Danny Ferry and the Atlanta Hawks have settled on a buyout, but was it amicable or was Ferry prepared to make things uncomfortable to the ASG and the new ownership group?
In the recent ESPN story, a letter has been produced that clears Danny Ferry from being racially biased in the Luol Deng situation.
Another part of that story indicates that it was at the behest of Ferry, as he is set to be bought out from the final three seasons of his contract, that this letter from Alston and Bird was generated. (bold emphasis mine)
A settlement to buy Ferry out of the remaining three years of his contract and a formalization of his departure was approved by the Hawks' board of managers Friday, with the Atlanta-based limited partners dissenting. The letter from Taylor was written as a condition of the settlement. Ferry had requested a statement to that effect in September.
It makes sense that Ferry would want such a letter moving forward. It might be hard for Ferry, given the toxic nature of the gross excuse for a scouting report that Ferry read aloud regarding Deng, to get a similar post for another franchise, given that there will be many players who will having trouble putting behind them what Ferry spoke.
So having a letter like this, which goes to great lengths to exonerate Ferry, should make that sell to his next franchise a little smoother.
But what if the Hawks hadn't produced this? The statement that it was a condition of the settlement points toward one final dramatic moment in the sordid history of the Atlanta Spirit Group.
Ferry had the leverage as both the former and future ownership groups likely wanted the soon-to-be-former GM moving on as the team changed hands. Having Ferry on hand or his status looming was a dark cloud in which only the most acidic of rain could possible fall as time, and Ferry's status, remained unresolved.
Knowing this, Ferry could ask that he be publicly exonerated regarding his intent and racial perspective. But given the animus between some in the Atlanta part of the ASG, such a letter may not have been a slam dunk to produce. As it was, Ferry asked for a similar public statement last September, but none emerged. Ferry, though, could have kicked up a lot of dirt and made the sale and transition a lot more messy, especially if Ferry decided to be public in questioning his status.
Ferry needed something firm clearing his name and used the franchise's desire to eradicate him from The Highlight Factory to get that something firm, in the form of the letter from Alston and Bird.
With the existence and content of that letter now leaked/public, Ferry now has a clearer path to new employment and the team can move on, with Wes Wilcox and Mike Budenholzer firmly holding the cards that Ferry folded last summer.