Danny Ferry: He’ll do well for the Hawks – if he’s allowed

Danny Ferry: A good man for a big job. (AP photo)

Danny Ferry: He's a good man for a big job. (AP photo)

The Hawks have hired a good basketball man. They might even have hired the absolute right man. But the issue here won’t be whether Danny Ferry knows his business — obviously he does — but whether his new bosses will allow him to conduct that business as he sees fit.

As we know, this ownership hasn’t always acceded to the recommendations of its general manager. Billy Knight wanted to fire Mike Woodson as coach at the 2008 All-Star break, and the owners said no. (Given the unerring view of hindsight, they were probably right.) Knight quit as GM three months later. It is widely believed that Rick Sund, Knight’s successor, recommended that the Hawks hire Dwane Casey to replace the fired-for-real Woodson in June 2010, only to see the owners promote assistant coach Larry Drew instead.

With Ferry, control isn’t just a talking point. It’s a deal-breaker. He left the Cavaliers in 2010 because owner Dan Gilbert fired coach Mike Brown, a move Ferry didn’t endorse. (The big noise in Cleveland that summer was whether LeBron James would stay. Can’t remember if he did or not.) Ferry spoke with the 76ers about their GM opening this month, but his interest apparently cooled when it became clear coach Doug Collins — who’s a bit of a controller himself — would retain some say over basketball matters.

So now Ferry is coming to work for the Hawks instead, and good for them. He’s a basketball lifer — his dad Bob was a player (originally drafted by the St. Louis Hawks, you should know) and later a GM — who played under Mike Krzyzewski at Duke and Gregg Popovich with San Antonio. Ferry has done two tours in the Spurs’ organization, which is the best there is, and according to Hawks insiders both Popovich and general manager R.C. Buford rave about him.

There’s nothing not to like about Ferry. Heck, let’s call this what it is: The best hire these owners have ever made. But it will only succeed if these owners restrain themselves, and restraint hasn’t been their long suit. They’ve talked too much, said the wrong things and — speaking particularly of the Michael Gearons Sr. and Jr. — have shown over time the penchant for overrating their players badly.

In Ferry they might just have found the antidote for all that. He’s going to command respect in a way the caretaker Rick Sund never quite did, and it’s much easier to step into the background if you’re sure the man in titular charge is in actual charge.

There’ll be more a bit later — sorry to threaten you — after Ferry’s introductory briefing (1 p.m. at Philips Arena), but I have to say I’m more encouraged I’ve been about the Hawks than at any time since they hired Lenny Wilkens. And that, if you’ve forgotten, was on Memorial Day 1993.

By Mark Bradley

85 comments Add your comment

J.J.M.

June 25th, 2012
11:35 am

This will be interesting

J.J.M.

June 25th, 2012
11:36 am

Mark Bradley

June 25th, 2012
11:36 am

CONservative Johnson

June 25th, 2012
11:37 am

So, we’re giving him an excuse to fail already? If he doesn’t do well because of the owners, then that is also his fault since he accepted the job . . .

ClemsonBrad

June 25th, 2012
11:40 am

Mark, who do you want to see the Hawks take on thursday? I’d love to see them take Jeffrey Taylor

The Grinch

June 25th, 2012
11:41 am

I don’t think those fools are capable of staying out of the way, but here’s hoping.

yeahsure

June 25th, 2012
11:43 am

1. Blow this team up
2. Fire LD
3. Build for future

Benjamin

June 25th, 2012
11:43 am

Excellent hire. Now, let’s see how they mess it all up…

Bill

June 25th, 2012
11:46 am

Good man, bad situation.

durrtydogg

June 25th, 2012
11:48 am

Anyone is better than Sund. Thank goodness! Now, its time to get rid of these lackadaisical, gutless players.

Rickster (channeling his inner Horshack)

June 25th, 2012
11:49 am

One has to question Danny’s judgement if he’d consider coming to work for the ASG folks!

Marcus

June 25th, 2012
11:52 am

ditto, ClemsonBrad.

I have been on J. Taylors bandwagon since the start of the playoffs. We shall see ….

Lon Stotts

June 25th, 2012
11:52 am

The Hawks are not in any position to win a championship as constituted, so wholesale changes are necessary (and will be difficult what with Joe’s staggering salary). Wonder what made Ferry think this was a good idea… good dupe by the Spirit!

I think the best option is to plan for the short-term and long-term simultaneously; not the middle-term status quo, which the ASG is in love with. Do whatever you can to trade for Dwight at some point this year: package Al and Joe (keep Josh here as his buddy to lure him in) for Dwight and Hedo (bad contract), and we would probably have to throw in Zaza– they wouldn’t want Marvin– or they might even ask for Teague.

