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Danny Ferry audio on Luol Deng makes GM look worse

Danny Ferry’s explanation that he was merely reading from a scouting report when he made racist comments about Luol Deng seems less believable now that the audio has been released.

On Thursday the Atlanta Journal-Constitution posted audio from the conference call Ferry had with several Atlanta Hawks owners on June 6 to discuss free agents. The clip they shared (which you can hear above) includes Ferry’s analysis of Deng.

Danny Ferry Hawks

As you can tell, it sounds like Ferry is speaking extemporaneously and adding personal commentary, even though he may be using some notes/profiles on a player as a guidance. When Ferry says Deng “has some African in him,” one voice even cautions that that’s the type of racist statement that could end up on TMZ the way Donald Sterling’s comments did.

As examples to show what he meant about having “some African in him,” Ferry said Deng could be the kind of guy who’s a lawyer in the locker room when the coach is not around and model citizen when the coaches are around, or the type of guy who would be a source for a newspaper report and then deny he made the comments. He also described Deng as someone who was “good for the culture but not a culture setter” while playing for the Bulls.

The comments reflect extremely poorly upon Ferry. He could have very easily have made his point by describing Deng as “two-faced,” but instead chose to make a racist remark. I have to imagine some more public discipline will be coming for Ferry now that this audio has been released.

I still think the minority owner behind the Ferry audio and Bruce Levenson email is seeking power rather than racial justice, but there’s little doubt the two men incriminated themselves.

Danny Ferry on Luol Deng: He has African in him, would sell you counterfeit stuff

Danny Ferry Hawks

Danny Ferry looked like he was going to escape the Atlanta Hawks scandal without losing his job, but now that might not be the case.

On Sunday, word came through that Hawks majority owner Bruce Levenson would be selling his stake in the team after a 2012 internal email he sent was shared with the league. In the email, Levenson talked in open terms about the demographics of the Hawks’ fan base and how to make the product appeal to more white fans.

We learned early on Monday that the investigation into the team came as a result of some comments Ferry made about Luol Deng while discussing free agents with some of the team’s owners. It was originally reported that Ferry said Deng had “some African in him.”

Now WSBTV in Atlanta provides more details about Ferry’s analysis of Deng. This comes via an email Hawks minority owner J. Michael Gearon, Jr. sent in a June 12 email to Levenson.

With respect to one potential free agent, a highly-regarded African-American player and humanitarian, Ferry talked about the player’s good points, and then on to describe his negatives, stating that “he has a little African in him. Not in a bad way, but he’s like a guy who would have a nice store out front but sell you counterfeit stuff out the back.” Ferry completed the racial slur by describing the player (and impliedly, all persons of African descent) as a two-faced liar and cheat.

You can read the full text of the email at this PDF link.

In the email, Gearon called for Ferry to lose his job. Ferry was only subjected to an undisclosed punishment by the team and nothing from the league. The team defended him by saying he was only repeating what was written about Deng in a scouting report and not sharing a personal, racist opinion.

If there is enough backlash in response to this letter getting released, Ferry might be pushed out.

It sure seems to me that a minority owner or two really wants control of the team and has decided to go about it in this way. I don’t think their motivations were innocent.

Luol Deng scouting report sparked Hawks investigation

Luol DengA racist remark about then-free agent Luol Deng led to an investigation of the Atlanta Hawks which resulted in the determination that owner Bruce Levenson would be selling his stake in the team, a report says.

According to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Hawks GM Danny Ferry made a comment about Deng’s cultural background during a conference call with the team’s owners to discuss potential free agent signings.

“He’s still a young guy overall,” Ferry said on the call, according to Woj. “He’s a good guy overall. But he’s not perfect. He’s got some African in him. And I don’t say that in a bad way.”

Apparently that comment from Ferry was said on a call with seven of the team’s owners. One of the owners was concerned enough by that comment that he hired a firm to conduct an independent investigation into the organization. That’s how the now-infamous email from Levenson was discovered.

Ferry reached out to Deng and the player’s agent on Monday to apologize for the comments.

Deng had interest from the Hawks but signed with the Miami Heat.

The NBA and other Hawks owners decided it would be best for Levenson to sell his share in the team. That announcement was made on Sunday.

My initial suspicion when I heard the story on Sunday was that one of the other owners leaked the email because he wanted to push out Levenson. Whether that was motivated by concerns about Levenson’s character or other reasons, that owner got his way.

Cavaliers could put off Luol Deng contract talks to try to sign LeBron James

LeBron-James-Free-AgencyThe Cleveland Cavaliers recently acquired Luol Deng in a trade with the Chicago Bulls, and you would assume they envision the 28-year-old remaining with the team for several years. Deng is scheduled to become a free agent after the season, but the Cavs may hold off on negotiating with him until they figure out where they stand with a more familiar impending free agent — LeBron James.

LeBron can opt out of his current contract with the Miami Heat after the season. The Cavs have yet to discuss a contract extension with Deng, and he understands why LeBron might stand in the way.

“He’s a great player, why wouldn’t you look at him?” Deng told Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. “If he wants to come back home, that’s great for him and great for this organization. He’s a great player. Why not?

