NBA Free Agency 2012: Hawks Facing Big Questions This Summer

May 10, 2012; Boston, MA, USA;Atlanta Hawks guard Kirk Hinrich (6) is guarded by Boston Celtics forward/center Brandon Bass (30) during the first quarter against the Atlanta Hawks in game six on the Eastern Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

(From SB Nation Atlanta - Kris Willis) Danny Ferry hasn't been on the job a week yet and already he has overseen the Hawks selections in the NBA Draft and must take another crash course with free agency opening on Sunday. Ferry has been playing catch up ever since he arrived in Atlanta and he told reporters Thursday night that he would explore every option when it comes to building out this year's roster.

"I think we want to make the best decisions possible in the short term. We want to make right decisions, whether it's a trade, whether it's free agency. But especially trades."

Josh Smith headlines potential trade targets as he begins the final year of his contract and has expressed interest in being moved in the past. So far Ferry has resisted but that could change quickly. No doubt that Atlanta would probably like to move Marvin Williams whom they have shopped for the last two seasons but have not been able to find a taker.

The draft selections of John Jenkins and Mike Scott give the Hawks the rights to eight players for the upcoming season. That will leave the team with a little over $6.5 million to fill out the remaining roster and stay out of the luxury tax.

Ferry talked candidly about the tax Thursday night saying that ownership is willing to go into the tax if it will make the team "a lot better." Its not something that Ferry wants to use lightly as he says that it is rare that teams are only one player away from being significantly improved. Still it appears the option is there if it is needed and if deemed necessary.

The majority of Atlanta's bench from last season will all hit free agency. Here is a look at those players some of which the Hawks could look to bring back.

Kirk Hinrich
Willie Green
Tracy McGrady
Vladimir Radmanovic
Jannero Pargo
Jason Collins
Erick Dampier
Ivan Johnson

The Hawks have until midnight on Saturday to extend a qualifying offer to Ivan Johnson to retain salary matching power in his restricted free agency. If the Hawks don't extend an offer then Johnson will become an unrestricted free agent. Ferry said on Thursday that no decision on Johnson had been made.

Atlanta won't have the financial freedom to chase an expensive free agent without first making a trade that provides some flexibility.

This is the first time in several offseasons that it looks like a major trade could be pulled off by the team as Ferry searches for some kind of financial flexibility. Atlanta has famously stuck by its core but with an outside presence now in charge that core could be changing.

For more on the Atlanta Hawks check out SB Nation Atlanta.

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