The New Orleans Pelicans have hired Danny Ferry as a special adviser to the team’s basketball operations staff. Good for them, and good for him.
We needn’t recount the events that led to Ferry’s undoing as the Atlanta Hawks’ general manager. The belief here is that the fallout from the unfortunate characterization of Luol Deng that Ferry read aloud on a conference call could/should have been managed by the Hawks in a way that would have allowed Ferry to remain in place. But some of those in charge froze, and those who owned the club took to bickering, as was the case with that ownership group.
Long sad story short: The best GM the Hawks have ever had was forced out. New ownership didn’t want its first act to be an explanation of the guy who had said/read of Deng: “He’s got some African in him.” That was understandable on new ownership’s part. It was also a mistake.
Were Ferry still here, I’d feel a lot better about the Hawks’ future. He built the team that would win 60 games last season, and the personnel moves since Ferry took his leave of absence on Sept. 12, 2014, have left much to be desired. But he’s not here. He admitted his error, did his penance and took his buyout.
As for those who might say, “He’s a racist” … well, he’s actually one of the few people in this world who has a legal document saying he’s not. The Hawks’ in-house investigation, as conducted by the law firm Alston and Bird, absolved Ferry of any racial bias. He has a letter to that effect bearing Alston and Bird’s imprint in his possession. He insisted on it before accepting the buyout. Danny Ferry is no fool.