Yahoo Sports writer Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday that the investigation that uncovered a racially-insensitive email by Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson was initiated after Hawks GM Danny Ferry used inappropriate language in describing Heat forward Luol Deng during a conference call with ownership. Wojnarowski went on to describe Ferry’s remarks as an isolated incident:

There had never previously been a suggestion that [Ferry] had been insensitive or intolerant on issues of race.

There’s just one problem with Wojnarowski’s reporting: It’s inaccurate. In 2006, Sacramento Bee reporter Marty McNeal quoted William Phillips, the agent for Bonzi Wells, accusing Ferry of using a racial slur in reference to his client:

“Ferry (allegedly) called him a (racist name),” Phillips said. “That part of it never gets reported.”

McNeal elaborated on his 2006 reporting via Twitter on Tuesday:

The statements by Wells and his agent may be untrue, as Ferry claimed, but the suggestion that Ferry had never been accused of racial insensitivity is historically inaccurate.

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…

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.

It’s taken a couple of days for me to wrap my head around what has happened to my beloved Atlanta Hawks, a team I’ve followed since the old days at the Omni. If you’ve read this, then you already know where I stand on race relations. Since the civil rights community is already addressing that aspect with the Hawks organization, no further comment from me is needed. What I’d like to do instead is challenge the validity of the statements that ignited this controversy.

First of all, let’s briefly summarize the sad state of the Hawks during the team’s history in Atlanta. This will predate Danny Ferry and Bruce Levenson’s involvement but it’s necessary for background. The Hawks have never reached the conference finals since moving to Atlanta from St. Louis. The Hawks have had one superstar player, Dominique Wilkins, since moving to Atlanta.

Dating back to the Dominique era, starting with the drafting of Kevin Willis in 1984 and ending with the drafting of Josh Smith in 2004, the Hawks went through a 21-year period in which, during the 19 intervening NBA drafts, the Hawks selected and retained only one player who averaged double digit scoring for his career (Jason Terry). Nineteen drafts. One career double digit scorer. 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…