Report: With tensions high, Budenholzer urged Danny Ferry to step down

Without Danny Ferry, Mike Budenholzer might not have been named head coach of the Hawks. But in the end, even Budenholzer couldn't save his boss.
Daniel Shirey-USA Today Sports/Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Despite their recent on-court success, the Atlanta Hawks haven't been a model of stability as a franchise over the past 18 months. And in a wide-ranging report by ESPN.com, the tensions that existed among ownership and former general manager Danny Ferry have finally come to light.

According to the report, there were frustrations and hurt feelings in the Atlanta front office long before Ferry made his racially charged comments about free agent wing Luol Deng. Much of the disagreement stemmed from Ferry's desire to completely transform the Hawks into a Spurs-esque organization, a move resisted by then-Hawks minority owner Michael Gearon Jr.

If you're interested in the minutiae and inner-office workings, they're all detailed in the above link. But one detail in particular strikes a somewhat odd note. As the pressure mounted on Ferry, it was one of his employees, head coach Mike Budenholzer, who encouraged him to step down as general manager:

ESPN reports that while Ferry stepped away from the organization, participating in sensitivity training while under an indefinite leave of absence, he had hoped to rejoin the Hawks and make his case to remain as general manager under new ownership. But he never got that chance, as former majority owner Bruce Levenson chose not to upset what became one of Atlanta's most successful NBA seasons.

Budenholzer very much owed his job to Ferry. His former Spurs colleague had pleaded with Levenson that the Gregg Popovich assistant was the man for the position. Yet Budenholzer felt Ferry should resign, lest the Hawks be subsumed in disruption when training camp opened, and he made his wishes known in a heartfelt conversation with Ferry and Levenson at that time.MORE NEWS: Want stories delivered to you? Sign up for our NBA newsletters.