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Atlanta Hawks Ownership, Front Office Questions Will Determine Off-Season Direction


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Atlanta Hawks ownership, front office questions will determine off-season direction

By Brad Rowland @BTRowland on Jun 2, 2015, 9:24a 7

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Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks have a big off-season coming, but two question marks hold the keys to the team's immediate direction.

The Atlanta Hawks are under new management.

If you've been asleep for the better part of 45 days, the Hawks have been sold to a new ownership group that includes Tony Ressler, Sara Blakely and former NBA All-Star Grant Hill. That, of course, means that the Atlanta Spirit Group is no more, and that fans of the team are freed from the tyranny of previous management.

In another twist, the franchise is still without a general manager. Yes, Mike Budenholzer has been functioning as the team's leader in player personnel and assistant GM Wes Wilcox has been prominently involved, but to this point, there has been no closure on the Danny Ferry situation, leaving some questions about who will head up basketball operations moving forward.

Why, you ask, am I recapping this for you?

Free agency is coming.

There has already been plenty of talk about the futures of DeMarre Carroll and Paul Millsap, with both players entering unrestricted free agency after soundly outperforming their previous contract in Atlanta. Each forward is due for a substantial raise (which is an understatement with regard to Carroll), and many amateur salary cap "experts" have been pining for a way for the Hawks to keep both while simultaneously improving the roster elsewhere.

However, there are two snags in any of that thinking, and they come in the form of the aforementioned new ownership and the questions surrounding the front office in general.

Will Tony Ressler and his crew be willing to spend money in a way that the ASG never would?

Optimists (myself included) are banking on this fact, but even if Ressler, Blakely and company have deep pockets, there is no certainty that they will be willing to join the NBA's elite with regard to spending, especially if that comes with the sharp cost of crossing the luxury tax threshold. In the short term, this may not be an incredible burden on the 2015 off-season, but decision-makers must be armed with future knowledge of the cap sheet, and if Carroll and Millsap are retained, it will greatly affect flexibility moving forward, especially if there is a mandate to avoid the tax.

Who is making the basketball decisions?

Regardless of who is making the choices, money is always a factor, but will there be a new general manager in place before the NBA Draft? Is Danny Ferry gone for good?

It would be disingenuous for me to speculate on either question, given that I have no inside information at this time, but Mike Budenholzer and Wes Wilcox are certainly the "face" of basketball operations. Knowing who has the final say would certainly matter a great deal with regard to both the draft and free agency, especially given Budenholzer's intense familiarity with both Millsap and Carroll.

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The Atlanta Hawks are in fantastic shape. The salary cap sheet is clean to the point where there isn't a single bad contract on the roster, the team holds the 15th overall pick in a reasonably deep draft, and the NBA's Coach of the Year is in place to lead the way on the floor. Still, there is a great deal of uncertainty for a team that just won 60 games, and until questions are answered with regard to ownership (and even their full-fledged arrival) and basketball operations, speculation as to specifics for the summer can only be classified as educated guessing.

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Well just heard about this fellas and wanted to share for those of you who hadn't heard.

Report: New owner likely to bring in new GM

  • Nick Borges

The Atlanta Hawks will soon have a new owner and that likely means a general manager Danny Ferry should finally be replaced. From Mark Bradley of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

  • "Trouble is, Danny Ferry isn’t just a GM. He’s the best GM the Hawks have ever had. Counting his time in Cleveland, he has assembled three 60-win teams, and his built-to-suit-LeBron Cavaliers couldn’t have been different from his all-for-one Hawks. There’s great sentiment among fans to bring him back, and I would have no argument if that happened. But I don’t think it will. Nor do I believe Mike Budenholzer, who serves as the interim GM, will be made the permanent GM. He’s a coach by trade, and a good one. (The NBA’s 2015 coach of the year, if you hadn’t heard.) But the jobs are too different for one man to do both well. Even Gregg Popovich, Budenholzer’s mentor, had to cede GM duties to the capable R.C. Buford, and Popovich had been San Antonio’s general manager before he became its coach. So: What should/will the Hawks do? In today’s AJC, the guess was that they’d hire someone from outside who isn’t as good as Ferry."
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Mike Budenholzer's contract should be Priority No. 1 for new Atlanta Hawks ownership

By Kris Willis @Kris_Willis on Jun 3, 2015, 9:02a 7

The Atlanta Hawks will soon have new owners and they will have to hit the ground running with several important decisions to make that will shape the franchise's future.

Once new ownership is in place for the Atlanta Hawks they are going to have a full plate with many decisions that will have to be made quickly. Obviously the situation surrounding embattled General Manager Danny Ferry will have to be rectified, but they have an equally important situation with head coach Mike Budenholzer.

Next season is the final year of Budenholzer's initial three-year deal that he signed with Atlanta. Reports indicate that his salary is in the neighborhood of $2 million per season. Given his success and the added responsibilities of running basketball operations this season, Budenholzer is due a big raise going forward.

A great example would be the new five-year, $25 million contract given to former Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg by the Chicago Bulls. If Hoiberg is worth $5 million per season, then what is a proven coach like Budenholzer's worth?

The Hawks don't need to wait around to find out. Since arriving in Atlanta, Budenholzer has helped remake the culture surrounding the Hawks. He assembled a high-level coaching staff with a renewed interest in player development. When last summer's controversy forced Ferry away from the team, it was Budenholzer who took over the lead of Basketball operations.

On the court, Budenholzer led the Hawks to 60 wins in 2015 and to the team's first Eastern Conference Finals appearance since moving to Atlanta. In two seasons with Atlanta, he has 98 wins which is the 10th most in franchise history for a coach. His .598 winning percentage is better than anyone who has coached at least 150 games.