Dwight, Smoov and Teague is a pretty solid base, maybe even pursue Nash in free agency and move Teague to the 2 (am I getting carried away?), and that lineup would put butts in seats, which is the only thing the Spirit cares about. The Hawks would have a much more realistic chance of contending (superstar on the squad), and fans would support the team knowing that ownership tried to make a splash.

Best/Worst case scenario: Dwight and Josh both walk at the end of the season (or re-up after we win the championship, of course), meaning we’d be rid of basically all our contracts (amnesty Marvin), and we could start the process over and be back in the lottery every year. It might be extreme, but it takes blockbuster deals to make any headway in this league, and you don’t get a superstar picking at #22.

HawksKingBibby

June 25th, 2012
11:53 am

Youn might want to review all of his moves as a gm before you get happy about this hire. His portfolio is filled with a comedy of errors. I guess the only good thing is it appears Gearon has fired himself as gm.

Painful truth

June 25th, 2012
11:54 am

Making the Hawks a legit team in 5 easy steps…..
1. Trade Josh Smith to Memphis for Rudy Gay
2. Draft Fab Melo to shore up your D and give us a “real” inside presence…..
3. Amnesty or Trade Joe Johnson and move to draft Draymond Green.
4. Resign Ivan Johnson
5. Hire Brian Shaw….

This year we will be a 7 or 8 seed… 2013 / 2014 we will be top two in teh east……

Don!

June 25th, 2012
11:57 am

As long as we have this ownership group, we will never be in play for the free agents or coaches needed to make this franchise a true championship contender.

The Atlanta Spirit has done more to harm this city’s professional sports image than any other entity I can remember. I think Danny Ferry is a good hire, but as long as the ASG owns the Hawks, it’s a moot point.

drmaryb .(*_*).

June 25th, 2012
11:59 am

His name should Danny BEEFY. This warm-blooded MAN will make the Hawks swag and the ladies swoon.

OMG, I LOVE HIM!!!!!

Glenn

June 25th, 2012
11:59 am

Thats pretty condescending stuff . I think everyone in this city knows that Lenny Wilkens was hired on Memorial Day 1993 .

HawksKingBibby

June 25th, 2012
12:00 pm

Lenny Wilkens? All time winning coach and nba champion. Danny Ferry would have been fired in Clev but winning the Lebron sweepstakes saved him.

Rickster

June 25th, 2012
12:02 pm

I have to respectfully disagree with Don!. The Atlanta Spirit Group pale in comparison to Rankin Smith & Family.

ASG has only been at it a few years. The Smiths persisted for decades.

STRETCH

June 25th, 2012
12:03 pm

“Atlanta finished 40-26, drawing praise from Sund for an “outstanding job,” despite being without All-Star center Al Horford for all but 11 games of the regular season. Horford returned in Game 4 of the Celtics series.

The Hawks will return an experienced nucleus of Horford, six-time All-Star Joe Johnson and Josh Smith, who is entering the final year of his contract. Marvin Williams, point guard Jeff Teague and backup center Pachulia also are under contract.

The other nine players are free agents, leaving much work to be done by the general manager.

From The Associated Press.”

I think this would be the perfect time for a new GM to come in since they have so many Free Agents. Time to put a new GM’s stamp on this team. Lets GO Hawks!

P. Bull Terrier

June 25th, 2012
12:04 pm

Seeing a quality GM agree to work for the ASG is like seeing a once popular movie star agree to appear on a reality show. You don’t realize how far they have fallen until you see how low they are willing to go just to collect a few dollars.

I’m sorry to see that Ferry has fallen on hard times. Hopefully he will be able to get a little PR boost as the GM of the Hawks, get his career back on track, and return to the real NBA in a few years.

Don!

June 25th, 2012
12:08 pm

Sorry Rickster, Rankin Smith and family BROUGHT the NFL to Atlanta. The ASG has already lost us our NHL franchise. And believe me, if you ask NBA players about their favorite places to play, Atlanta would rank relatively high — but if you ask them about which owners they would actually sign with, the ASG likely ranks down with Donald Sterling, and maybe even below.

The ASG ownership is a negative balance on their own ledger. And an albatross around the collective necks of Hawks fans. Danny Ferry can’t fix that — or if he can, he’s my NBA Executive of the Year for life.

perk

June 25th, 2012
12:10 pm

great move – next one is to sell the team. This group of owners have screwed this city over and over. Combination of the Clampetts and Al Davis.

