When I was a kid, trade deadline season was something to get excited about. Well, maybe the former is a stretch, as the trade deadline was a happening time just a few years ago but the new CBA squashed that. The blockbuster Pau Gasol, Carmelo Anthony, Rasheed Wallace deals are a thing of the past. Teams are getting smarter, and the new CBA makes these kinds of deals harder to complete. Fans have loved trade deadline season because it brings hope back to those who are fans of awful teams and renewed championship aspirations to fans of teams who are close but are just one or two guys away. Front offices are getting smarter and with that comes required patience and understanding the big picture. Whether that means hoarding your young assets, accumulating draft picks, or what have you, front offices don't want to come out the loser on any major deals just to win now. That's why we saw Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen get sent to Indiana for Danny Granger and picks. It's a deal that gave both sides what they wanted for the most part. It's really hard for two teams to make a deal and feel like they both came out as winners, but that's what you should want out of a front office. And the Atlanta Hawks have a front office who operates that way.
The Hawks traded 2005 second-round pick Cenk Ayol for Antwan Jamison -- and that was it. There were rumblings the team had been shopping or at least listening to offers for Jeff Teague, Lou Williams, and Paul Millsap in the past few months. With their recent string of injuries and seven-game losing streak, moving a player(s) of that caliber became an idea that may have been crazy to think about months ago to now being a conversation worth having. The Hawks ultimately decided to not part ways with anyone on the roster and just stay the course at least for the rest of the 2013-14 season. It's probably frustrating to some that Ferry didn't try and alleviate the limited depth chart due to a copious amount of injuries, but would adding a piece like Jordan Hill really energize this fanbase for the rest of the season? The Hawks have already made their franchise shifting deals when they traded Joe Johnson for a kings ransom followed by letting Josh Smith walk in free agency. The front office sees the bigger picture, and as of right now that picture is still really bright. Not making a significant deal at the deadline doesn't change that.
Barring this current losing skid doesn't persist the rest of the season, the Hawks are probably making the playoffs this season. With that said, and the players who were rumored to be available at the deadline, adding an Omer Asik, Luol Deng or any other solid role player really wouldn't have made a serious impact on the team going forward when its missing its best player for the remainder of the season in Al Horford. Deng and Hill probably wouldn't have re-signed with the club this offseason had the Hawks dealt for either of them so why give up any assets for a season that's probably going to end in a first or second round exit in the playoffs? Why sell low on a still recuperating Williams? Or move Teague with how he's played in 2014? There wasn't a team in the league that wasn't going to offer the Hawks a deal for Teague or Williams and still end up giving the Hawks the better end of the deal. You could make the case the Hawks probably could have sold high on Millsap and brought in a decent haul, but he's an expiring contract next season. It also wouldn't be a good look to a lot of all-star level players around the league to trade the team's only all-star after he took a very team-friendly deal this past summer.
Even though the Hawks didn't move Teague or Lou, the fact their names were involved in trade talks means Ferry is open to the idea of moving them at some point, but the timing just wasn't right. Perhaps Ferry is still banking on Lou finally playing like the Lou of year's past and Teague's shot returns sooner rather than later. Sometimes it's okay to just let things play out, and this is one of those times. As a fan, would you have really been totally onboard with the front office shipping out Teague and/or Lou just because it'd make headlines and be great barbershop banter? There aren't problems in the locker room, the team has a lot of picks and the albatross contracts have already been moved. Sure, it's been reported that Ferry isn't in love with Teague's deal, but he agreed to it. He agreed to it because Teague is a good player and the team doesn't really have any other options that are NBA-ready to lead the team. Ferry matched because the offer sheet because it's still a moveable contract.
Once we get closer to the NBA draft, rumors will once again pick up surrounding Teague, Lou, Millsap and possibly even Korver and DeMarre Carroll. Timing is everything when it comes to franchise-shifting deals and the Hawks aren't there yet. Every contract on the team is moveable, and that's something a lot of teams around the league would kill for. If the Orlando Magic are unable to get a point guard through the draft this summer I wouldn't be surprised if Teague and Lou became targets for the club. The Magic could have dealt Arron Afflalo, but elected not to. That could because they want to keep him long-term, or they're waiting for the right deal. This is just one example of a team the Hawks could engage over the offseason about possibly shaking up the roster.
It wasn't that long ago the Hawks looked like a franchise that would be stuck in purgatory hell for years and years with Joe Johnson on the books and the possibility of re-signing Smith to an enormous contract. The team may be in the same area on the standings, but it's a different situation entirely. Ferry elected not make any serious moves like the majority of general managers around the league. The team, when healthy, is still very good with some of its best players being comically underpaid. Continuity and patience is what made the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder into what they are today and the Hawks are establishing those same principles, and that's a good thing.