This offseason won’t be remembered for anything the Hawks did to upgrade their roster, but instead the gloom of the racially charged comments from controlling owner Bruce Levenson and GM Danny Ferry will be the enduring sentiment. It’s been a busy week in Atlanta, and if you want a recap you can check out the previous updates for Monday; Tuesday; Wednesday; Thursday; and Friday. We’ll track today’s developments here, and any additional updates will be added to the top.
- In a subscription-only interview, an anonymous scout tells Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel that they’ve never seen the kind of racial stereotyping that was present in the Deng report. “I’ve never seen that before, not in a negative way,” the veteran scout said. “You might say a typical ‘European’ player, but ‘African’ has its own special connotation. It’s not neutral, and then there were the subsequent comments. I think it’s exceptionally rare. I’ve read hundreds, thousands of scouting reports. At draft time you see all the reports, and this simply does not ring a bell about a racial component. You’re always evaluating character. What’s rare is connecting character to racial stuff. That’s what was so troubling about this.”
- The scout tells Winderman that he doesn’t expect Deng’s reputation around the league to suffer from the leaked report. “All I know is one of their coaches was just ecstatic about him, coaching him,” the scout said. “The coaching staff was big on him and I think that’s more than just the fact that he was a good player. I haven’t heard anything negative. All I’ve heard is positive from their coaching staff.”
- The scout confirmed that rigorous personality scouting is considered fair game for player scouting, even to the extent of hiring a private investigator.
- Team CEO Steve Koonin released a letter apologizing for the recent incidents within the organization and acknowledged that the team’s management has let fans down. USA Today Sports’ For The Win is hosting an image of the entire piece.
- Carmelo Anthony believes the scandal will have a negative impact on the Hawks, as Tim Bontemps of the New York Post details. “[There] ain’t nobody [who] would want to go there,” said ‘Melo. “As a player, as an athlete, we’re looking for a job, we’re trying to find a place where we can move our family, we can make our family comfortable, where we can be comfortable in a comfortable environment, but those comments right there, we would never look at. I’m speaking on behalf of all athletes. We would never look at a situation like that, I don’t care what it is.“
- With Ferry taking an indefinite leave of absence, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Justin Termine of CineSport discuss his future with the franchise (video link).
- Ferry’s worst mistake, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, was that he didn’t take ownership of his comments, regardless of if he was reading them aloud, or they were his altogether. Being in charge of the franchise makes Ferry accountable for them either way, opines Wojnarowski.
- The Hawks face a number of challenges on and off the court in rebuilding their franchise’s image, writes Charles Odum of USA Today.
- Aside from the racial component, the nature of the scouting report in question covered rumors and judgments regarding Luol Deng’s character, and a widespread league scouting emphasis that targets players’ private lives and personalities, writes Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. Executives and scouts tell Berger that the “dirty work” focus in scouting came about in the early 2000s, as information on college players with ever-shorter amateur careers became more scarce. Berger says that the tendencies of NBA scouts to seek information from ball boys, teammates, friends, and other non-official team sources has been mirrored by NBA reporters in seeking inside information. Berger also wonders whether African scouts will be comfortable working with Ferry if he returns to his post, but was unable to reach any for comment.
- The embarrassing dysfunction from the Hawks franchise is nothing new, Sean Deveney of the Sporting News writes, and he recounts a string of botched ownership transfers in recent decades.
- Mark Bradley of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution thinks that Ferry’s decision to take a leave of absence has increased the GM’s odds of keeping his job in the long run.
Cray Allred contributed to this post.