New Hawks GM Danny Ferry recently spoke to Charles Bethea of Grantland and held forth on several topics, including the Dwight Howard trade. Ferry says he never got close to a deal for the superstar big man because Magic were unwilling to trade him within the Southeast Division, though Zach Lowe of SI.com tweets that it isn't necessarily true. The entire Q-and-A is worth a read, but we'll run down a few highlights here:
On joining the Hawks and his relationship with co-owner Bruce Levenson:
I looked at it as a challenge. But once I spent time with ownership, with Bruce, specifically — a lot of time, a lot of deep questioning and thoughts back and forth — I got the sense that: One, he was committed to do this right. And he understands that things needed to change, on his behalf, and on ownership’s behalf, to help make that happen. There was a sense of humility from him: that we can do better than what we’ve done. And I felt like he was gonna empower someone to come in and do that. On top of that, I like the man: He seemed like a pretty good guy. Him being from the D.C. area, me being from the D.C. area. From a background standpoint everything was really positive.
On trading Joe Johnson to the Nets:
"We started talking about it June 26th, and we agreed on things July 3rd. I think it was a win-win for both teams. They got a good player who’d help keep around Deron Williams. It was a hard deal for us. But, at the end, we had a good making-the-playoff run, but we hadn’t had a good playoff run, if that makes sense. And the goal is to have a good playoff run. That was going to be hard to sustain, with how we were set up."
On the ability to attract Howard and other stars scheduled to hit free agency soon:
"I can’t talk specifically about Dwight Howard, with him being a free agent next year, for one. And two, who’s to say he won’t (come here)? But it’s a hard thing to get players to leave where they are, more than anything else. This is a place guys like to play. You see them settle in the offseason here. If we start doing things in an even better way, build a better program and a better model here, then it will be more attractive. We have to make an investment in the team infrastructure."