Days after it was revealed that Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry made racially charged comments about new Heat forward Luol Deng before Deng became a free agent this summer, additional comments made by Ferry about Deng came to light Thursday.
In a June 6 audio recording that was obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Ferry said of Deng: “He’s a good guy overall, but he’s not perfect. He’s got some African in him. I don’t say that in a negative way.
“He’s a guy who would have a nice store out front that’s beautiful and great, but he may be selling some counterfeit stuff behind you. For example, he can come out and be the unnamed source for a story, and two weeks later say ‘that’s absolutely not me’ and ‘can’t believe somebody said that,’ but talking to reporters, you know it’s him…
“He could be a lawyer in the locker room when the coach is not around, but when the coach is around could be the greatest guy in the world … In Chicago, they will tell you he was a good guy for their culture but not a culture-setter. He played hard and all those things, but he was very worried about his bobblehead being the last one given away that year, or there is not enough stuff of him in the team store. He’s a little bit of a complex guy.”
Ferry has said he was merely reading comments about Deng that were in a scouting report, but it’s unclear from the audio recording whether any of the opinions interjected were Ferry’s.
During the meeting, a Hawks official — identified by Yahoo as part-owner Michael Gearon Jr. — said “Oh my God, that comment sounds like [Donald] Sterling” and wondered whether the comments might end up on TMZ.
The Hawks made a two-year, $20 million offer to Deng, according to Yahoo. But he opted instead to take essentially the same offer from the Heat.