MONDAY, 2:07pm: As Ferry weighs the next move for the Hawks, Drew and his coaching staff in Atlanta have begun exploring other employment opportunities, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. Spears hears from one source close to the staff who believes there's a "slim chance" Drew and his coaches will be retained.
SATURDAY, 7:50pm: Earlier this afternoon, we briefly heard that the Hawks planned to hold off on decisions regarding personnel (including the head coach) for a few days. According to an ESPN report (via the Associated Press), Hawks GM Danny Ferry went on record saying that he isn't ready to make a decision on whether he'll retain Larry Drew beyond this season:
"We're going to take some time, give it some distance, give it some space from the season, from the playoffs, from the emotions of that...Then we'll make decisions that we feel are best in the short-term and long-term interests of the team."
Drew - recently rumored to be interested in the 76ers' head coaching vacancy - has compiled a 128-102 record in three seasons as Atlanta's head coach. After the Hawks were dealt their second consecutive first-round playoff exit this year, Drew gave credit to his team's overall performance this season considering that many on the team's roster are headed for free agency. He also said that he's not sure about whether or not his future involves a continued tenure in Atlanta:
"I thought we had a really good season given what our circumstances were. They weren't the best...Whether I'm back here or not, I don't know. The one thing I will say is I've had a great run here."
Considering that the Hawks only have three players guaranteed to be under contract next season, I'd be surprised if Ferry didn't make a decision on the head coaching situation soon, especially before scouring free agency this summer and determining the players who would be a good fit.
Ken Berger of CBS Sports described the difficulty for the Hawks to find the type of assets they want in exchange for Josh Smith, and GM Danny Ferry has been firm in telling other teams that he's not willing to take back future salary. Atlanta has prioritized draft picks and young players in exchange for their star forward, though other teams have been insistent on including some long-term deals as part of their offers.
The Nets are one interested team that would be hard-pressed to complete a trade before Thursday, as the current CBA would prohibit a luxury taxpayer to complete a sign-and-trade in the offseason. With Brooklyn set to be around $4MM above the tax line this summer, the only way they could acquire Smith after this season would be to significantly shed salary first. Here's more out of Berger's column tonight:
The latest news from around the NBA on Friday evening:
Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao received as good a vote of confidence as one can get from head coach Byron Scott, who called the Brazilian big man "the best center in the NBA right now." Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio writes that Varejao's statistical production makes Scott's statement a difficult one to disagree with, also mentioning that some fans have wondered if Cleveland should take advantage of his value and trade him. With that being said, Amico asserts that Cavaliers brass currently has no intention of dealing their most tenured veteran. For the rest of tonight's tidbits from the Eastern Conference, you can find them below:
Hawks GM Danny Ferry attempted to defuse rumors that he would like to bring fired Lakers coach Mike Brown aboard to replace Larry Drew after Drew's contract is up at the end of the season, saying that he's committed to working with his current coach, as Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
"Mike is a good friend and I have great respect for him as a coach but I am fully engaged with Larry and our partnership," the GM said. "I have enjoyed our process together so far and think we are building a positive foundation."
Brown was coach of the Cavs when Ferry was GM in Cleveland, and the team's parting of ways with Brown in 2010 was the main reason behind Ferry's departure from the Cavs two weeks later, as Vivlamore points out. Drew declined comment on Brown's firing Friday. The Hawks exercised their 2012/13 option on Drew's contract before Ferry took over as GM this summer, though Ferry reportedly agreed with the team's decision to do so.
New Hawks GM Danny Ferry recently spoke to Charles Bethea of Grantland and held forth on several topics, including the Dwight Howard trade. Ferry says he never got close to a deal for the superstar big man because Magic were unwilling to trade him within the Southeast Division, though Zach Lowe of SI.com tweets that it isn't necessarily true. The entire Q-and-A is worth a read, but we'll run down a few highlights here:
On joining the Hawks and his relationship with co-owner Bruce Levenson:
I looked at it as a challenge. But once I spent time with ownership, with Bruce, specifically — a lot of time, a lot of deep questioning and thoughts back and forth — I got the sense that: One, he was committed to do this right. And he understands that things needed to change, on his behalf, and on ownership’s behalf, to help make that happen. There was a sense of humility from him: that we can do better than what we’ve done. And I felt like he was gonna empower someone to come in and do that. On top of that, I like the man: He seemed like a pretty good guy. Him being from the D.C. area, me being from the D.C. area. From a background standpoint everything was really positive.