“I’m all right with that. I’m here to do what I can do and be Luol Deng. I don’t really worry about it. I don’t have the mindset that I can control what everyone else thinks. I just do what I can do and try to be the best at what I do.”

Of course, the Cavs could never publicly admit that they intend to pursue King James. Since LeBron is under contract with another team, that would be a violation of the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement. Team owner Dan Gilbert wrote a nasty letter to the fans ripping LeBron after he left, but we all know he would gladly welcome him back.

“I really think for Cleveland that LeBron knows the way he left, and he apologized for it already,” Deng said. “…And at the end of the day, he is a great basketball player and I think for him to come back to Cleveland is not only a great story, but you can’t hold grudges forever.”

As Spears pointed out, it would not be impossible for the Cavs to sign LeBron and extend Deng. However, Deng turned down a three-year, $30 million extension from the Bulls before he was traded. He will obviously be looking for a hefty contract. If LeBron opts out, he will become priority No. 1 for Cleveland. The same will be true for every other team in the NBA.

Luol Deng traded to Cavs for Andrew Bynum, three picks

Luol DengLess than 12 hours after we told you the Chicago Bulls were looking to trade Luol Deng, the team dealt the forward.

The Bulls on Monday evening traded Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Andrew Bynum and three picks. The Bulls don’t want Bynum to play for them; they’re acquiring him for financial relief. They get to waive Bynum before his $12 million guarantee (per his contract terms) kick in and won’t have to pay him anything. Bynum will likely become a free agent and be available for any team to sign him.

The Bulls will receive a draft pick the Cavs acquired from the Sacramento Kings (it could be a first-round pick; the terms of this pick are very detailed), and the Portland Trail Blazers’ 2015 and 2016 second-round picks acquired by Cleveland in a 2013 draft night trade. They also have the right to swap first-round picks with the Cavs.

Full terms of the trade are below, as explained in a press release by the Cavs:

In exchange for Deng, the Cavs send Chicago Bynum, Cleveland’s right to the Sacramento King’s first round draft pick conveyed in a June 30, 2011 deal, the right for Chicago to swap its own 2015 first round draft pick with the Cavs own 2015 first round draft pick (only in the case that the Cleveland 2015 first round draft pick is between 15 and 30) and the Portland Trail Blazer’s 2015 and 2016 second round draft picks acquired from the Trail Blazers via a 2013 draft night trade.

Eye on Basketball’s Matt Moore also shared the info on the Sacramento Kings’ protected pick the Bulls are receiving.

Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Deng turned down a 3-year, $30 million extension offer from Chicago, which led to him being traded. He’ll probably get a lot more than that as a free agent this offseason.

The 11-23 Cavs are obviously looking to put a much better product on the court, and Deng will help them do that. The Bulls are going into rebuilding mode, which is probably the smart thing to do given Derrick Rose’s health. They are likely to amnesty Carlos Boozer in the offseason.

News of the trade was first reported by Real GM’s Shams Charania.

Report: Bulls looking to trade Luol Deng, will amnesty Carlos Boozer

Luol Deng Carlos BoozerDerrick Rose may soon become one unhappy Chicago Bull.

Remember last month we told you that Rose was concerned that the Chicago Bulls might go through a rebuilding period? Well it sounds like that process is going to happen.

The New York Daily News’ Mitch Lawrence reported on Saturday that the Bulls are looking to trade Luol Deng and will likely amnesty Carlos Boozer.

[The Bulls will] definitely be looking to deal Luol Deng before the Feb. 20 trading deadline. Deng is a free agent this summer and the Bulls don’t want to pay him anything close to top dollar. The second part of their house-cleaning: They intend on using their amnesty move this coming summer to part ways with Carlos Boozer.

There have been numerous trade rumors concerning Deng, so this should not come as a surprise. Deng is a very fine player who has consistently put up strong shooting and rebounding numbers since entering the league in 2004, so we have little doubt they’ll be able to find a trade partner for him.

Boozer is set to earn $16.8 million next season, so it sounds like the Bulls just don’t feel like he’s worth paying the money to, either. Boozer has been dealing with a knee injury lately.

The Bulls’ plan to rebuild rather than pay big money to these veterans next season (or beyond) makes sense. Back-to-back knee injuries to Rose have completely changed their plan longterm. If they don’t know if Rose will play like an MVP — or be able to play at all — why keep an expensive surrounding cast around him when they can acquire other assets instead?

Chest bump to Eye on Basketball

Luol Deng tweets support for Bulls from his hospital bed (Picture)

Luol-Deng-hospital-bed

The Chicago Bulls somehow continue to win games despite their plethora of significant injuries. Already without the 2011 NBA MVP in Derrick Rose, Chicago is also missing Luol Deng. The big man was suffering from flu-like symptoms before Game 6 against the Brooklyn Nets and has not been able to suit up since because of complications stemming from a spinal tap he underwent to test for viral meningitis.

On Monday night, Deng watched the Bulls take a 1-0 series lead of the Miami Heat from his hospital bed. He shared the photo you see above along with the following tweet:

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