Archives For September 2014

In Mike Budenholzer’s first year as Hawks coach, he installed an offense based on passing, tempo, and spacing, very similar to the one he ran as the head assistant with the San Antonio Spurs. A lot was expected of this system, as Budenholzer had been Gregg Popovich’s right hand man for over a decade.

A catastrophe of injuries derailed what was expected to be a successful offensive display. Al Horford missed 53 games. His primary backup, Pero Antic, missed 21 games after Horford’s pectoral tear. Antic’s backup, Gustavo Ayon, suffered a season-ending shoulder injury not long after Antic’s injury. The most important sharpshooter in the league, Kyle Korver, missed 11 games, over which the Hawks amassed a record of one win and ten losses. DeMarre Carroll, the team’s most important defender on the wing, missed nine games after Horford’s injury, of which the Hawks lost eight.

If all of that was not bad enough, Paul Millsap — an All-Star of the 2013-14 season — also missed some time. Millsap’s absence was amplified by occurring during the stretch where Horford, Antic, and Ayon were also out. Continue Reading…

While it’s been common knowledge for awhile now, the Atlanta Hawks officially announced today their plans to unveil a Dominique Wilkins statue, to celebrate Philips Arena’s 15th Anniversary. That statue will be unveiled in a ceremony on March 15th, 2015. Nique is the biggest legend in Atlanta Hawks history, so giving him a statue is really a no brainer.

It was also announced that Wilkins has been named a special advisor to CEO Steve Koonin, and signed a new long term partnership. He will also retain his role as Vice President of Basketball, with the team.

“Being honored by the great City of Atlanta and my beloved Hawks team is incredibly humbling, I have to thank all the fans, the community and the Hawks organization, in particular the Gearon family, Rutherford Seydel and Tommy Dortch, who have been close friends and important figures since the day I was drafted,” said Wilkins. “I look forward to continuing my partnership with the team and the City for many years ahead.”

Every Hawks fan knows the name Dominique Wilkins and what he means to the team. The day he was traded scarred some fans so much, that it bothers them to this day. Nods to the all time legend with front office roles, and now a statue, are hopefully healing some of those old wounds.

The statue itself, is sure to be awesome. There are so many amazing Nique moments to choose from, but I’m almost 100% sure that he’ll be throwing down one of his rim shaking dunks in the statue. We’ll also get to see those incredible 80’s Hawks jerseys that we all know and love.

Every NBA player can be useful with the right coaching staff, system, or organization. Defense can be taught to just about any player. I’ve held these beliefs ever since I started to get deeply into the NBA and I truly believe it.

So when the Hawks signed Kent Bazemore to a new contract, I got excited. Bazemore was a young player that never really got a chance in Golden State, and was allowed to run free in Los Angeles. Despite the solid numbers he put up in Los Angeles, Bazemore was seen as nothing more than end of the rotation roster filler. He might be able to make a few three pointers every once in awhile, but for the most part, he’s just kind of there.

It’s unlikely that Bazemore is going to be turned into an all star player in Atlanta; or even a starting caliber player for that matter. He’s 25 and players with high level talent rarely go unnoticed by coaches. If he was really something special, he would have played in Golden State. But there’s no reason to think that he can’t be a highly useful rotation weapon in the Atlanta system. Continue Reading…

Hawks CEO Steve Koonin released a statement Friday afternoon stating that Danny Ferry requested, and has been granted, an indefinite leave of absence.

“This afternoon, Danny Ferry requested, and I have approved, taking an indefinite leave of absence, effective immediately. This has been an incredibly difficult time for him and his family and it is my hope that this time away from the Hawks organization allows him the privacy he needs to listen to the community, to learn about his mistakes, and to begin the long process of personal healing. As a human being, manager and friend, I wish him well as he undergoes this process.

While the issues related to race are deeply troubling, at the heart of this dispute is an unfortunate disagreement amongst owners. That said, we have taken several steps to address what we can do as an organization to be better and stronger, including working with a diversity consultant to examine us and to train us to ensure something like this never happens again, we are committed to hiring a Chief Diversity Officer, and we have and will continue to meet with community leaders in an ongoing way to ensure our values reflect the community in which we play and work. The process of selling the team, which is to remain in Atlanta, is already underway.”

Koonin also announced that Mike Budenholzer will assume oversight of the basketball operation department. Budenholzer will report directly to Koonin.

Ferry has released his own statement:

“No words can adequately describe my remorse for the hurt that I have caused many people through the statements I repeated, most importantly Luol Deng. Continue Reading…

Finally, the infamous “Deng scouting report” has been found.

Working jointly, WSB’s Zach Klein and the AJC’s Chris Vivlamore — both of whom have been on top of this story — obtained the scouting report that Ferry was supposedly reading from.

