muhammed, Terrell Brandon, Alan Henderson, and Travis Hansen. Obtained Rasheed Wallace, only to quickly turn him into a first round draft pick once it was determined that Wallace was not going to re-sign with the Hawks.
The DarkKnight played this flipping of players game to the effect of 2 additional first round picks and enough cap space to eventually select Josh Smith, Josh Childress, Marvin Williams, and sign Joe Johnson. Now, this exercise is not to lionize Billy Knight, but more to highlight the fact that Danny Ferry has started out by clearing cap space and adding an additional first round pick. He's already well on his way to picking players (I don't really like)and signing free agents and he's certainly trying to acquire the game changer in Dwight Howard who is - much like Rasheed Wallace (mercurial and talented)- slated to become a free agent at the end of next season. As much as I've been pleased at what Ferry has done so far, it just goes to show you that the teardown is one task, but the build up is much harder. Let's hope that the build up has greater results than Knight's attempt. (Refraining from taking another shot at how bad Rick Sund was during his GM run)
- Slow and steady wins the race - I started with this note last week and I will continue to maintain that Dwight Howard and Chris Paul for 2013-2014 is IN PLAY. I know Hawks fans are conditioned to think the worst, but I repeat - let this plan all play out, Hawks Fans. Yes, it may end up in disappointment. Yes, Plan B might not be desirable. Yes, Houston is trying to trade their entire team, draft picks for the next 10 years, and give him an oil rig to boot. We might lose out on Al Horford and Jeff Teague's future Hall of Fame careers or whatever needs to be sacrificed, but the reward is worth the risk. The reward is two once-a-generation talents and an arguably All Star PF
(I ignore all thoughts that Josh Smith can play small forward),which will result in at least 3-4 years of championship contending days in Atlanta. The downside is us being gutted to the point that we're back in the lottery looking for the kind of talent to thrust as back to a run to a title later than sooner. Either way, the attempt is a win-win. If you want to be taken seriously in this league - you do serious things. Making this attempt sends a signal and that signal is - we want to win the whole thing. If you want even more fuel as to why all the thoughts about what Dwight Howard's desire to be in Brooklyn or Chris Paul staying in Los Angeles should be tempered, I give you Deron Williams ( and Blake Griffin's new knee problem). Who the heck thought when he was traded to the New Jersey Nets that he was ever going to stay there. NO ONE! It's the Nets for goodness sake. Who thought that Dwight Howard would openly say that he would want to go there even last year? VERY FEW! So, circumstances change - organizations change (like the Nets), players change their minds, and the path to a title can be shuffled. That's what the Rockets, Lakers, and yes - the Hawks should be banking on. That a player rarely leaves money on the table (see Johnson, Joe) and that if you can show them a path to a title - they will make it work. Josh, Dwight, and Chris can happen - believe!!!
- Hawks Fans owe Dwight Howard - You may not realize this, but the
dumb, inexplicabledecision by Dwight Howard to opt-in to his last season of his contract actually is the reason this is all possible. The Nets realizing that without Dwight Howard to go after - there was a real chance that without a splash in the offseason that Deron Williams was leaving town. That splash wasn't gonna be Gerald Wallace. So, let's remember who paved the way for The Contract to find its way to Brooklyn (and possibly Marvin Williams to Utah). You don't see the symmetry in this, which leads us to....
- What Really Matters - Welcome Lou Williams and all these people who are on our roster. I'm intentionally not falling in love with anyone, not paying attention to how many guards we have, or our lack of a small forward, etc. None of this matters until a) we find out if we're the chosen trade partner for Dwight Howard and b) if a works out, then whether we have the space for Chris Paul. Anything else that happens is fine as long as it doesn't compromise draft picks or cap space. The ability to participate in trades and free agent discussions are all that matter at this juncture. There's no reason to worry about Plan B's and the 2012-2013 regular season until the Plan A is no longer. I repeat Summer 2013 is all that matters
(until Dwight Howard signs a long term contract).