Jeff Schultz blog 

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Hawks finally get honest, Ferry takes leave

  • 4:41 pm Friday, September 12th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Danny Ferry is taking an indefinite leave from the Hawks. (AP)

The Hawks finally got honest about something Friday: It wasn’t going to work.

It doesn’t matter what side of the debate you were on about Danny Ferry’s remarks or the (latest) continental divide in team ownership. Ferry couldn’t function as a general manager. His image had been tarnished. He had become toxic. He couldn’t operate in an organization where the managing owner who had his back (Bruce Levenson) was exiting in shame and the next most powerful partner (Michael Gearon Jr.) wanted him out.

The Hawks didn’t fire Ferry, nor did he resign. For now, the team’s general manager is in relative [More]

Hawks giving lessons in how not to contain fire

  • 4:05 pm Friday, September 12th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Raise your hand if you thought Bruce Levenson's exit was going to end the Hawks' problems. Anybody? (AJC photo)

This was earlier post before the announcement of Danny Ferry’s leave of absence. For the updated post that include elements of this one, please click here or go to

Some day they are going to study this entire ugly chapter in Atlanta Hawks history in public relations schools. The professor will stand in front of the class, clear his throat, maybe take some Dramamine, and tell his students, “This is what a grease fire looks like.”

The Hawks’ situation isn’t getting better. It’s just getting more stupid.

The last chapter in, “How not to run a PR campaign and make yourself [More]

Silver: Ferry’s words not ‘terminable offense’ (UPDATED)

  • 9:35 pm Wednesday, September 10th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
NBA commissioner Adam Silver mandated Donald Sterling's exit over racist comments. (Peter Foley/Bloomberg)

NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Hall of Famer Magic Johnson apparently don’t view Danny Ferry’s inflammatory comments about Luol Deng through the same colored lenses.

Johnson made it clear Tuesday that he wants Ferry out, typing four messages on Twitter (all listed below) that included: “Atlanta Hawks GM Danny Ferry should step down after making racist statements about NBA player Luol Deng.”

But Silver said Wednesday he does not believe Ferry’s inflammatory comments about Deng — which were either read from a background report or ad-libbed, we can’t be certain — do not constitute a fireable offense. “The discipline of a [More]

Hawks’ Ferry wants to stay but can’t survive this (updated)

  • 7:29 am Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Danny Ferry is under fire for derogatory comments about former free agent Luol Deng. (Curtis Compton, AJC)


Danny Ferry has done an admirable job in his two seasons as Hawks general manager. He implemented a plan, cleaned out the wreckage and made some smart personnel acquisitions that sent the team in the right direction.

But it will be stunning if Ferry’s days with the Hawks continue much longer.

In the latest of a dizzying series of events that began Sunday with owner Bruce Levenson’s disclosure of a racially charged email now comes news that co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. has been demanding Ferry’s exit since June. The reason, [More]

Levenson, Kareem miss point about Atlanta

  • 12:02 pm Monday, September 8th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says Bruce Levenson is a businessman, not a racist. (AP photo)

There were more than 70,000 fans in the Georgia Dome for Sunday’s game between the Falcons and New Orleans Saints. I didn’t stop to do an actual breakdown by race but I can verify that there were a high percentage of blacks in attendance, and, shockingly, that didn’t seem to stop panicked suburban whites from venturing inside the Perimeter to go to the game.

What a relief. For a moment there, I thought maybe Bruce Levenson was right about why white fans weren’t attending Atlanta Hawks games.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the Atlanta sports market — and most [More]

LeBron, Carmelo opt out: Hawks an option? (Updated)

  • 10:12 am Tuesday, June 24th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
LeBron James reportedly will opt out of his contract with Miami. What next? (AP)

(Updated below with link to full column on MyAJC.)

We have known for a few days that Carmelo Anthony will opt out of his contract with the New York Knicks. He’s available.

Now we learn from his agent Rich Paul that LeBron James has told the Miami Heat that he will trigger the early termination of his contract and also hit the open market. And soon, we will hear the words, “I am taking my talents to . . .”

Marietta Street?

Should it be considered so far-fetched that the Hawks can land a high-profile free agent like James or Anthony? I know: [More]

Hawks’ assistant Snyder may get Utah job

  • 10:28 am Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Quin Snyder's last head coaching job came with Missouri. (AP photo)

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer and his staff did one of the better coaching jobs in the NBA this season. The ripple effect of that might be him losing one of his assistant coaches.

Quin Snyder, a long-time pro assistant and a former head coach at Missouri and in the NBA’s D-League, has emerged as a leading candidate for the head coaching job of the Utah Jazz.

When asked about Snyder’s candidacy Tuesday, Hawks general manager Danny Ferry responded via email, “They asked for permission to talk with him and he is a part of Utah’s continued process to fill the job there.”

Snyder [More]

Holiday 6-pack: Will Nats close on Braves?

  • 12:01 pm Monday, May 26th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
The Braves' B.J. Upton is reaching base more and striking out less. Honest. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Good morning. This is the day to celebrate our true heroes. Memorial Day began as a day to honor the soldiers who died in the Civil War but now serves to recognize all Americans who died while in the military. This isn’t a day for politics. To borrow from Mark Twain: “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”

And now, on the backside of this barbecue weekend, a six-pack of thoughts on a six-pack of teams:

1. Braves: Keep an eye on Washington

The Braves are showing signs of coming out of their offensive rut, [More]

Inaction shows Hawks care more about future than collapse

  • 11:02 am Thursday, February 20th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
The Hawks have faded lately without injured center Al Horford. (David Tullis/Associated Press)

It was back in late December when Hawks center Al Horford suffered a torn pectoral muscle, almost certainly ending his season. The team’s record then: 16-13.

Most of what has happened since has been predictable. The Hawks pulled together for several weeks in an effort to prevent the bottom from falling out of their schedule. They went 9-8 in the first 17 games without Horford. But now they’re running on fumes. They dropped five straight going into the All-Star break, and have come out of it with consecutive losses to Indiana and Washington.

This is what it looks like when a team [More]