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…

After hyping Zoran Dragić in my previous piece, I was alarmed to see him go 1-for-8 from three over his next two games against weak competition (Korea and Angola). Dragić may have slipped a bit from his hot start but, as explained below, he remains one of the players to watch in the FIBA World Cup.

Below is an analysis of a number of players I have been tracking throughout the tournament. Most are players I believe Danny Ferry should consider for the Hawks’ 15th and final roster spot. Two of the players, Dario Šarić and Bojan Bogdanović, are draftees of other teams whom the Hawks have little hope of obtaining, but are analyzed here for purposes of comparison to the other emerging talent.

The players are listed in order of their “efficiency” rating, as listed on FIBA.com. Keep in mind that this tournament features a record 45 players currently under contract with NBA teams, and another 23 players with previous NBA experience. For these players to rank this high is truly impressive.

Gustavo Ayón (11th in efficiency out of 261 players ranked)

Goose has been phenomenal, although Mexico have been disappointing. Their only wins came against group bottom feeders Korea and Angola, and they have yet to beat a good team (although they gave Australia a good challenge). I think it’s fair to say Ayón’s numbers have been slightly inflated by his high workload, resulting from his team’s lack of another standout performer.

Continue Reading…

After three days of group play at the FIBA World Cup, several players have emerged as potential NBA talent. Among them is Slovenian shooting guard Zoran Dragić, the younger brother of Phoenix Suns point guard Goran Dragić.

The younger Dragić is averaging 16 PPG, 18th in the tournament. However, his performance becomes more impressive if you look at the “efficiency” statistic on FIBA.com’s stats page. This statistic combines a player’s total points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and drawn fouls, then subtracts the total of the player’s missed field goals and free throws, turnovers, shots blocked and personal fouls.

As mentioned previously, the tournament features a record 45 players under contract in the NBA, combined with 23 players with NBA experience and 17 draftees who have yet to play in the league. With that depth of talent, it’s not surprising that nine of the top 10 players in efficiency are NBA players. Zoran Dragić is tied for 11th while also leading the tournament in 3-point shooting (6-for-7, 86%). The 6-5 guard also commits a microscopic .5 turnovers per game, although he produces only one assist per game. Continue Reading…

Spurs Interested in Ayon

Buddy Grizzard —  August 30, 2014 — 1 Comment

ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting that the reigning NBA champion San Antonio Spurs are interested in former Hawk Gustavo Ayon “as both a potential [Aron] Baynes replacement or a possible addition to the roster.”

Gigantes del Basket previously reported (hat tip @HoopsHype) that Ayon had declined multiple offers because of his preference to wait until after the FIBA World Cup, which is underway as of this morning, to make a decision. This would seem to be a smart move since NBA.com reports that a record 45 current NBA players will be competing in the 2014 FIBA World Cup. In addition, NBA.com’s John Schuhmann tweeted that there are 23 additional players with NBA experience that are not on current NBA rosters, as well as 17 NBA draftees that have yet to make an NBA roster.

Ayon is joined in the tournament by fellow unrestricted free agents Andray Blatche and Leandro Barbosa (reportedly committed to sign with the Warriors). Spurs restricted free agent Baynes has played well for Australia in the build up to the tournament and is another player worth keeping an eye on.

Every two years at the major international tournaments (the Olympics and FIBA World Cup, formerly the FIBA World Championship), international players that the American audience is unfamiliar with emerge as potential NBA talent. The record amount of talent in this competition presents a huge opportunity for unknown talent to emerge. Games will be broadcast and archived on Watch ESPN.

Sadly, my pick for the breakout star of this tournament, 6-5 Lithuanian point guard Mantas Kalnietis, suffered a separated collar bone and has been ruled out. Australia is my team to watch. The Boomers feature four current NBA players (Cameron Bairstow, Matthew Dellavedova, Dante Exum and Baynes). Only Spain and the United States have more current NBA players than Australia, which also features Joe Ingles, a 6-8 small forward with Maccabi Tel Aviv. Ingles played Summer League stints with Golden State in 2009 and 2010 and could emerge in this tournament as a future NBA prospect.

The Hawks announced today that they have added Charles Lee and Ben Sullivan to Mike Budenholzer’s coaching staff.

According to the team’s press release, Lee was an assistant coach the last two seasons at Bucknell, where he coached Mike Muscala during Muscala’s senior season. Lee was also the 2006 Patriot League Player of the Year and played professional ball abroad before becoming a coach. Sullivan was an assistant and video coordinator with the Spurs, meaning he likely has a good connection with head coach Budenholzer.

Lee and Sullivan fill the void left by Quin Synder, who is now the head coach of the Utah Jazz, and Jim Thomas, who has been moved to a role within the front office as a scout.

There’s a common debate among bloggers, fans, media, and even in some front office circles. When should a young player be given more playing time? Many out there feel that a young player, once they show any kind of promise, should be given a lot of minutes; let them work out the kinks in a trial by fire setting. Only then will we know their worth. Others want them to earn every single minute they play. If they want to play then they have to beat out that guy in front of them no matter the skill level. Obviously both of these feel like extremes. There has to be a happy medium somewhere.

During the 2013 NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks selected Dennis Schröder. This pick excited Hawks fans. Those not happy with Jeff Teague’s play, so far in his career, claimed Schröder could be the point guard of the future in three years. After a strong summer league, this only got fans even more excited. To make things even better, Schröder had a strong beginning to the season. Unfortunately for him, that strong play didn’t continue.

As Schröder’s play faltered, another player rose. Journeyman Shelvin Mack began to outplay Schröder on a nightly basis. Mack never turned the ball over and was a consistent player, something the Hawks lacked. This left the team with a decision, do they go with trial by fire for the young rookie, or the consistent veteran where they had an idea of what they would be getting, production wise? Continue Reading…