Archives For Bo Churney

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 — 1 Comment

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.

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…

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.

The Fort Wayne Mad Ants — the reigning D-League champions — will be holding an open tryout in Suwanee on October 4.

mad-ants

For more information and the links to the registration forms, click here.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Or at least, that seems to be the case every time the Hawks do something positive.

After the Hawks’ loss in seven games to the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the playoffs, I wrote about how the shift in the manners of the front office had put the Hawks on the right path in building a bright future.

“Despite a new head coach and a myriad of injuries that nearly sank the team, what the Hawks showed this season is that they really have an identity and a positive one at that. GM Danny Ferry started forging this identity last season, but with what is now mostly “his personnel”, the fans started to notice more of a team forming instead of just the “collection of individuals” that past squads resembled.

And naturally, when the team is better and there seems to be a future to be optimistic about, the fans will start showing up in greater numbers. The Hawks have usually done well in filling up for playoff games, but something about the crowds during the Indiana series seemed different. The fans were louder and more prideful, creating an atmosphere that fired up the Atlanta players for the series. Continue Reading…

In his interview with the AJC’s Chris Vivlamore, Hawks CEO Steve Koonin mentioned that the Hawks have no shortage of potential buyers.

“I had over seven phone calls directly today from multi-billionaires,” Koonin said. “It blew my mind some of the people who wrote me today.”

Levenson does not own a majority of the team, but he does own a large enough percentage to be labeled as the “controlling owner” and has been the Hawks’ representative in NBA owners meetings. The main ownership group of the Hawks, formerly known as the Atlanta Spirit, consists of Levenson and six other partners.

The news that the Hawks have a lot of interest on the market is good news for Hawks fans. The common opinion of fans around Atlanta is a general disapproval of the ownership group, stemming from the team’s recent sale of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg, and due to the group’s general lack of identity and relationship with the city of Atlanta. Continue Reading…

In a surprise announcement by the NBA this morning, Hawks controlling owner Bruce Levenson will sell his share of the Hawks after Levenson self-reported an offensive email from 2012.

Adam Silver’s comments from the NBA’s press release:

“Following Bruce Levenson notifying the league office this July of his August 2012 email, the NBA commenced an independent investigation regarding the circumstances of Mr. Levenson’s comments.

Prior to the completion of the investigation, Mr. Levenson notified me last evening that he had decided to sell his controlling interest in the Atlanta Hawks. As Mr. Levenson acknowledged, the views he expressed are entirely unacceptable and are in stark contrast to the core principles of the National Basketball Association. He shared with me how truly remorseful he is for using those hurtful words and how apologetic he is to the entire NBA family – fans, players, team employees, business partners and fellow team owners – for having diverted attention away from our game.

I commend Mr. Levenson for self-reporting to the league office, for being fully cooperative with the league and its independent investigator, and for putting the best interests of the Hawks, the Atlanta community, and the NBA first. Continue Reading…