I'm sitting third row at the Hawks-Cavs game, flanked by two large, handsome Midwesterners. To my right is the 6-foot-5 pastor of the Third Reformed Church in Pella, Iowa, who has a full head of gray hair and is wearing a tracksuit and glasses. The woman to my left is tall, too, with transfixing eyes and a habit of touching your knee when she's talking to you. None of us has been this close to an NBA game before. This is surprising, considering that the man and woman — Kevin and Laine Korver — have a son on the court who's been in the NBA for 10 years and has made a 3-pointer in 89 straight games.
Al Horford walks into the Hawks clubhouse, rounding the Ping-Pong table and the flat screen television, minutes after wrapping up a segment for The Jim Rome Show. He doesn't look big enough to guard Dwight Howard, or brave enough to share the shower with Ivan Johnson. But he was just named Eastern Conference Player of the Week, averaging a near double-double during the Hawks' five-game winning streak. Sitting in an enormous leather chair and smiling a lot, he speaks for 40 minutes. The only interruption: the delivery of his 401(k) packet. It's big.
I want to start with the most important question: Was your little brother more excited by the candy or the cheerleader? And is he actually your little brother?
[Laughs.] Yeah, he's 7. Wait, sorry, he just turned 8.
Last Thursday was a big one for new Hawks GM Danny Ferry: His five kids and wife finally arrived in Atlanta, from San Antonio. Then the Orlando Magic traded Dwight Howard. Not to the Hawks, Howard’s hometown team, but to the Lakers. Ferry had gotten 31-year-old Joe Johnson’s albatross of a contract off the Hawks' books ($89 million remaining over four years) within two weeks of taking over in late June, so forgive the Hawks fans out there for thinking he could also lure Howard home. In his 19th-floor office in downtown Atlanta, Ferry spoke quietly, and measuredly, for most of an hour, about where the Hawks are going and where's he's been.
So. Dwight Howard to the Lakers.
It all happened yesterday. I was here, at the office. I heard the news from some sources around the league. It’s something we looked at, but they just would not ... I don’t know that we ever got close at the end, because they just didn’t want to trade him within the division. My first call, when I found out about the Lakers deal, was to [Hawks co-owner] Bruce [Levenson].