While the audio suggests that Ferry was on specifically reading off of the report, the scouting report on Deng makes the African comment that Danny Ferry referenced over the conference call.

While the comments being used over the conference call show a bit of a problem with the team’s front office, Ferry is somewhat vindicated by the report. It shows that even if he was speaking off the cuff during the call, the words were not his own. It does not make the situation too much better, but it definitely helps out Ferry’s credibility in that he wasn’t lying when he said the comments are from a scouting report.

Is that enough to help Ferry keep the job that he is clinging to? Probably not, but this does help Ferry in that if he has to go, then the entire ownership group is going to have to go out that door with him.

As obtained by the AJC’s Chris Vivlamore, the audio from the now infamous conference call paints a bit of a different picture in this whole saga.

The main point: Ferry’s alleged “read off a report” excuse is now certainly out of the window.

After discussing New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, the subject quickly changed to then free agent Luol Deng, who Ferry described as “having a little African in him”, later suggested that Deng’s perceived attributes are just a counterfeit of the real player.

While many, including Adam Silver, thought that Ferry’s in-house discipline was enough when it was believed that he was reading off of a prepared, third-party scouting report, Ferry keeping his job at this point is certainly outrageous. That might also go for the rest of the parties on the call, as they endorsed the culture in which a comment like this could be said. That includes the man who recorded the call, Michael Gearon Jr, who as Adrian Wojnarowski described “is no whistle-blowing hero for racial justice, just as Ferry is no victim for falling into the trap.”

Hawks Re-Sign Elton Brand

Bo Churney —  September 10, 2014

According to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Hawks have re-signed F/C Elton Brand to a one-year deal.

Brand unexpectedly became a heavy contributor for the Hawks last season, covering for both Al Horford and Pero Antic after they suffered injuries. Brand averaged 5.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in 19 minutes a game during the 2013-14 season.

Brand’s 16th NBA season will hopefully progress as he had planned his 15th season to go. Brand stated in interviews that he expected to be an extremely low-usage guy, even volunteering to sit out games so the younger guys could get appropriate run. Barring another injury crisis, Brand will likely fill that role this season.

Brand is seen as a leader in the locker room, and with all of the turmoil currently surrounding the team’s ownership and front office, it is good for the squad to have some continuity with a leader that they can trust.

Silver: Ferry Should Not be Fired

Bo Churney —  September 10, 2014

From USA Today’s Sam Amick, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has commented that he does not think Ferry’s comments are a fire-able offense.

Silver said this to Amick in Spain, where he is watching the on-going FIBA World Cup tournament:

“The discipline of a team employee is typically determined by the team, and in this case the Hawks hired a prestigious Atlanta law firm to investigate the circumstances of Danny Ferry’s clearly inappropriate and unexpected remarks,” Silver said. “In my view, those comments, taken alone, do not merit his losing his job.

“It’s a question of context … These words, in this context, understanding the full story here, the existence of the scouting report, the fact that he was looking at the scouting report as a reference when he was making these remarks, what I’m saying is – and frankly my opinion — is that this is a team decision in terms of what the appropriate discipline is for their employee. But if I’m being asked my view, I’m saying that, based on what I know about the circumstances, I don’t think it’s a terminable offense.”

Ferry has been disciplined by the team, with Continue Reading…

It appears that former Atlanta Hawks great Dominique Wilkins is interested in becoming majority owner of the Atlanta Hawks. According to TMZ, Nique is interested in taking on a bigger role with the Hawks organization.

Multiple NBA sources tell us … Dominique is “extremely interested” in becoming the next owner of the Hawks — and has already been pre-approved for ownership by the NBA.

We’re told Wilkins — who has amassed his own small fortune over the years — has partnered up with a “very well-known businessman” who believes Wilkins would be the best person to lead the Hawks back to NBA glory.

The Hawks are searching for a new majority owner after an offensive email by, soon to be former, majority owner Bruce Levenson came to light.

Nique taking over as owner might be a match made in heaven for the Hawks. This is a franchise that has never fully recovered from the day they traded their lone Atlanta superstar. No former Hawks player has been embraced the way Nique has been in Atlanta.

If this does happen, it would be a bit of a promotion for the all time great. He is currently a member of the organization as the Vice President of Basketball, and is also the local broadcast’s color commentator during games.

If the situation with the Hawks’ ownership and front office was not already strange enough, things took a significant turn Monday night when WSB TV’s Zach Klein acquired a letter from Hawks owner Michael Gearon Jr. asking for Danny Ferry’s resignation in June.

The letter fills in a lot of voids that existed in the story up until that point. An excerpt:

ferry comments

The full letter can be seen here.

This is extremely damning evidence against, not only Ferry, but the entire Hawks organization. As mentioned earlier, every positive step the organization had taken recently has vanished over the last two days. Certainly this story is far from over and more information will be posted on HawksHoop as soon as more becomes known.