Yes, the Atlanta Hawks made a move at the deadline. They technically traded for Antwan Jamison, but the two parties are expected to reach a buyout agreement, and in the end Rasheed Wallace could end up having a longer tenure with the Hawks than Jamison. They could end up keeping Jamison, but this was a quiet deadline nonetheless. They traded the rights of the 59th pick in the 2005 draft, Cenk Akyol, to the Clippers for Jamison and some cash. That deal could have went unreported and no one would have noticed. Except for maybe Cenk Akyol.
There was much speculation in regards to what Danny Ferry would do at this year’s trade deadline. Atlanta is beat up and injured, they have lost seven straight games. Al Horford is out for the season, Pero Antic is out indefinitely, Gustavo Ayon will miss a couple of games, Jeff Teague has an ankle injury, and the Hawks have just been decimated. Ferry could have made some attempt to salvage this season by trading for the likes of Jeff Green or Omer Asik, but he held out on that, and now it has many wondering what will come of the remaining 29 games this season.
The Hawks have done a fantastic job with their roster. They were once loaded down with seven-time All-Star Joe Johnson’s max deal, had Josh Smith on their books, and even Marvin Williams was viewed as a future piece on the team. Now, despite arguments from other Hawks bloggers, the team doesn’t have a bad contract on their books.
Elton Brand’s contract ends after this season, Pero Antic’s deal is not guaranteed, and Mike Scott, Shelvin Mack, and Ayon are restricted free agents this summer. That means with a combination of good value contracts and potential free agents, the Hawks have opportunities to make a splash in free agency or the trade market this off-season. With a trade for Jeff Green or Omer Asik, the Hawks would have all but surrendered those opportunities. Adding salary beyond this season to try and put a band-aid on this lost season would have been a decision that mirrored the ones of the previous regime.
They could keep Jamison, and his deal will end after this season anyways. Whether they buyout Jamison or not, this deal has no impact on the future. I wouldn’t have been opposed to the Hawks trading their second round pick for Jordan Hill of the Lakers, but if Ferry has some plans for the summer, then keeping that pick could be part of something bigger.
In the end, Ferry made the right move by not making any drastic decisions on Thursday. If last summer is any indication, he has the ability to build a good roster while maintaining flexibility for the future. Early this season the Hawks looked to be on track to nab the third seed in the Eastern Conference had they stayed healthy, and let’s not forget that. The worst case scenario for the Hawks is missing the playoffs and getting a nice pick in the first round, and that could be a blessing in disguise.
Patience isn’t something easy to retain, but Hawks’ fans should try it. Ferry has shown that his plan for this franchise is something special, and a knee-jerk reaction to injuries would go against the momentum the front office has gained. No matter what happens the rest of the season, the Hawks made the right move by staying put at the trade deadline.