It’s the kind of questions I get often on Twitter: “Why don’t the Hawks pursue [insert big-name free agent]?” After I explain that they don’t have the cap space, I sometimes get the follow-up: Why don’t they trade [Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, some other player I don't like] and use that cap space?” And then I have to tell them that doesn’t work, either, because the Hawks are over the cap and have to take salary back in a trade.
The point here is, until the Hawks gain significant cap space, which they aren’t scheduled to do until 2013-14 unless the use the amnesty card, then they aren’t going to be involved with free agents who command more than the MLE. Shoot, they still may not be involved with MLE free agents until they retreat further from the luxury-tax line.
Sure, the Hawks can swing sign-and-trades (which usually is the next question I get after the two above) but those transactions are not easy. The player has to want to sign with the Hawks and then an acceptable