On trading Joe Johnson to the Nets:
"We started talking about it June 26th, and we agreed on things July 3rd. I think it was a win-win for both teams. They got a good player who’d help keep around Deron Williams. It was a hard deal for us. But, at the end, we had a good making-the-playoff run, but we hadn’t had a good playoff run, if that makes sense. And the goal is to have a good playoff run. That was going to be hard to sustain, with how we were set up."
On the ability to attract Howard and other stars scheduled to hit free agency soon:
"I can’t talk specifically about Dwight Howard, with him being a free agent next year, for one. And two, who’s to say he won’t (come here)? But it’s a hard thing to get players to leave where they are, more than anything else. This is a place guys like to play. You see them settle in the offseason here. If we start doing things in an even better way, build a better program and a better model here, then it will be more attractive. We have to make an investment in the team infrastructure."
The Hawks have officially hired Danny Ferry as the team's new president of basketball operations and general manager, the team announced today in a press release. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports first reported yesterday that Atlanta had offered Ferry the job, with Chris Broussard of ESPN.com adding that the offer was for six years."Over the past nine years Danny Ferry has earned tremendous respect as a front office executive in the NBA," said Hawks partner Bruce Levenson in a statement. "His philosophy, character, and commitment to creating enduring and successful organizations exemplify exactly what we are looking for in a leader of the Atlanta Hawks. Danny’s systematic and value driven approach has helped him become one of the preeminent minds in basketball. He is passionate about building an organization the right way, knows how to win and knows how to forge winning teams. We look forward to having him as our leader of basketball operations."
Ferry takes over for Rick Sund, who had served as Atlanta's GM since May of 2008. Sund's contract was set to expire at the end of the month, and it's not clear exactly what his future holds -- he could remain with the team in a consulting role or opt to retire, but there may be other opportunties available for him across the league. ESPN.com's Marc Stein tweeted last night that the 76ers are interested in Sund as a potential successor for Rod Thorn.
Ferry, who previously served as a general manager in Cleveland, had been working in the Spurs' front office as the vice president of basketball operations.
The majority of our Danny Ferry rumors in recent weeks have seen him linked to the 76ers, as Rod Thorn's successor. However, Philadelphia isn't the only team with interest in the Spurs executive, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN.com. Broussard reports that the Hawks have been in touch with Ferry about becoming the team's new general manager.The Hawks' current GM, Rick Sund, will see his contract expire at the end of June, and isn't interested in returning to Atlanta in his current role, says Broussard, adding that if Ferry or another exec takes over as GM, Sund could remain in the front office as a consultant. Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal Constituion confirms (via Twitter) that Sund is likely to be back in some capacity.
Like Ferry, Sund has also been cited as a potential candidate to take over for Thorn in the Sixers' front office. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported last week that Ferry was viewed as the frontrunner for the Philadelphia position. However, the Hawks' position would give the former Cavs GM more power and autonomy than he'd have with the Sixers, given Doug Collins' presence.
With just 10 days until the NBA draft, a couple teams are still seeking a general manager, and will be looking to get their new hire in place in time for the draft and free agency. Last we heard on the Clippers' search, former Nuggets and Nets GM Kiki Vandeweghe was considered the frontrunner. Meanwhile, Orlando has narrowed its search to three candidates, with the Magic considering Dennis Lindsey, Rob Hennigan, and Jeff Bower. Here's the latest on the league's GM hunts, with any new updates added to the top of the page throughout the day:
It was just earlier this morning that we heard the 76ers had begun to interview candidates to replace Rod Thorn as the team's president and GM. Now, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that there's already a favorite for the job. According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Danny Ferry is considered the frontrunner to replace Thorn in Philadelphia.The Sixers met over the weekend with Ferry, who currently works in the Spurs' front office, says Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Sixers coach Doug Collins is pushing Ferry's candidacy, and the likelihood of the former Cavaliers GM landing the job could depend on how much power ownership wants to give Collins, tweets Wojnarowski.
Bob Cooney's report earlier today named Dennis Lindsey of the Spurs, Rick Sund of the Hawks, Troy Weaver of the Thunder, John Hammond of the Bucks, and former Hornets GM Jeff Bower as other potential candidates to replace Thorn. According to Cooney, the Sixers aren't necessarily trying to push Thorn out of his position in the near future, but with his contract entering its last year, the team wants to start a process that could take some time.