Danny Ferry mum on free agency plans

Paul Abell

Unsurprisingly, Danny Ferry is keeping his plans for free agency to himself and is focused on next week's NBA Draft.

Atlanta Hawks general manager declined to comment on the team's summer free agency plans and specifically whether or not the team would issue qualifying offers to restricted free agents Jeff Teague and Ivan Johnson when asked by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Ferry's response of "Nothing to really say about it", is not very surprising considering how tight lipped the Hawks have been this summer when it came to their coaching search and their draft preparations.Ferry indicated that the team was focused on the draft currently and would shift into free agency after it was completed.

The Hawks will have from the end of the NBA Finals through June 30 to decide whether or not to issue qualifying offers to Teague and Johnson. Once those offers are submitted, the Hawks will have the right of first refusal to any offer made to Teague or Johnson.

Teague figures to be one of the top point guards in free agency and could garner interest from several teams. He made 78 starts at point guard for Atlanta last season and responded with career highs in points (14.6) and assists (7.2). Issuing a qualifying offer to Teague wouldn't effect the Hawks' potential pursuit of Chris Paul free agency. Atlanta could pull the qualifying offer and clear cap space provided it is done so before July 23.

Per Larry Coon's Salary Cap FAQ:

A team may relinquish its right of first refusal, making the player an unrestricted free agent. If a qualifying offer is outstanding, the team can withdraw it unilaterally through July 23. It can be withdrawn after July 23 if the player consents, in which case the player is also renounced as a free agent4 (see question number 40). If a qualifying offer is not outstanding, then a team can relinquish its right of first refusal at any time by providing written notice.

I struggle to find a scenario where Teague doesn't get a qualifying offer from Atlanta who can still woo the free agents they want while Teague is out looking for a contract for himself.

Ivan Johnson is in a little different situation than Teague and his qualifying offer might not be as much of a slam dunk but it seems likely since the offer can be pulled after free agency opens. Johnson averaged 6.6 points and 3.9 rebounds and certainly fits Mike Budenholzer's description of the type of competitor that he wants to fill his roster with. However, Johnson has a long history of behavior issues and was sent home during a road trip by the team in 2012. It will be interesting to see if the Hawks see Johnson as a piece of the puzzle and what kind of interest he garners in free agency.

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