Budenholzer's status should be priority No. 1 for the new ownership group. There is no way that the Hawks can afford to let Budenholzer begin the season without a new deal. Teams around the league have taken notice of Atlanta's success and Budenholzer would have no shortage of suitors should he hit the open market at the end of next season.

While the 2015 season ended in disappointing fashion for the Hawks, it can't be understated the amount of progress that the franchise has made in Budenholzer's two seasons on the bench. The momentum is there and the challenge this offseason is to carry that into next season. Nailing down a long term extension with Budenholzer is the first step in doing that.

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Report: Hawks pending sale

  • Nick Borges

The Atlanta Spirit agreed to sell the Atlanta Hawks back in April and in less than three weeks the team will officially have new owners. From Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

  • "The sale of the Atlanta Hawks to a group led by billionaire Tony Ressler is scheduled to be completed on June 24, a person familiar with the negotiations told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. An agreement to purchase the Hawks and Philips Arena from the group known as the Atlanta Spirit has been in place since April 22. The sales process was expected to take 4-6 weeks to complete and will be official with the approval of the NBA Board of Governors. The approval can be done by conference call or electronically and is scheduled for the day before the NBA Draft. Ressler, 55, will be the clear majority owner of the franchise with a purchase price of $730 million. The group also includes seven-time NBA All-Star Grant Hill."
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Been keeping up with this, but sadly looks like Danny Ferry is gone. As I've said if this backfires this new ownership group will burn in flames worse than ASG ever did at this point.

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Been keeping up with this, but sadly looks like Danny Ferry is gone. As I've said if this backfires this new ownership group will burn in flames worse than ASG ever did at this point.

I can understand them wanting to start with a fresh slate also but hopefully they make the right decision to keep this team relevant.

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It will be a huge mistake to fire Ferry.

We don't know that just yet, but I'm on the fence basically if this next GM comes in and ****s everything up I want this new ownership gone since yesterday know what I mean.

So I'll be watching this extremely close.

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We don't know that just yet, but I'm on the fence basically if this next GM comes in and ****s everything up I want this new ownership gone since yesterday know what I mean.

So I'll be watching this extremely close.

Agreed

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We don't know that just yet, but I'm on the fence basically if this next GM comes in and ****s everything up I want this new ownership gone since yesterday know what I mean.

So I'll be watching this extremely close.

I think they are very conscious of this situation right now and I hope they are doing there research on not just Ferry but other candidates as well. Personally I say bring Ferry back and continue to build on what he has started here!!

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Exactly I'd rather Danny Ferry mess up then watch him go to say Minnesota turn them into us in 3 years, and we go completely backwards.

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All because of something he said which is now a year ago. I bet if you asked average black person. They couldn't tell you what happened. As a black man myself I was upset that day, but it wore off after like 4-6 days. Why cause one I know Df isn't a closet racist, and the players came out to defend him. Also he is not Donald Sterling either.

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Exactly I'd rather Danny Ferry mess up then watch him go to say Minnesota turn them into us in 3 years, and we go completely backwards.

Ferry has had success once. Yall need to calm down lol. He ain't the second coming of Jesus GM.

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Ferry has had success once. Yall need to calm down lol. He ain't the second coming of Jesus GM.

Hey no one saying that, but this is the best season in Atlanta History. Why fire the guy that built this up. Unless we want Rick Sunday again the Super Caretaker for another 2 or 3 years. I mean at least let him mess this **** up first. This is why some businesses go under.

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Ferry didn't make Carroll and Millsap stars. He didn't develop Dennis from terrible to a potential star. Ferry didn't turn Korver from a spot up shooter into a solid starter.

Ferry built this team. He didn't make it. Ferry pit together a bunch of average players. BUD made them stars. Yall need to relax.

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Bud is here... The next GM isn't bringing a coach in. Thats a weak argument. I'm concerned with the hawks future. Not 2 years ago.

/thread.

Watch and see a new GM ruin this team. Ferry was the mastermind behind this structure. He got players he knew would buy into Buds system.

This is a gigantic loss.

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Watch and see a new GM ruin this team. Ferry was the mastermind behind this structure. He got players he knew would buy into Buds system.

This is a gigantic loss.

Oh please. The way yall talk about ferry, you must think he's the best GM in the NBA.

Then why has he failed everywhere else??

The only player bud hasn't been able to do something with was one of Ferrys draft picks. So how exactly are we going to be ruined?

Are we gonna sign a middling veteran and a below average cheap guy? Cause that's exactly what Ferry did and look what bud managed to do with them...

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Oh please. The way yall talk about ferry, you must think he's the best GM in the NBA.

Then why has he failed everywhere else??

The only player bud hasn't been able to do something with was one of Ferrys draft picks. So how exactly are we going to be ruined?

Are we gonna sign a middling veteran and a below average cheap guy? Cause that's exactly what Ferry did and look what bud managed to do with them...

/purple Bro. Got you. :lol:

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You know why GMs never get famous? Cause they aren't that important lol.

RC buford. Known by. 0001% if the population.

It's all about the coaches.

Maybe so, but the thing about Cleveland days you can leave that alone we know Lebron was pretty much, and still is today.

Judge/Jury/Executioner on that team literally even the Owner he literally runs that team? What coach? What GM? What Owner?

That's what DF problem was in Cleveland. I'm almost 95% certain when Lebron was first there he was handpicking those guys and everything.

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Maybe so, but the thing about Cleveland days you can leave that alone we know Lebron was pretty much, and still is today.

Judge/Jury/Executioner on that team literally even the Owner he literally runs that team? What coach? What GM? What Owner?

That's what DF problem was in Cleveland. I'm almost 95% certain when Lebron was first there he was handpicking those guys and everything.

You must not remember the guys LeBron was playing with in Cleveland haha.

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