Danny Ferry Explains Why He Was Attracted to the Hawks

June 26, 2012 – 9:45 am by Chris Fedor

After yet another postseason run that ended too early, the Hawks decided to make some changes this offseason. How drastic the changes become will be up to the new general manager and President of Basketball Operations, Danny Ferry. On one hand the Hawks have consistently made playoff trips with their core of Joe Johnson, Josh Smith and Al Horford. On the other hand, they have been stuck in neutral with no real shot at an NBA Championship, which is the worst place an NBA franchise can be. Ferry has been successful everywhere he has gone and the Hawks are hoping that he can take Atlanta to that next level but it may not happen until he decides to break up Atlanta’s underachieving core.

Danny Ferry joined WCNN in Atlanta with John Kincade to talk about what a team run by Danny Ferry is built on, what he has learned in Cleveland and San Antonio that he can bring to Atlanta, why he was attracted to the Hawks, what he makes of the team that he has taken over, if he pays attention to the way the Eastern Conference is structured when making decisions on what to do with the Hawks roster and whether he has talked with Head Coach Larry Drew.

What a team run by Danny Ferry is built on:

“The approach we will have coming in is a values driven approach. Having players that are unselfish, skilled, hard working, character, team minded and a systematic approach to how we play on the court but also off the court, meaning how we do things in the draft, how we do things in free agency and so on. Being systematic and progressive with those things. Building with the right people. This is obviously a sport but the people part is important.”

What he has learned in Cleveland and San Antonio that he can bring to Atlanta:

“I’ve had great lessons my whole life. I grew up in this game first of all. My father played professionally and was a general manager for 20 years, I played for 14 years total professional, worked in the Spurs office for two years and then went and did my own thing in Cleveland and then back to San Antonio again. I’ve had a really rich experience the last nine years in particular working in the front office. The years in Cleveland were wonderful and we had great success, we had the best record in the league the last couple of years, we went to the Finals and I really gained a lot of positive experience in that regard. Then stepping aside and going back to San Antonio and looking at things from that perspective again was really healthy for me and really made me look at how we did things in Cleveland, I added some of those things to the Spurs program and I learned some more things from the Spurs program again. I’m looking forward to bringing that here and building a group of people and working with a group of people that will really put the Hawks in the best position to succeed.”

Why he decided to take the job with the Hawks:

“What attracted me to the Hawks and the prospect of leaving San Antonio was I was in a place, a tremendous organization and I had great relationships there but I was struck by Bruce Levinson’s humble approach to their past and his passion and dedication to do things in the future the right way. That was critical for me and that’s where it all started. My conversations with him over the past few weeks had nothing to do with what players were on the roster but were we going to be able to build a program that he was willing to invest in that did things from an analytical standpoint, a medical standpoint from each domain that an organization has, were we going to be willing to do it the right way? When I got those assurances and gained a trust level and generally liked Bruce then I was ready. I’m excited to be here, there’s a lot of work to be done, anxious to get after it and go from here.”

What he thinks of the Hawks roster right now and the success they have had lately:

“I think I really have to sit down and look at this whole thing. Clearly this group has done a good job. From 10,000 feet and living in San Antonio you certainly look at the job that Rick Sund’s done here the last few years and he’s done a good job. I don’t think he is satisfied and I don’t think Bruce Levinson is satisfied. I don’t think Larry (Drew) is satisfied so now let’s look at the options out there, see what they are, maybe the best thing is to keep this group together based off the options that are available or maybe the right thing to do is to make some changes. I think we have to look at all the different roadmaps that are out there and ultimately make the best decision for the Hawks and how they go forward for this year but also put themselves in a position to have sustainable success.”

How the structure of the Eastern Conference right now is going to affect his decisions with the Hawks roster:

“That’s certainly part of the decision making process and one of the factors in this but it’s also what opportunities are out there. As the leader of the organization I have to make sure that we are trying to uncover every stone to see what opportunities are out there. It could be again not the opportunities that we think make us better in the short term or the long term and therefore we move forward with the group that we have. It’s a good group, it’s a group that can certainly proceed as a team that could be knocking on the door. We will dig into that soon as far as what the opportunity and options are out there and go from there.”

Whether he has spoken with Larry Drew since taking over:

“Absolutely. I sat down with Larry yesterday and I sat down with him again today. We will spend a lot of time together coming up here to look at all the options that are available to the team and I look forward to getting to know him as a person first and foremost.”

Listen to Danny Ferry on WCNN in Atlanta here

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