Report: Nets interested in Danny Ferry

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Bryan Colangelo has company as a reported candidate for the Nets’ next general manager.

Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:

As Mikhail Prokhorov tries to resurrect his franchise, the word from league sources in and around the Nets is that the owner wants to hire a GM before the coach. Prokhorov has said himself that he’d prefer his coach and GM as separate people.

That doesn’t preclude John Calipari, who could act as president of basketball operations and coach while having a GM as a colleague. However, league sources outside of the direct search told the Daily News that they expect the Nets to look at two other experienced candidates for GM — Danny Ferry and Bryan Colangelo.

“Everything being reported about a top candidate or whatever is not true, it can’t be true,” the source said.

Notice the wording: “league sources outside of the direct search … expect.” That leaves plenty of room for people without direct knowledge to speculate. You don’t need inside knowledge to expect the Nets to look into Ferry, who built the Hawks into a winner. Ultimately, I doubt Bondy would cite sources not qualified for at least informed speculation – but his wording leaves open the door for this not to mean much.

Ferry is a logical candidate anywhere based on his roster-building track record, both in Atlanta and Cleveland. He holds particular ties to Brooklyn. Ferry’s dad, Bob Ferry, scouts for the Nets. Ferry is also close with former Brooklyn general manager Billy King, who may or may not play a role in the search for his replacement.

But Ferry also brings baggage after his time with the Hawks.

Atlanta bought out Ferry after he said of Luol Deng, “He’s a good guy overall, but he’s got some African in him, and I don’t say that in a bad way other than he’s a guy that may be making side deals behind you, if that makes sense. He has a storefront out front that’s beautiful and great, but he may be selling some counterfeit stuff behind you.”

There are mixed reports about Ferry’s level of contrition in the aftermath. He hasn’t spoken much publicly since – which is totally fine.

But if I were considering hiring him, I’d have significant questions about his handling of race in the workplace. Whether or not Ferry is racist, he said something racist at his job. He was neither reading verbatim from a scouting report nor did he stop to acknowledge his paraphrasing was inappropriate. He damaged the relationship between the Hawks and the Atlanta community.

Does Ferry understand why he crossed a line? Has he reflected on whether the work environment he created lent itself to that comment being made? What has he learned from that episode?

I wouldn’t rule out hiring Ferry due to the Deng incident, though it gives me major reservations. If Ferry checks the Nets’ other boxes, though, he at least deserves a chance to explain himself.