The Atlanta Hawks have started the 12-13 season strong despite having nine new players on the roster and 12 expiring contracts.

Danny Ferry traded Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams shortly after becoming general manager of the Hawks, leaving a core of Al Horford, Josh Smith and Jeff Teague.

The Hawks could have as much as $40 million in cap space in the 2013 offseason.

"I'm a little surprised how fast we've been able to come together," said Horford. "I was taken aback by the trades, I think we all were. But when we got a chance to meet Danny, we understood he was trying to do some things in a different way."

"I asked guys like Josh, Jeff and Al to take stronger roles because we were going in a different direction," Larry Drew said. "The most important thing for us was not to dwell on what had happened. Sometimes change can be a positive thing and we had to look at it that way."

"This is as close of a group as I've ever been around," Horford said. "I think because we really have a veteran team and we have a lot of guys who have been on a lot of playoff teams there was a respect for one another. It's a positive sign."