HoopsHype Danny Ferry rumors

September 17, 2014 Updates

The mayor has already heard from plenty of potential buyers for the Atlanta Hawks. And the city is ready to kick in a hefty sum to make the deal happen. Flanked by Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins and other city leaders, Mayor Kasim Reed said Tuesday he expects the sale of the team to move briskly after racially charged comments by owner Bruce Levenson and general manager Danny Ferry. "I have had conversations with no less than six prospective buyers," Reed said during a City Hall news conference. "All six of those prospective buyers will have to go through a process to be vetted by the NBA. That process is going to occur very quickly." USA Today Sports

Reed said he plans to meet with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on Sept. 26 in New York to discuss the sale of the Hawks. According to the mayor, the league is already lining up an investment bank to look into the finances of any potential buyer. "I think we're going to end up in a superior position, based on everything we know today, than we were before," Reed said. He didn't identify the prospective buyers, but whoever steps in would apparently have majority ownership. Levenson owns 24 percent of the team, and his Washington partner, Ed Peskowitz, has also agreed to sell his share, meaning that 50.1 percent of the team is now available, Reed said. USA Today Sports

In addition, Reed said the city will likely be willing to offer concessions to any new owner to ensure the Hawks commit to remaining in Atlanta for another 30 years. He said there could be as much as $150 million available after the city sells Turner Field, the current home of the Braves, though the mayor said that process has been held up by the baseball team's refusal to negotiate terms for its departure. USA Today Sports

September 16, 2014 Updates

The Atlanta Hawks cancelled a scheduled meeting between their CEO and city civil rights leaders Wednesday, prompting one of the group’s leaders to say his community was greatly offended. The Rev. Markel Hutchins said the meeting with CEO Steve Koonin was called off “at the last minute.” He later said he received a call from Hawks spokesman Garin Narain on Tuesday night asking the appointment be postponed. Detroit Free Press

September 14, 2014 Updates

Knicks star forward Carmelo Anthony believes future NBA free agents will be hesitant to sign with the Atlanta Hawks in light of statements made by general manager Danny Ferry. "[There] ain't nobody [who] would want to go there," Anthony said Saturday at the Citi Carmelo Anthony Basketball camp in Manhattan. "At the end of the day, Atlanta, I think it puts Atlanta back even further now, from that standpoint. ESPN.com

Anthony, who tested free agency over the summer and ultimately re-signed with the Knicks, said players "wouldn't look at" Atlanta as a potential destination. "As a player, as an athlete, we're looking for a job, we're trying to find a place where we can move our family, we can make our family comfortable, where we can be comfortable in a comfortable environment," Anthony said. "But those comments right there, we would never look at [playing there]. "I'm speaking on behalf of all athletes. We would never look at a situation like that, I don't care what it is." ESPN.com

September 13, 2014 Updates

That's where the scout, who even on less sensitive issues must remain anonymous, urged perspective. "I've never seen that before, not in a negative way," the veteran of more than three decades in the league said. "You might say a typical 'European' player, but 'African' has its own special connotation. It's not neutral, and then there were the subsequent comments. "I think it's exceptionally rare. I've read hundreds, thousands of scouting reports. At draft time you see all the reports, and this simply does not ring a bell about a racial component. You're always evaluating character. What's rare is connecting character to racial stuff. That's what was so troubling about this." South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Because of the return of infighting in the Hawks' multi-tiered ownership group, the leaks did not stop with the "African" comment. Audio later was released to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution with additional Ferry comments about Deng on that conference call with the team's owners, which also apparently were forwarded from other scouting reports: "He can come out and be an unnamed source for a story and two weeks later come out and say, 'That was absolutely not me. I can't believe someone said that.' But talking to reporters, you know it's him. He could be a lawyer in the locker room when the coach is not around. But when the coach is around, could be the greatest guy in the world." South Florida Sun-Sentinel

The scout said he does not expect Deng's image to take a hit, certainly a concern for the forward, with Deng in position to become a free agent next summer due to the opt-out clause in his contract. "All I know is one of their coaches was just ecstatic about him, coaching him," the scout said of a member of the Chicago Bulls' staff. "And I have to assume that's not just because of his ability. The coaching staff was big on him and I think that's more than just the fact that he was good player. I haven't heard anything negative. All I've heard is positive from their coaching staff." South Florida Sun-Sentinel

So in describing what kind of investment Deng would be for the Hawks, Ferry didn't say a word about his wing defense or his offensive rebounding, or even what kind of fit he would be with the various talents on the roster or with the coaching staff. Instead, his scouting report -- prepared from multiple sources, including former teammates and yes, ballboys, according to a league source -- read more like a psychological profile filled with loosely verified gossip and innuendo. In this way, in the tabloid culture of the NBA and pro sports in general, it was no different than any other scouting report or, frankly, most of the sports coverage you read or watch on TV. CBSSports.com

Q. What is your reaction to everything that has happened? Korver: My thoughts are, when I got traded to the Hawks, I didn’t want to come here because all I knew was what I had heard, about bad culture and no fans and no excitement in the city. So I didn’t want to come to Atlanta. At all. I was bummed to leave Chicago. But by the next summer, I chose to re-sign and come back to Atlanta. After a year of watching what Danny (Ferry) was doing and the people he was bringing in. Everything I saw, was so attractive to me and I really believed in it. I believed that he was going to turn things around. I saw that Atlanta was an incredible city, and that there was so much potential here to both raise my family and help build a great basketball culture. I had some opportunities to go to places that were already established and played really good basketball but I wanted to come back here and be a part of building this. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Korver: I think in all this, I’m hopeful that when the dust settles, it keeps on going. I really do believe in what has gone on in the two years that I have been here. I think anyone who knows the game and has watched the transformation would agree with me. But it’s just sad what’s all going on. That all this has happened has really bummed me out. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

In the five-page transcript obtained by the Atlanta news outlets Friday, the names of the personnel who wrote separate scouting reports on Deng, as well as portions of the reports, were redacted. The main statement at the center of the controversy is in one of the reports — evidently one obtained from the Cleveland Cavaliers, one of Deng’s former teams — and reads: “He’s a good guy on the cover but he’s an African. He has a little two-step in him = says what you want to hear but behind closed doors he could be killing you. Con isn’t bad but it’s there. African-like store front looks great but there’s a black market section in the back.” NBA.com

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