Many questions, no answers as Hawks enter offseason


There are numerous questions facing the Hawks organization.

No answers came Saturday.

A day after the season-ending first-round playoff loss to the Pacers in Game 6, general manager Danny Ferry, coach Larry Drew and several players spoke about the completed season of transition. A busy offseason lies ahead in the ongoing rebuilding of the franchise.

There are seven unrestricted free agents, a list that includes Josh Smith, who may have played his final game in a Hawks uniform. Drew’s contract is set to expire, and his future with the team is uncertain. The Hawks have approximately $33.1 million in salary-cap space and could be a major player in free agency. The NBA draft is in June, and the Hawks have four draft picks.

Many questions.

“I’m not going to address the future yet as for organizational direction, as far as player decisions, coaching decisions, Larry’s situation,” Ferry said. “We are going to take some time. Give some distance, some space from the season and the playoffs, from the emotion of that and then we will make the decisions we feel best for the short-term and long-term future of the team.”

No answers.

Drew’s future figures to be the first item on Ferry’s to-do list, although he would not give a timetable for any decisions. Drew just completed the three-year deal he signed when he took over the team after serving as an assistant under Mike Woodson. The Hawks made the playoffs all three seasons under Drew, part of a streak of six consecutive postseason appearances. He had a 128-102 regular-season record, including a 44-38 mark this season, when the Hawks brought in 11 new players.

“Everybody is going to be evaluated,” Drew said. “I understand that process. Danny and I actually spoke a little bit (Saturday) night. We are going to step away for a few days and then come back and talk about it. Whether I’m back here or not, I don’t know. The one thing that I will say, I’ve had a great run here.”

Drew did say he would like his situation resolved sooner rather than later and does not want the process to linger. He also expressed his desire to continue as a head coach with another team, should he not be retained.

Smith said following Saturday’s loss that he intends to test the free-agent market. With the current league salary cap at $58.5 million, Smith could sign a four-year deal with another team for a maximum of $70 million. The Hawks could sign him to a five-year deal for a maximum of $94.3 million. Smith also could get less from the Hawks or another team.

In addition to Smith, Devin Harris, Zaza Pachulia, Kyle Korver, Johan Petro, Dahntay Jones and Anthony Tolliver are unrestricted free agents. Pachulia, before a season-ending Achilles injury, Harris and Korver were major contributors.

Only Al Horford, John Jenkins and Lou Williams, who was lost for the season in January with a torn ACL, have guaranteed contracts for next season.

DeShawn Stevenson, Mike Scott and Shelvin Mack have non-guaranteed contracts, which become guaranteed Jan. 10. The team could part ways with any of the players before that date.

Jeff Teague and Ivan Johnson are restricted free agents. The Hawks must make them qualifying offers by July 1, or they become unrestricted.

“It’s intriguing just seeing what will happen with everything that is going on here,” Horford said of another offseason of major roster changes. “I’m on board with Danny and the plans that he has for us here moving forward. … It’s difficult. We were such a tight group for so many years since I’ve been here. This is what the NBA is about. In professional sports there is always change. That is something that you need to be able to deal with.”

Ferry said he considered the season a success. He wanted Saturday to be a day to thank the coaching staff, players, other members of the organization and the fans for their support.

“Certainly we would have liked to be playing on Sunday,” Ferry said. “We would have liked to advance and continue to play. That part was disappointing, obviously. I think we all have to feel good that the group worked hard and was professional throughout the year. As an organization, it was a significant year for us in taking the initial steps in building a championship program with more work to do.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

LSU football podcast: Why John Chavis leaving in ’14 was a blessing in disguise
LSU football podcast: Why John Chavis leaving in ’14 was a blessing in disguise

LSU football is the No. 1 topic of discussion every day on SEC Country’s  One Team, One Podcast. Host  Carter ‘The Power” Bryant lays out why former LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis bolting to Texas A&M in 2014 turned out to be a positive for the Tigers...
WATCH: LeBron James surprises Oklahoma women’s basketball with new shoes
WATCH: LeBron James surprises Oklahoma women’s basketball with new shoes

Kentucky Basketball: Nick Richards just needed a tune-up between the ears to deliver a monster game
Kentucky Basketball: Nick Richards just needed a tune-up between the ears to deliver a monster game

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Were John Calipari to assemble a perfect center, it might look a lot like 5-star Kentucky freshman Nick Richards: 7 feet tall, 245 pounds, 7 percent body fat, a 7-5 wingspan, strong enough to bench press 185 pounds 15 times and nimble enough to leap 36 inches off the ground and sprint three-quarters of...
5 observations from Georgia Tech’s win over UTRGV
5 observations from Georgia Tech’s win over UTRGV

Continuing its diet of the weakest teams in Division I, Georgia Tech took care of Texas-Rio Grande Valley Wednesday night at McCamish Pavilion. The Yellow Jackets secured victory by a 78-68 score, having led by as many as 19 points late. Five observations of the game: 1. Shooting guard Brandon Alston came in handy. With backup point guard Justin Moore...
Tulsa World: Oklahoma-Nebraska rivalry revival wanted by former players
Tulsa World: Oklahoma-Nebraska rivalry revival wanted by former players

Oklahoma and Nebraska’s respective football teams have felt an empty void on Thanksgiving weekend for years. The once-classic college football rivalry took a hit with the Big 12’s formation in the 90s and then completely wiped out by Nebraska’s move to the Big Ten in 2011. Guerin Emig of the Tulsa World recently wrote...
More Stories