Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports uncovered the recording of the meeting in which Hawks GM Danny Ferry made his fateful remarks about Luol Deng. We’ll pass along the revelations from that story amid the latest news surrounding the Hawks controversy, with any additional updates throughout the day at the top:
- Commissioner Adam Silver cited Ferry’s otherwise upstanding track record in telling USA Today’s Sam Amick that he doesn’t think the Hawks should fire Ferry. “It’s a question of context,” Silver said in part. “… These words, in this context, understanding the full story here, the existence of the scouting report, the fact that he was looking at the scouting report as a reference when he was making these remarks, what I’m saying is – and frankly my opinion — is that this is a team decision in terms of what the appropriate discipline is for their employee. But if I’m being asked my view, I’m saying that, based on what I know about the circumstances, I don’t think it’s a terminable offense.”
- Ferry read more statements in the meeting that impugned Deng’s character, as Wojnarowski transcribes. “… For example, he can come out and be an unnamed source for a story and two days later come out and say, ‘That absolutely was not me. I can’t believe someone said that,”‘ Ferry said on the recording. “But talking to reporters, you know they can [believe it].”
- Ferry’s report also brought up concerns about Deng’s focus, Wojnarowski reveals. “… Good guy in Chicago,” as Ferry is heard saying. “They will tell you he was good for their culture, but not a culture setter. He played hard and all those things, but he was very worried about his bobble-head being the last one given away that year, or there was not enough stuff of him in the [team] store … kind of a complex guy.”
- Wojnarowski suggests that the remarks Ferry made on the recording were his own, and not words he read from a report, as Ferry has claimed. However, that’s merely based on Wojnarowski’s own observation.
- Co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. had sought Ferry’s ouster even before Ferry’s racially charged remarks in June that sparked the controversy, Wojnarowski writes. Gearon made an immediate audible reaction to Ferry’s comments about Deng, comparing them to the inflammatory remarks that led to Donald Sterling’s exit from the Clippers, as the Yahoo! scribe notes. An email Gearon sent in reaction to the one with racial overtones that prompted outgoing controlling owner Bruce Levenson to sell the team was more matter-of-fact, and it didn’t entail the sort of dramatic reaction that Gearon had to Ferry’s comments, Wojnarowski shows.
- The league office is “livid” with Gearon, Wojnarowski writes, though the precise reason for that anger isn’t entirely clear.
- The Hawks offered Deng a two-year, $20MM deal and a one-year, $10MM arrangement, and Ferry was the team’s greatest supporter for signing him, Wojnarowski hears. The salaries Atlanta offered are similar to the ones Deng will receive on his contract with the Heat.
- Ferry has his boosters around the league, but many find him distant and unsympathetic and find it difficult to work with the Hawks front office, according to Wojnarowski.
- The conversation covered many free agent targets, including Carmelo Anthony. Ferry said that Anthony “can shoot the [expletive] out of it, but he screws you up in other ways,” as Wojnarowski transcribes, though Ferry also saw value in giving him a lucrative deal.
- At least one civil rights leader expressed frustration when the Hawks called off a meeting that was set for today with civil rights leaders in Atlanta, Charles Odumap of The Associated Press reports. The Hawks called the meeting a “priority” and indicated their intention to reschedule in a press release today.