Team management reportedly believe that this year’s team is little more than a fringe contender after winning 60 games last season, and with Horford in the final year of his contract and likely to get a max contract that the Hawks are reluctant to offer, he would be an attractive trade chip for the team to get younger.
Teague may also be considered expendable, as Dennis Schroder has emerged as a starter-caliber player for Atlanta and Teague’s affordable contract would interest many teams.
While it makes sense for a team that may not be going anywhere to look for younger, more long-term talent, the decision is not that easy. Coach and team president Mike Budenholzer is reportedly disinclined to tear up a team less than nine months removed from appearing in the conference finals, and trading away the key players could have a negative impact on the fanbase, season ticket sales, sponsorships, and television ratings.
We had already heard that the Hawks were gauging interest in Teague, and if they don’t think they’re going anywhere, moving Horford – who sounds bound for free agency – does make sense. However, the fans would undoubtedly not be pleased, especially since this is a relatively new ownership group in charge of affairs who will want to keep the fanbase onside.
The Cleveland Cavaliers took a 59-42 lead into halftime of their blowout win over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night, and Charles Barkley was not impressed with Mike Budenholzer’s squad. We know that because he compared the Hawks to a certain breed of dog that isn’t exactly known for it’s ferocity.
During the TNT halftime show, Barkley urged the Cavs to not let up on the “chihuahuas” they were facing.
“These some chihuahuas out here from Atlanta,” Barkley said. “There’s a pit bull out there in Golden State, so you can’t take no chances.”
The Cavs took no chances, and they kept their foot on the gas en route to a 118-88 victory and an Eastern Conference Finals sweep. Between Barkley’s commentary at halftime and what J.R. Smith’s mom said after the game, we were treated to some fantastic quotes on Tuesday evening.
The last thing the Atlanta Hawks need right now is their general manager getting in the way.
Off to their best record since the days of Dominique Wilkins, the Hawks sit atop the Eastern Conference with a 43-11 record. And they’ve done it with GM Danny Ferry on a leave of absence and a big ‘For Sale’ sign outside of team headquarters.
While Ferry has not been able to enjoy his team’s success in person, count former Atlanta mayor and civil rights activist Andrew Young as one of Ferry’s supporters. Young has been a mainstay in Atlanta for over 50 years going back to his time as a close confidante of Martin Luther King Jr. When asked by WSB-TV’s Zach Klein if Ferry should lose his job, his response was unequivocal.
“Hell no. He put the guys together and they are winning. They are winning better than the Hawks have won back in the days of Lenny Wilkens and Bob Pettit.”
Ferry may have helped put the team together, but he hasn’t been around the team since taking his indefinite leave of absence in September. If it was up to Young, however, Ferry would have never left in the first place.
“Danny Ferry is too talented a guy and his life is basketball,” Young said. “He’s going to be general manager somewhere. I hope it’s Atlanta.”
While commissioner Adam Silver noted that the sale of the franchise is “moving along on course” during NBA All-Star Weekend, the timing couldn’t be worse for a Ferry return.
The Hawks, who in January became the first team ever to go 17-0 in a calendar month, need to be the center of attention. Any outside distractions could mess up their mojo and have them playing like the Hawks we’ve been used to for all these years.
Coming into Monday, the Atlanta Hawks were ninth in the NBA in scoring (103.6 ppg), 10th in field goal percentage (.455), and second in three-point percentage (.410). During the first half of the team’s game against the New York Knicks, shots weren’t falling with the same regularity. And that would be an understatement.
The Hawks led 17-16 at the end of the first quarter with Atlanta shooting 35% and the Knicks an even lower 32%. That prompted the Hawks’ Twitter account to post the following tweet.
When the two teams went to the locker room at halftime, the score was tied at 38-38. At that point, the Hawks were 12-37 (32%) from the floor and 4-14 (29%) three-point range. Perhaps not surprisingly, came this tweet.
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.
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.
A 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.
“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.
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.
Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson announced on Sunday morning that he will sell his stake in the team after the revelation of a racially-charged email he sent in 2012. Levenson and NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced the news with statements.
