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September 20, 2014 Updates

His circumstances are unusual, but Budenholzer joins the likes of the Los Angeles Clippers’ Doc Rivers, Minnesota’s Flip Saunders, Detroit’s Stan Van Gundy and of course San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich in holding added clout beyond their work on the court. Until Rivers beefed up his role last year when he moved from Boston to L.A., Popovich was more of an exception. Most teams in recent years preferred to separate the powers, believing that a coach focuses on tonight (win the game) while a front-office exec thinks about tomorrow, next season and several years after that. So is this the start of a new trend? A pendulum swing? “I don’t know, those pendulums seem like they’re always swinging,” Budenholzer said Thursday in Chicago, in town for the annual NBA coaches meetings. “There are a couple of people who have done that, and obviously Pop’s been doing that for a long time, with R.C. [Buford, Spurs GM to Popovich's president title] doing a ton. Those two together have been just an amazing combination. So I don’t know.” NBA.com

Just as Popovich has “nurtured” Buford to work in concert on personnel matter, Saunders, Rivers and Van Gundy also have titular GMs or other execs to tackle salary caps, administer scouting and handle other chores that would pull them away from player development and game preparation. “The best thing about it is,” Saunders said, “I believe in most organizations when you have a falling out, the tendency is there’s a relationship that is lost between the coach and the owner. Because maybe they don’t all have the same agenda from management to the coaching staff. Well, when somebody is your coach and your president or GM, he’s going to talk to the owner. So there’s never going to be a disconnect on what the message is.” NBA.com

“In my case, I’m not looking to do that. I love my owner [Mark Cuban] and I love my GM [Donnie Nelson] — my GM and I go back 30 years as friends,” Carlisle said. “I want to concentrate on my craft. But I applaud these other guys for taking on the other responsibility. “If you get a great coach like Gregg Popovich or Doc Rivers or Stan Van Gundy and you have the opportunity to meld those two positions into one guy who is high-quality in so many areas, if you’re an owner, you should go for that. More than anything, it’s pointing to the vortex of the connection between the coach and GM. The fact that some owners are looking at this and saying, ‘These two jobs should be one and the same’ highlights the importance of coaching.” NBA.com

September 19, 2014 Updates
September 17, 2014 Updates

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Wednesday that while Danny Ferry made a mistake with comments that caused the Atlanta general manager to take a leave of absence while embroiled a racial firestorm, Kerr was supportive of his former teammate. “He’s a man of high character, I can tell you that,” Kerr said. “And I feel for him. He did make a mistake. It was a very poor choice of expression. It’s a difficult issue, but it’s one that needs to be discussed.” Contra Costa Times

Kerr played alongside Ferry for three seasons in Cleveland and two seasons in San Antonio, winning a championship together with the Spurs in 2003. Both went on to become general managers. “All I can say is with my own relationship with Danny, and I know I’ve got a lot of teammates from all over from San Antonio, Cleveland — it doesn’t matter whether they’re black or white or what race or religion — everybody who knows Danny knows that he’s a good person,” Kerr said. “And it’s just a difficult time for him, and he made a mistake, so hopefully he can get through it. But he’s got our support. It’s about all you can do.” Contra Costa Times

Estudiantes announced the signing of James Nunnally. The player spent last season with Texas Legends and Bakersfield Jam of D-League. Nunnally has also played in the NBA with 76ers and Hawks averaging 3.4 points per game in 13 contests. Sportando

Within the past year, Atlanta Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. approached fellow co-owner Bruce Levenson about selling the franchise, two people familiar with the situation told USA TODAY Sports. Levenson wasn't interested in selling but is going to do that now, and with NBA now in a seller's market, Gearon will be in position to cash in on his investment — despite financials losses in the past decade. Gearon understands that if he wants to capitalize, he needs to sell more than just his stake. The Hawks are worth more when a majority of the team is sold. So for the second time in the past few months, an ownership group mired in a controversy over the use of racial language could stand to make a significant amount of money selling the team. In the case of the Hawks, how they got here is a decade of poor judgment, mismanagement and a power play among owners. USA Today Sports

Ferry wasn't fired but was issued a significant fine, two people told USA TODAY Sports, but even with that punishment and two apologetic statements, Ferry announced late last week he was taking an indefinite leave of absence. Ferry made a serious mistake when he uttered racially insensitive comments about Deng, even if they were from a report provided a former front-office executive from another team. In interviews with multiple people who have ties to Levenson, Gearon and Ferry, an unflattering depiction of Hawks management, including ownership, has emerged. USA Today Sports

Gearon recorded the nearly hour-long call but only a brief snippet of the audio has been made available, and there is no full transcript of the call, three people familiar with those details told USA TODAY Sports. The league requested a full transcript, but one was not provided. Ferry's comments sparked the independent review, and the aftermath has rattled the franchise. Levenson is on his way out and Ferry is on indefinite leave. Turns out, Gearon might be getting two wishes. Also in Gearon's letter to Levenson, he wrote, "The racial diversity of our management team has changed for the worse since Ferry took over." USA Today Sports

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

Steve Kyler: I have heard there is no shortage of suitors to buy the team. I had a league source tell me there is a billionaire hedge fund guy in New York that seems poised to out-bid, but we’ll see. Until then, Coach Bud is running the show. I think that will change fairly soon after an owner is in place. There isn’t much that needs to be done with the roster, in the short term. Basketball Insiders

THE TOP 50 PLAYERS IN HAWKS HISTORY

While arguably the most popular, Dominique Wilkins is not the best player in franchise history.

   

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