Mike Budenholzer and former Hawks GM Danny Ferry are close, but Budenholzer encouraged Ferry to resign in September 2014 so that the Hawks could more easily put their racism scandal behind them before the opening of training camp last season, report Kevin Arnovitz and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. Their piece goes deep into the downfall of Ferry, who instead went on a leave of absence that extended until he took a buyout this past summer, and the team’s previous ownership group, one that had lost money each year since it purchased the franchise in 2004, Arnovitz and Windhorst reveal. Former controlling owner Bruce Levenson had nonetheless structured a long-term deal for Ferry when he hired the executive, one that other GMs called the “Golden Ticket” for its favorability to the former Spurs and Cavs executive, Arnovitz and Windhorst write. Prominent co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. opposed that deal and never saw eye-to-eye with Ferry, who upset him on several occasions, such as when Ferry had harsh words for former coach Larry Drew, according to Arnovitz and Windhorst.
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- Gearon didn’t initially take issue with the tenor of Levenson’s racially charged 2012 email — the one that ultimately led to his decision to sell the team, as Arnovitz and Windhorst detail in the same piece. Gearon instead put pressure on Levenson when the email again came up amid an internal investigation that Ferry’s racial comments touched off, and when a reporter was coming close to breaking the story of the scandal, Levenson decided to take a proactive step and announce his intention to sell, the ESPN scribes recount. Levenson remained a fan of Ferry and nearly brought him back before the sale took place, but the team’s renaissance worked against that, as Levenson decided too much was going right to risk disruption.
- Goran Dragic is wistful about no longer playing with his brother, but he re-signed with the Heat without assurances they would keep Zoran Dragic and was on board when the team traded him, as he explains to Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post. “I was sad, of course,” Goran said of the trade. “I know how much he wants to be part of a team in the NBA, but I understand this is a business. That’s a better situation for him right now. He’s gonna get playing time. He signed a good deal in Russia. He’s happy. That’s a good thing. Sometimes, for me, when you play with your brother, sometimes it’s a little bit stressful because if he’s not getting playing time, it affects you too. But everything’s good now.”
- Jaleel Roberts didn’t think he would end up in training camp with the Wizards after he failed to wow them with his summer league performance, but he’s grateful for the opportunity after an overseas offer didn’t pan out as he expected it to, writes J. Michael of CSNWashington.com.