When Danny Ferry was hired as General Manager of the Atlanta Hawks in June of 2012 he inherited a talented roster with little wiggle room for the future. It was a bonafide playoff team having been to the postseason five straight times but with limited success. Ferry quickly determined that the core had reached its peak and quickly sought out the opportunity to tear down and restructure with an eye towards the future.
Ferry quickly shipped out Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams for expiring contracts clearing up Atlanta's long term financial outlook. The Hawks again made the playoffs under then Head Coach Larry Drew despite losing Lou Williams and Zaza Pachulia early to injury. However, once again the playoffs resulted in disappointment as Atlanta fell to Indiana in the first round.
During the offseason, Ferry elected not to re-sign longtime Hawks Josh Smith and Zaza Pachulia. He proceeded to rebuild the frontcourt with players like Paul Millsap and Elton Brand. He drafted Lucas Nogueira and Dennis Schröder in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft. Schröder will likely begin the season as the backup to Teague at point guard. Nogueira will be continuing to develop in Spain.
Ferry also elected to cut ties with Drew and most of his coaching staff over the summer replacing him with long time San Antonio assistant Mike Budenholzer. The move ushers in a new way of thinking for a new look Atlanta Hawks team. Some 15 months after Ferry was hired the tear down is now complete and the rebuild begins.
Since both were hired, Ferry and Budenholzer have repeatedly used the word "competitive" when talking about their team. The Hawks resisted tearing the entire roster down and are trying to rebuild while remaining competitive. Typically teams in the league will start over, jettisoning quality players in an effort to earn a high draft pick. Ferry is going a different direction with the Hawks banking on roster flexibility and being in position to make a franchise changing move should the opportunity arise. Its a risk no matter what method you take and there are no guarantees.
The Hawks will go to camp with 14 players under contract for next season although Mike Scott and Shelvin Mack's deals are not guaranteed. Atlanta invited six players to training camp that are a nice mix of experienced veterans and young prospects. With uncertainty once again at the small forward position, there will likely be plenty of competition during camp and roster spots on the line.