Danny Ferry may have complete control of the NBA trading deadline.
Ferry is in his first season as general manager of the Atlanta Hawks, and perhaps no man in sports possesses more moveable pieces and parts.
And judging by Ferry’s mega-deal weeks after taking the job, when he jettisoned Joe Johnson to Brooklyn, you have believe he has a little wheeling and dealing in his blood.
Plus, the Hawks haven’t exactly been conquering the world lately, folks. They look more like a team that will make the playoffs — and that’s it.
Ferry’s chips start with power forward Josh Smith, a borderline All-Star with an expiring contract. Contenders (and pretenders) want the guy. They just have to figure out a way to get him.
That won’t be easy. Ferry is asking for a lot in return.
But Smith isn’t the Hawks’ lone asset.
Swingmen Kyle Korver and Anthony Morrow, big men Zaza Pachulia and Anthony Tolliver, and guard Devin Harris also have expiring deals. Those are clear advantages when you’re talking trade.
The deadline is less than three weeks away, and Ferry has been eyeing all possibilities. That makes him no different than any other GM. It’s just that Ferry is the guy with all the power.
“We can and will get better,” he told FOX Sports Ohio before the season.
Ferry conceded his roster isn’t necessarily loaded with guys to make a Finals run, but they are guys who other teams really want.
It all starts with Smith. He reportedly has drawn serious interest from Phoenix.
But Dallas is another potential destination, as are Charlotte, Houston, New Orleans and Sacramento. The Kings, in particular, make sense because expiring deals are always appealing to new ownership groups that want to start fresh. The Kings also have plenty of rising talent that could tempt someone in Ferry’s position.
That said, Ferry could just as easily sit tight and wait for the season to end. Just imagine the freed salary cap space if he did.
So yes, Ferry will take your call. And yes, he’ll listen to your proposal. But no, he’s not desperate. Far from it.
That makes him more than the GM of the Hawks. It makes him the most compelling man in the NBA for the rest of the month.
Cleveland GM Chris Grant, a Ferry protégé, is also looking to make another deal after the coup that delivered Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington, Josh Selby and a (protected) first-round pick from Memphis for Jon Leuer.
Grant doesn’t have anything concrete in the works, but he does own plenty of cap space and the expiring contracts of Luke Walton and Daniel Gibson, as well as the qualifying offer owed to Omri Casspi, to dangle.
Grant admittedly likes making trades, too. So it’ll be surprising if the Cavs completely stand pat come Feb. 21.
• Orlando guard J.J. Redick is another player who teams have called about since training camp. Redick’s contract also expires at season’s end.
• Brooklyn has placed forward Andray Blatche on the market, according to multiple sources. The Nets are looking for a draft pick in return. Portland, looking for ways to shore up its bench, might have an interest.
• Houston is one team reported to have a keen eye on Indiana forward Danny Granger. The Pacers aren’t totally against keeping the 29-year-old forward, who has missed all of the season with a knee injury. But following the emergence of All-Star Paul George, they are taking and making exploratory calls.
• Dallas isn’t aggressive at this stage when it comes to potential trades — but there are plenty of teams that would love to get their mitts on the expiring deals of big men Chris Kaman and Elton Brand. As the deadline approaches, sources suspect the Mavericks will be more active in talks.