What was previously an inevitability is now a done deal. Hawks GM Danny Ferry has been on an indefinite leave of absence since August, when recordings surfaced of his racially insensitive remarks about free agent forward Luol Deng during a scouting meeting. He’s been laying low since then, with head coach Mike Budenholzer handling player personnel decisions. It was only a matter of time before Ferry found himself out in Atlanta.
According to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Hawks management and Ferry agreed to a buyout of his contract:
A buyout of Danny Ferry’s contract with the Atlanta Hawks was reached and approved Friday by the team’s board of managers, according to two people with knowledge of the negotiations. It will end the tenure of the general manager after he spent the past season on an indefinite leave of absence following racially insensitive remarks he made last June.
Ferry’s bizarre comments about Deng centered around his Sudanese heritage, making the inference that, as an African, he was likely to “sell counterfeit goods out of the back of the shop.” Whatever that means. Ferry claimed he was reading off a scouting report given to him by Deng’s former team, the Cavaliers, but a leaked audio recording of the meeting was fairly damning.
Ferry is very good at his job — he was the chief architect of the 60-win Hawks team that made the first Eastern Conference Finals appearance in franchise history. But it was absolutely the right move for the Hawks to remove him from the organization in light of his comments.