Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Court Give Thrashers & Hawks Flexibility [J. Mark English]

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Thrashers were given significant added flexibility on Tuesday in their ability to trade and sign players.

The Maryland judge who last week ruled the teams couldn't sign a free agent to a deal longer than one year, changed that to four years. But the Hawks and Thrashers cannot go over the salary cap in order to sign a player.

It was not known what prompted the new ruling Tuesday from Montgomery County (Md.) Circuit Court Judge Eric Johnson.

"We now have the needed flexibility to be able to enter into player transactions for both teams," said Bernie Mullin, the president of the NBA and NHL clubs.

Mullin added that Hawks general manager Billy Knight and Thrashers general manager Don Waddell have been notified of the new ruling and will pursue deals in an effort to improve both teams.