Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/12/12

Believing in the Danny Ferry movement in Atlanta requires faith that Hawks fans haven't had in the past. It requires suspending all knowledge of the franchise's recent history where free agency and team building is concerned and taking a ride on the unpredictable side of things with their new general manager.

The first steps were taken with the official paperwork on trades that erased the two biggest mistakes the franchise has suffered through in the past eight seasons -- Joe Johnson's $126 million free agent contract in 2010, and drafting Marvin Williams ahead of both Deron Williams and Chris Paul with the No. 2 pick in the 2005 draft.

Johnson was moved to the Brooklyn Nets in a blockbuster, five-player deal that also included first- and second-round draft picks and draft considerations. It was a trade no one believed possible as recently as last month since there are four years and $90 million left on Johnson's deal. But the Nets were in a gambling mood, and Johnson turned out to be the key to the Nets enticing Deron Williams to remain with the franchise.

Williams was traded to the Utah Jazz for Devin Harris, another disappointing former lottery pick, and his expiring contract. While he wasn't a complete bust with the Hawks, he never had a chance to live up to his lofty draft position. In the past two seasons, he fell further and further down the franchise's food chain behind Josh Smith and Al Horford.

"The status quo wasn't going to be good enough to reach our goals," Ferry said, having taken a butcher knife to the roster in his first two-plus weeks on the job, "and we weren't even going to be able to sustain that.

"We're in a situation where we made some changes, and hopefully going forward we can be more opportunistic -- hopefully better and more sustainable."

Another smooth move came in the form of the Hawks signing free agent guard Louis Williams to a multiyear deal. Williams played brilliantly off the bench for Philadelphia and now returns home to be a part of a rebuilt Hawks team that could see the additions of even more reasonably priced NBA veterans. Such acquisitions would allow the Hawks to operate in the Ferry era with flexibility they haven't seen in years.

They have the cap space to chase big-name free agents next summer -- Dwight Howard, if he's still there, and Paul, if he becomes available. They also have the sort of cap space that allows them to be a serious player at the trade deadline, if they choose to go that route.

Ferry's done it all while still maintaining two franchise pillars, Smith and Horford, and a young point guard, Jeff Teague. That trio should keep the Hawks in the thick of the playoff chase now that they have some reinforcements.

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