The Atlanta Hawks plan to promote coach Mike Budenholzer to the franchise’s ultimate basketball decision-maker, clearing the path to part ways with exiled general manager Danny Ferry, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Budenholzer will become president and head coach, partnering in the front office with Wes Wilcox, who will become the Hawks’ general manager, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The Hawks’ new ownership group, led by Tony Ressler, cannot negotiate those agreements until the NBA’s Board of Governors approves the sale to Ressler at a meeting on June 24 in New York. Once Ressler’s group – which includes Rick Schnall, Sara Blakely and Jesse Itzler – takes over, its first order of business will be to negotiate contracts with Budenholzer and Wilcox, league sources said.
Budenholzer was the NBA’s coach of the year in 2014-15, leading the Hawks to a 60-22 record and the Eastern Conference finals. With Ferry, Wilcox was instrumental in constructing an innovative roster that achieved at a high level despite still staying several million dollars below the salary cap. Wilcox has been a front office executive under Ferry with the Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers.
After Ferry’s part in a racially insensitive audio tape born out of a staff conference call surfaced publicly in September, the Hawks moved him into a paid leave of absence that lasted through the season. An internal Hawks investigation led to the NBA forcing majority owner Bruce Levenson to sell the team, and Ferry ultimately being separated from day-to-day front office duties.
Ferry will be paid the balance of the three years left on his contract, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
In his exile, Ferry has gathered support from key decision-makers around the NBA and most expect that he’ll work again soon in a front-office capacity.
Over the past several months, Ferry has impressed people inside and outside the Hawks organization with his contrition over the insensitive comments about Luol Deng from a team scouting report.
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