Danny Ferry is getting the final shot among candidates to prove his worthiness to the New Orleans Pelicans.
Ferry, the team’s interim GM, is meeting with the franchise on Tuesday about the position, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
New Orleans interim GM Danny Ferry is meeting with franchise officials today about the permanent GM job, league sources tell ESPN. Ferry is the final interview among several candidates, including David Griffin, Larry Harris, Trajan Langdon, Gersson Rosas and Tommy Sheppard.
Woj says other candidates who have interviewed for the job include David Griffin, Larry Harris, Trajan Langdon, Gersson Rosas and Tommy Sheppard.
Any candidate who takes over the team will be tasked with trying to find the best available trade for Anthony Davis this summer, as well as with trying to draft well.
Ferry, 52, has history as a Hawks and Cavaliers GM. He has been working with the Pelicans since 2016, though only became the interim GM two months ago. His comments about Luol Deng contributed to his ousting in Atlanta.
Ferry will be tasked with trying to improve a 26-33 Pelicans team that is at odds with its star player. Anthony Davis demanded a trade prior to the deadline but was not dealt, resulting in an awkward situation for the team. Their biggest tasks will be to find the best trade return for Davis, as well as nail the draft.
After nearly three decades of hanging in the rafters at Duke, Danny Ferry’s No. 35 jersey is coming out of retirement for star freshman Marvin Bagley III. Now Ferry is explaining why he offered his blessing.
“[Associate head coach] Jeff Capel and I had talked about it a while ago, at which time I offered and said I was totally fine with it at some point if they needed to use one of the retired jerseys,” said Ferry. “I’m very proud my jersey will still be hanging in Cameron, but I’m most attached to what is best for Duke and the basketball program.
“Speaking pragmatically, with so many retired jerseys and the great tradition that hopefully continues, this was going to be an issue going forward for the school at some level,” Ferry continued. “For it being a high-quality player and a high-character kid, it certainly makes decisions like this easy.”
Ferry, who went to a lengthy NBA career and a three-year stint as Atlanta Hawks GM, was one of the more storied players in Duke basketball history. A four-year guy, Ferry was a two-time ACC Player of the Year and a two-time All-American selection as well as Naismith College Player of the Year in 1989.
Tucker notes that the Blue Devils have retired 13 jersey numbers in the history of the program, but this is the first time ever that a number has been brought out of retirement. Nevertheless, with how drastically Bagley’s commitment has improved Duke’s title odds, it makes sense for him to be the trailblazer.
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.
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.
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.
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.