The Atlanta Hawks will move on without the general manager that helped build last year’s 60-win team, league sources confirmed to Yahoo! Sports.
When the NBA approves the sale of the Hawks to a new ownership group in the coming days, general manager Danny Ferry will be relieved of his duties, the report said. Head coach Mike Budenholzer will add the title of team president, and Wes Wilcox will be named the new GM, according to NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski.
This news isn’t all that surprising, but it finalizes a decision that has been rumored for weeks. Ferry has been exiled since news broke in September about racial jokes he made in a closed-doors meeting. Those comments were caught on audio, and Ferry was no longer a part of front-office decisions after the news broke.
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But while Wilcox served as the interim GM, there was no doubt that Ferry’s fingerprints were on the team that had its most successful season in franchise history. He helped make many of the decisions that brought this team to the top of the Eastern Conference, and some even argued that he should have been named the NBA’s Executive of the Year, despite being exiled for the entire season.
Back in September, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he felt the Hawks’ punishment of Ferry was enough and hoped he wouldn’t be fired for his comments, and several black NBA players defended Ferry, including former teammate Billy King. In the end, however, the new ownership group decided it wasn’t worth the possible controversy to bring Ferry back.
Now, Budenholzer will assume a much larger role with the franchise, which is a big investment for the Hawks. Sure, his success has been rapid and changed the trajectory of the entire organization, but the ownership is essentially handing over the keys to Coach Bud and hoping he continues the upswing that this franchise saw in 2014-15.
It isn’t easy to run day-to-day operations on the court and make key decisions in the front office, but Budenholzer will now be expected to do both.
Just two weeks into the offseason, the Hawks have made several big changes to the team’s image, and free agency has yet to begin. The team announced a new logo and officially changed the franchise’s name to “The Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club.”
Photo: AP/Johnny Crawford