Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 7/2/13
After the first few days of the NBA free agency period, all was quiet on the Hawks front.The Hawks reportedly were among the few teams able to land a meeting with the biggest name on the market in Atlanta native Dwight Howard on Monday. Howard will spend the next few days mulling offers, according to Yahoo! Sports, before announcing his decision on July 10.While teams could begin meeting with players on July 1 and agreeing to deals in principle, players cannot formally sign new deals until the 10th.With respect to other Hawks news, unrestricted free agent forward Josh Smith has reportedly visited Detroit and been in touch with Houston, in what could end up being one of his first steps on the way out of town after playing his first nine seasons in the league all with his hometown team. Hawks general manager Danny Ferry told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the Hawks would communicate with Smith and his agent.A consensus appears to be developing among NBA experts that the Houston Rockets are the front runners to land Howard, as they possess a nucleus that includes James Harden, which could make the Rockets a strong contender in the Western Conference next season. Howards former team, the Los Angeles Lakers, might have ruined their chances with a bruising campaign for the center that included verbal jousts with the teams star Kobe Bryant and a style coached by Mike DAntoni that did not exactly suit Howard. While its impossible to know how seriously Howard is considering the Hawks, it could be that he has done so for diplomatic reasons, as he could be unwilling to upset fans in his hometown by spurning them out of hand.Well sit down and have a conversation with Dwight and see what Dwights thoughts are, what questions he might have and explain our intent on how we are going forward, Ferry told the AJC, adding that one of the teams owners, Bruce Levenson, would make his pitch.Dallas and Golden State are said to rank among the other teams that Howard is considering.With another one of the top free agents, point guard Chris Paul, set to re-sign with the Los Angeles Clippers, there is little in the way of marquee talent for the Hawks to recruit. Failing to land one of those two, Ferry appears ready to embark on a more painstaking approach to team-building through drafting, signing and developing talent -- an approach that he seems completely at home with and that he already has publicly embraced.In other moves, the Hawks made a qualifying offer to starting point guard Jeff Teague, a restricted free agent, while electing not to make one to burly reserve forward Ivan Johnson, also an RFA. If Teague returns to the fold, the Hawks could have at least three of their top five or six players from last seasons playoff team -- depending on how you look at it -- with forward Al Horford and guard Lou Williams also set to return.Another key player for the Hawks during their run of six straight playoff appearances, center Zaza Pachulia, also could be on the move. Among the teams said to be pursuing Pachulia, an effective defensive and rebounding presence, could be Portland.The (Hawks) front office hasnt told me anything specific, Pachulia told HOOPSWORLD of his chances of re-signing in Atlanta. But the good thing for me is I had an excellent exit interview with Danny Ferry at the end of the season and I also had a short conversation with (new coach Mike) Budenholzer. Obviously, coach heard some good things about me from Danny and the conversation was all good. So I wouldnt take it personal if it doesnt happen.In the first round of last weeks NBA Draft, the Hawks took point guard Dennis Schroeder of Germany and 7-footer Lucas Nogueira of Brazil, but it remains unknown whether either of them will be on the teams roster for next season.As a result, the roster remains largely a work in progress at this point.
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