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InsideHoops NBA [Home] Feb. 18, 2004

Atlanta Hawks Billy Knight Interview




Atlanta Hawks general manager Billy Knight spoke to the media after trading Rasheed Wallace away to the Detroit Pistons in a three-way deal.

Q: Talk about todayís trade

Billy Knight: It just falls in line with things we wanted to do to go forward with. Itís a middle of the first round pick, but with the situation weíre in and having looked at all of the possibilities for the sign-and-trades in my mind I thought this was something that would be good for us to move forward and do now instead. Instead of looking at the possibilities, I didnít like the chances of something happening over the summer the way. So I thought this would be better for us. So we moved in that direction now instead of waiting till later.

Q: Talk about the draft pick you received and your own along with the salary cap and what youíll have to operate with during the summer

Billy Knight: Thereís still some more intangible things that could happen and it could fluctuate some, but weíll be considerably down and have money to spend if we deem to do so. But that certainly doesnít mean you have to spend it because you have it. We have some picks; weíre trying to get some more picks. Iím not adverse to getting more picks than we have now. I just think the draft is so young that you canít expect instant gratification from your draft picks because theyíre investments, those are five-year contracts with those players. And the NBA is becoming more and more a developmental league. I think itís safe to say weíre going to get a young player with our picks. Weíre going to have young players that weíre going to have to work with and develop and improve something about them, but probably more than one thing. But theyíll be people we think have a good change of being good NBA players and can contribute to what we want to do.

Q: What are your expectations from the team with 28 games remaining with all the new faces in the lineup?

Billy Knight: I donít have any expectations. Nothing set. Weíll go out and play the games and see what happens. Thatís my only expectation Ė to go out and play the games. But itís always tough when youíre in this situation and Iíve told Terry (Stotts) this privately and publicly that I appreciate his understanding through all of these things because itís tough for a coach to be in the situation that heís in because his job is to go out there and win games and Iím changing players all the time on him. But for the good of the organization, Iím not here to do whatís best for any one person Ė not even for myself Ė Iím here to do whatís best for the forward to go forward with and I think this is whatís best.

Q: How tough were these decisions to remake your roster?

Billy Knight: I canít worry about that (not having high profile players). Iím trying to do what I think is best Ė not just for the rest of the season, not just 28 games, not just for next season Ė Iím trying to build the team for the long haul in the best possible. I know some things arenít going to be popular decisions, but you donít get into this to win a popularity contest. Everybody thatís watched basketball games automatically assumes theyíre a basketball expert, and thatís why opinions are like armpits Ė everybodyís got one and they usually stink. But weíll have to go with this one right now.

Q: Was Rasheed (Wallace) a bargaining chip?

Billy Knight: You can say thatís the way it looks. Thatís the way it turned out, but that certainly wasnít the intention. Rasheed (Wallace) is a heck of a player, but at this particular time for him in his life and career as a player the best thing for us and the best thing for him Ė heís on a good team, theyíre contending in the East and could be contending all the way. Heís going to a good situation where every game is going to be meaningful and like I said, at this stage of the organization and the stage in his life and career this is the best thing for everyone involved.

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