Many went into the offseason expecting a large move from the Atlanta Hawks in free agency. While there were some rumors it is unknown whether getting a Luol Deng or a Pau Gasol was ever that close to happening. Atlanta did shore up some depth issues along the way but failed to make that move that gets people talking.
NBA.com's David Aldridge acknowledges the fact by ranking the offseasons of all 30 NBA clubs. You can find the Hawks in the middle of the pack at No. 16 and right behind the Brooklyn Nets and just ahead of the Phoenix Suns.
"Methodically, GM Danny Ferry is adding solid, high-character guys to his roster. Payne, the four-year Michigan State man, is the latest. He should contribute right away, having established his stretch four bona fides his last year-plus in East Lansing. Keeping Scott and Mack at reasonable prices is a very good buy; Bazemore could find a home playing off of the likes of Horford and Paul Millsap, cutting off the wings and spotting up for threes."
Aldridge then touches on the point guard situation and suggests that the Hawks make a decision on either incumbent starter Jeff Teague or second-year guard Dennis Schröder.
"But the Hawks will have to likely make their call this season on whether Jeff Teague or Dennis Schroeder is their guy at the point."
If only it were that easy. There are enough rumors out there to suggest that the Hawks might not look at Teague as a player that can get them to the next level but Schröder hasn't shown to be ready and couldn't hold on to the backup spot last season. Teague and Schröder both could have some trade value and on that level Aldridge's assumption makes some sense but with 3-years remaining on Teague's deal I don't think the Hawks have to make any decisions just yet.
Finally Aldridge touches on the thing that probably bugs Atlanta fans the most. Despite noted improvements in many areas, the franchise still finds itself on the outside in the pursuit of major free agents.
"And, Atlanta has not been able to get a serious look the last two summers from the elite free agents, despite having cap room and great coaching and player development. That's something Ferry is going to have to address and correct in the near future. Rolling over cap room to the next year is good and practical from a business standpoint, but not inspiring to an already sleepy fan base. At some point, the Hawks have to seriously be in the game."
If Aldridge is suggesting overpaying then I think he and the world may be waiting a long time for it to happen. Ferry just rescued the franchise from that situation. The Hawks aren't in the same shape that a franchise like Charlotte is. Atlanta has been to the playoffs for seven straight seasons. There is no reason to cap themselves out prematurely for a non championship level club.
From a fan's standpoint it is no doubt frustrating. Still the best course of action is to stay the course. Last year was Year 1 of the Mike Budenholzer era in Atlanta. They made great strides but injuries robbed them of making a lot of noise. To change the perception of major free agents its going to take winning and a lot of it. Its also going to take patience and just like the point guard situation, the Hawks don't have to be in any rush.