The Atlanta Hawks pulled off two deals at Thursday's trade deadline but neither were the one that most people were expecting. Danny Ferry elected to hang onto Josh Smith and roll the dice with the chance that Atlanta could lose him for nothing this summer rather than take on unwanted salary in return for any potential deal.
AJC Columnist Jeff Schultz calls Ferry's decision a risk but says it is one that the Hawks' GM was willing to take:
It's easy to understand the logic. Ferry is managing for July, when only three Hawks players will still have guaranteed contracts. He is embracing flexibility. It doesn't matter that salary-cap space comes without guarantees. Cap space can't pass, can't shoot, can't rebound. It can't be slapped on an advertisement ("Come watch our cap space take on Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder!"). But it comes with hope.
Schultz goes on to mention the worst-case scenario in which Smith could walk away for nothing. However, he also points out that in Ferry's mind that isn't such a bad thing because it would bring with it more cap space to work with.
Ball Don't Lie's Kelly Dwyer calls the decision to hang onto Smith was the best move the Hawks could have made:
And it was the best move the Hawks could have made. No team was willing to offer a prized youngster or significant first round draft pick for Smith, even with the knowledge that whatever team dealt for Josh would have the best chance to re-sign him this summer due to NBA rules that give a huge advantage to incumbent teams attempting to retain their players. There just weren't a lot of obvious packages that combined all of what we presumed and hoped Atlanta was looking for - an asset or two, along enough expiring contracts to make it worth adding that asset's salary to Atlanta's potentially slim 2013-14 payroll.
SB Nation's Mike Prada finds another positive in the Anthony Morrow trade for the Hawks besides moving a player that clearly wasn't in Larry Drew's plans:
The Hawks ended up dealing Morrow, who makes $4 million this season, for Jones, who makes $2.9 million. For a team that was barely over the tax line last season and risked being docked for repeater penalties in the future, this was a huge coup. Atlanta didn't even have to surrender any additional assets to make the deal work.