In the email, Levenson made several comments stereotyping African-American fans.
“Over the past several years, I’ve spent a lot of time grappling with low attendance at our games and the need for the Hawks to attract more season ticket holders and corporate sponsors,” Levenson said, via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. “Over that time, I’ve talked with team executives about the need for the Hawks to build a more diverse fan base that includes more suburban whites, and I shared my thoughts on why our efforts to bridge Atlanta’s racial sports divide seemed to be failing.
“In trying to address those issues, I wrote an email two years ago that was inappropriate and offensive. I trivialized our fans by making clichéd assumptions about their interests (i.e. hip hop vs. country, white vs. black cheerleaders, etc.) and by stereotyping their perceptions of one another (i.e. that white fans might be afraid of our black fans). By focusing on race, I also sent the unintentional and hurtful message that our white fans are more valuable than our black fans.”
Silver said the league was made aware of Levenson’s email in July and launched an investigation. Considering the revelation came just months after Donald Sterling’s racist audio recording was released, Levenson’s decision to sell his less than 50% share in the Hawks is not a surprise.
“If you’re angry about what I wrote, you should be. I’m angry at myself, too,” Levenson added. “It was inflammatory nonsense. We all may have subtle biases and preconceptions when it comes to race, but my role as a leader is to challenge them, not to validate or accommodate those who might hold them.”
You can read the full text of Levenson’s 2012 email here.
The chances of a No. 8 seed beating a No. 1 seed in the first round of the NBA playoffs are not very good. It almost never happens. Because of that, the Atlanta Hawks seem genuinely disinterested in qualifying for the postseason.
Thanks in large part to unfortunate injuries, the Hawks have gone 8-21 since the start of February. They were once a middle-of-the-pack team in the Eastern Conference, but Al Horford’s torn pectoral muscle inevitably took the wind out of Atlanta’s sail. Despite that, the Hawks are just a game behind the New York Knicks for the eighth spot in the East. General manager Danny Ferry doesn’t care.
And this isn’t one of those “we’re taking it one game at a time” type of deals. The Hawks really don’t seem to care whether they make the playoffs or their season ends in two weeks.
“Our goal is not to be the eighth seed,” Ferry added. “We’re really just focused on building our habits. I know the standings. There’s not a lot of time and energy I put into it. Getting in or not getting in, I don’t think of it that way.”
That attitude has trickled down to some of the players. Forward DeMarre Carroll basically echoed what his GM said.
“I don’t think it’d be that big of a deal,” Carroll said. “Nobody expected us to be in the top eight. Our biggest thing is, don’t worry about the playoffs. It’s about building the system.”
In other words, the Hawks don’t think they have a chance. Getting sharpshooter Kyle Korver — who admitted he keeps his eye on the standings — back should give the team a boost. He and fellow guard Lou Williams seem to care a bit more than others.
“As players, our job is to win games,” Williams said. “The playoffs come with winning games. So, yes, it’s important.”
Tony Romo was taking heat from all angles following his choke job against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Even the Atlanta Hawks’ Twitter account jabbed the Dallas Cowboys quarterback, who threw two interceptions in the final three minutes of a 37-36 loss, by sending this tweet:
That photo was from Al Horford’s game-winning shot to beat the Washington Wizards 101-99 in overtime on Friday night.
As our friend DJ Gallo said, I’m not sure why a historically mediocre franchise like the Atlanta Hawks are trolling Romo, but that’s how bad things are for the Cowboys right now. The Cowboys should respond by flashing their Super Bowl rings.
That was a reference to the strength of the conference, which has 12 of 15 teams with records of .500-or-better. The Eastern Conference only has three such teams now that the Hawks beat the Los Angeles Clippers 107-97 to get to .500 for the season.
After their win over one of the Western Conference’s top teams, the Hawks sent a tweet to the Blazers that linked to the box score from their game against the Clips:
Well played, Hawks. But I’m not so sure why the Blazers are talking this mess. It’s not like they’d beat the Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers in a playoff series anyway, so how much would it really help them to be in the East?