This offseason, the Atlanta Hawks have decided to give their franchise a makeover. Danny Ferry, the recently hired new General Manager, made some huge moves to change up a roster that was stuck in neutral. Gone is the former face of the franchise, Joe Johnson, who was sent to Brooklyn. Ferry didn’t stop with just the All-Star shooting guard and the team’s best player though. The new Hawks GM also traded away former second overall pick, Marvin Williams. It looked like a full rebuild was in store for Atlanta and they were looking to clear cap space for the summer of 2013.
However, the most recent move this offseason by the Hawks is a free agent acquisition. The Hawks signed Lou Williams, the versatile guard who helped propel Philadelphia into the playoffs and beyond. Even though he led the 76ers in scoring a season ago, Philly decided to let Williams walk and he was happy to return to his hometown and be a part of the new-look Atlanta Hawks.
Lou Williams joined WCNN in Atlanta with the Rude Awakening to talk about signing with Atlanta, what he thinks of the run he had with the 76ers, what he thinks he needs to improve on this offseason, whether he has talked to Dwight Howard about his plans, how much Danny ferry being the new GM played into his decision to sign with the Hawks and what the pitch was that Ferry used to draw him to Atlanta.
Whether he thought he was going to be a Hawk:
“No. Actually as early as yesterday morning we were mulling over deals for different teams and we had actually spoke with Atlanta and financially we just thought the deal wasn’t going to work. A few hours they came back and they had a better deal on the table and we were able to work it out. They understood that I wanted to be here and they wanted me here. It was something that we were really pushing for but we felt like the opportunity was slipping away, it didn’t look like I was going to be a Hawk and then out of nowhere the deal opened up so it worked out for both sides.”
What he makes of his time in Philadelphia:
“We caught a good run at the end of the season. I think it was one of those scenarios where everyone was clicking at the right time, guys were playing well together and we were able to beat Chicago in the first round with them not having Derrick Rose. Then to take Boston to seven games I think we put together a pretty good run and I felt we were on our way to building something special. Then out of nowhere they don’t offer me a contract and I have to move on so that’s where we are today.”
What he needs to work on this offseason:
“Obviously I have to do better on the defensive end. I’ve always been able to score points but I have to do a better job of playing better individual defense. I think I’m a good team defender but one on one I have to be able to stop my man.”
Whether he has talked to Dwight Howard about his future:
“I’ve had some conversations with them and it’s really not my place to put his business out there but obviously he has had his preferences of where he wants to play and he’s always been outspoken about wanting to be in Brooklyn and I guess that’s the place that would make him happy. You really don’t talk about playing together until it’s actually a situation where it can be realistic. Other than that it is just business as usual, you play on the team that you’re on.”
How much Danny Ferry being in Atlanta played into his decision:
“I wasn’t really familiar with Danny Ferry before this week. We’ve had the opportunity to speak maybe three or four times in a short span of time and he made me really comfortable. We sat down for dinner a few days ago and I sat down with Coach (Larry) Drew and after talking about the direction that the organization wanted to go in it was something very enticing for me. Obviously me being from here, but this was an opportunity for him to get familiar with me and the same for me as well to get familiar with him.”
What the Hawks pitched to him to get him to sign with them:
“His sell to me was the style of basketball here is similar to what I played in Philadelphia for the last couple of years, obviously I will be home, they’re not in rebuilding mode, they were in rearranging mode and they still had guys that were capable of competing this year. That was very, very important for me. Coming off a season where you’re basically a quarter away from going to the Eastern Conference Finals you really don’t want to go backwards in your career competitively. Atlanta was still a team that had the roster that I felt could still compete at a high level. Then obviously it was my hometown so I think all of those factors came into my decision.”