B

June 25th, 2012
12:15 pm

I’m withca Mr. Bradly. Let’s hope for the best.

doc

June 25th, 2012
12:17 pm

good analogy there to wilkins also the epitome of competence and feeling it is right for a change. doesnt happen often with the hawks, 2 good hires in 20 years.

MannyT

June 25th, 2012
12:27 pm

Did the ASG sell the rights to Thursday’s 1st round pick to offset the cost of signing a new GM 8-O

Micheal Turner

June 25th, 2012
12:31 pm

Why is this a good move? He hasnt done anything

In Cleveland he had James and could never get the right pieces to help him

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution [...]

mountain_jim

June 25th, 2012
12:43 pm

At the point any move is a good move. Bye Sund.

PMC

June 25th, 2012
12:47 pm

So what city in Canada are the Hawks moving to now?

three jack

June 25th, 2012
12:48 pm

Lenny Wilkens? All time losing coach, 1 (lucky) championship…this is who you think was the all-time hire before Ferry? Really?

Wilkens did more to harm the Hawks franchise than just about any other coach in their history. Here’s hoping Ferry does not compare with Lenny the Loser!

Dr. Warren

June 25th, 2012
12:48 pm

It is all a moot point. Now that LeBron has “found himself,” no one else in the East will reach the Finals for at least 6 more years.

Birdman of Falcatraz

June 25th, 2012
12:50 pm

Does the job come with an option to unsign Larry Drew? Why would he come here if he can’t hire the coach he wants?

Dr. Warren

June 25th, 2012
12:50 pm

But come to think of it, JJ’s contract will be over by then, so it gives everyone hope for the late Two-thousand-teens.

Bill Walton

June 25th, 2012
12:51 pm

Clean house –get rid of qall the bad atitudes–start over with those that want to learn and listen

Troy Everett

June 25th, 2012
12:51 pm

Ferry should move every player of value off of this roster (Smith, Horford, Teague) for expiring contracts and mid-to-low level salaried players. Cannot move Joe’s contract … that is a harsh reality. We’re stuck with him thanks to ASG.

ASG will not allow Ferry to terminate Drew with one year left on his contract. We’re stuck with him at least one more season.

Tank the next few seasons, rebuild through the draft and SMART free agency (no overpaying), and within three-to-four years when the new young nucleus is ready to soar, Joe’s contract is finally off the books. The Hawks can then use that money to sign the missing pieces through free agency (a couple of seasoned veterans/star players primed for a championship run, i.e. Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers, who will be free agents within the next four years).

A person SMART enough to know.....

June 25th, 2012
1:06 pm

DePort

June 25th, 2012
1:10 pm

So we blow the team up and have another 10 years of losing ? … how about we come up with a different solution this time guys!

tc

June 25th, 2012
1:11 pm

Mark: One thing about the Lenny Wilkens hiring: He basically ran off Dominique with the horrible trade, which was the worst decision the Hawks franchise has ever made. Lenny’s teams went down hill from there.

French Fries from KFC

June 25th, 2012
1:16 pm

So the Hawks have a Ferry as a GM? Welcome to Atlanta.

oochie wally wally

June 25th, 2012
1:20 pm

Danny loves Black women, that’s why he chose Atlanta, Duh!

Harpie

June 25th, 2012
1:21 pm

No matter what else they do, or who they hire, the Hawks will never be more than mediocre as long as they have that joke of a coach. Larry Drew hasn’t a clue!

BravesFan79

June 25th, 2012
1:30 pm

TC: i always put the blame on Pete Babsuckit for trading Nique for Danny Manning. I dont think Lenny Wilkens had anything to do with that! I know one thing, it made me hate the team i grew up watching for at least the next 10 years (althought i liked them with Smith and Mutombo/ blaylock). But my main team after that was the Utah Jazz. At least they were loyal to their superstars!

Honky Talkin

June 25th, 2012
1:39 pm

@Braves Fan 79: I thought Stan Kastin was the dumbazz behind the Nique trade??

juice sourcer

June 25th, 2012
1:42 pm

James, is a once in a generation player that Cleveland lucked out and got with the #1 pick, and what did they do over the 7 years he was there…filled the roster with chump or washed up roll players. What does that tell you?

Skeezix

June 25th, 2012
1:43 pm

A really great move. Many more need to be made to rebuild/refocus the Hawks for the long term.

Whopper Dawg

June 25th, 2012
2:00 pm

Revel in it. It is a rare day indeed when the Hawks get something right. Like seeing the yeti.

MoneyTR

June 25th, 2012
2:09 pm

with the cheap morons for owners, it will be more of the same—that’s why THE ATL is called loserville.

Sam

June 25th, 2012
2:10 pm

Josh and Marvin for Pau Gasol is looking better and better every day…