Hawks power forward Al Horford doesn’t seem too thrilled with the idea of embattled Atlanta general manager Danny Ferry rejoining the organization.
Given a chance to support Ferry this weekend, Horford deferred to the Hawks’ future ownership group. Asked directly by the Miami Herald if he thought Ferry should be forgiven for his racially charged comments and reinstated as general manager, Horford said, “I don’t know.”
“Whichever ownership comes in, they’re going to have to figure those things out and see if he’s the best fit,” said Horford, who won back-to-back NCAA championships at the University of Florida. “Obviously, [Ferry] has laid in some really good groundwork with us, and part of the success that we’re having is because of him.”
With a record of 43-11, the Hawks are running away with the Eastern Conference at the All-Star break. Four members of the team are East All-Stars, and Mike Budenholzer coached the East All-Stars on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. Ferry was not in New York for All-Star weekend, according to Horford. On an indefinite leave of absence, the general manager is still employed by the Hawks after making controversial statements about Heat player Luol Deng during a conference call with Hawks upper management and team ownership during free agency last summer.
“I’m sure it’s difficult for him,” Horford said. “He assembled all these pieces together, and this was kind of his vision. Not even being here, but all season not being able to be around has been hard.”
Hawks majority owner Bruce Levenson, who made racially offensive comments about his fans in an email two years ago, is in the process of selling his controlling interest in the team. Levenson’s email came to light in September.
The All-Star Game featured five first-time All-Stars, including East guard Kyle Lowry, who bumped Dwyane Wade out of the starting lineup for the first time in 10 years. At 28 years old, Lowry has led the Raptors to second place in the Eastern Conference. He is averaging 18.6 points and 7.2 assists per game this season, but an All-Star media campaign led by Drake and Justin Bieber helped the diminutive Lowry carry the fan vote more than anything.
Drake, Bieber and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper stumped for Lowry using social media, which helped Lowry pass Wade in votes in the final weeks of All-Star voting. On Saturday, Lowry called it an honor to knock Wade out of the starting lineup.
“The fans voted, and with respect to D-Wade, it’s an honor because the guy has been doing it so many times, so it’s crazy,” Lowry said. “I’m still in shock to knock a guy out like that, but people made a good push for me, and it worked out.”
All-Star weekend was a chilly affair, and temperatures were near zero on Sunday night.
The weather didn’t seem to detract from the festivities, though, and players enjoyed a weekend filled with parties in New York. Heat owner Micky Arison, who has no plans of bringing the All-Star Game to Miami anytime soon, noted how “FREEZING” it was on Twitter, but Wade was unimpressed. It was nothing compared to his college days.
“When I was in Milwaukee there were a couple days when I thought about never playing basketball again,” Wade said. “I didn’t want to walk to class. I was like, ‘I don’t know if this life is for me.’ This is cold, but it ain’t got nothing on Milwaukee cold.”