And what did they say?
First, we start with ESPN's John Hollinger, who pretty much nails everything anyone who cares about the Hawks was thinking. (INSIDER req.)
Well, they're no longer content with one-and-done.
That's the message today after the Atlanta Hawks hired Danny Ferry from the San Antonio Spurs to become their new general manager, instantly restoring some credibility to a franchise that could surely use it. After their last general manager search turned into a bit of a farce, with candidates seemingly pulling their names within seconds of being considered, this time Atlanta's ownership identified a single candidate, went after him and got the deal done.
Hollinger goes on to address Josh Smith, Larry Drew, Joe Johnson and the couple of people that mistook the averagely tall Hollinger for Danny Ferry (shame on you, America). In all, an excellent take and an optimistic one from one, like us, who has seen plenty to be pessimistic about this organization.
Then, we scoot over to our buddy, NBA.com's Sekou Smith, who thinks the Hawks absolutely got this hire right.
Even with their core in place for all of these years, and internal bluster that three straight trips to the conference semifinals from 2009-2011 suggested they were among the league's elite, the Hawks have never been considered championship material.
Hiring Ferry, a home run for the franchise in every way, gives them someone at the controls who knows what an "elite" organization looks like from the inside.
Three cheers for the Atlanta Hawks, and not just puny "hip, hips," either. Make these full-throated "hoorays." A franchise that has chosen wrong so often has finally done it right. It has hired a basketball man of impeccable pedigree and plans to get out of his way.
Ferry appeared to be ticketed for Philadelphia but the Hawks obviously put enough on the table in terms of autonomy and compensation to lure him to Atlanta.
The Real MC also checked in and filed the Q and A from Ferry's general availability yesterday:
To me, the money question, short and long-term (emphasis mine):
Q. This team is in a situation where it's good but not championship-caliber, yet not bad enough to get high draft picks. With no cap space and lots of committed salaries, how can you improve the team in these circumstances?
"We have our draft choices going forward, first of all. That's important going forward. We are not encumbered in any way. That being said, the discussions I've had with Bruce and the organization have been nothing about players necessarily so far. It's been more about, ‘Are you willing to do this the right way? Are you willing to invest? There's a lot of things that we'll invest in that you won't see. NBA teams are fragile. The NBA is hard. You invest in all of those things ultimately you put yourself in the best position to succeed. I got comfortable Bruce is in this for the right way and the right reasons and willing to do the things to build the best program to have a chance to succeed and not be fragile and be more successful than average."
With all this optimism, it's hard to remain cautious. I appeared on the Bill Shanks Show and related the experience to putting on the zig-zag shirt and running up the football. I want to believe. I really like the hire. I would love if Bruce Levenson, Ed Peskowitz and Michael Gearon are ready to stay owners and can really, truly, swing it the way Danny wants to do it.
With all the positive reaction from trusted Bird Watchers like these, it's hard not to feel like maybe there is a change here. All of my focus and analysis has been predicated on the (proven track record) notion that ownership is treading water to divest. Hiring a solid man like Ferry does nothing to diminish that, but if they truly sold Ferry on their commitment and stay out of the way, maybe change is here.