Daniel John Willard "Danny" Ferry (born October 17, 1966) is the General Manager of the Atlanta Hawks and a retired American professional basketball player. He is also the former Vice President of Basketball Operations for the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Considered one of the best high school basketball athletes in the country from the class of 1985, Danny Ferry was Parade Magazine's prep Player of the Year and one of the most highly recruited high school seniors in the nation before committing to Duke University. Known for his superb outside shooting, strong rebounding abilities and full-court vision while in college,
Drafted into the NBA in 1989 as the second overall pick in the draft, Ferry would go on to spend the majority of his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers where he became the team's all-time leader in games played (723 games) until Žydrūnas Ilgauskas surpassed his record on December 2, 2009. Danny Ferry is ranked among the top 50 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) men's basketball players of all-time as well as one of Duke's top basketball players in the school's history.
After college, the Los Angeles Clippers drafted Ferry in the first round (second overall pick) of the 1989 NBA Draft; he did not want to play with the Clippers, and Ferry soon afterwards accepted an offer to play for the Italian league's Il Messaggero (now Virtus Roma) instead. Ferry made a name for himself overseas as he averaged 23 points and six rebounds per game during the 1989–90 season, leading the Italian club into the playoffs. The Clippers traded Ferry's rights on November 16, 1989, along with Reggie Williams to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for high-scoring guardRon Harper, two first-round draft picks and a second-round pick.
The Cavaliers signed Ferry to a 10-year guaranteed contract. He had a decent career in Cleveland, but he never became the type of star the Cavs were hoping for based on his outstanding play for Duke. His best season in Cleveland came in 1995–96, when he averaged 13.3 ppg. He had only one other season in which he averaged double figures.
Ferry signed on to work at the middle management level in the Spurs' front office shortly after retiring as a player from 2003–2005. On June 27, 2005 the Cleveland Cavaliers signed Danny Ferry to a 5-year contract worth close to $10 million dollars as their eighth general manager. Ferry began his management tenure with the Cavaliers overseeing a series of less than optimal transactions. Nonetheless the team flourished with superstar LeBron James and newly installed head coach Mike Brown at the helm as the team made a series of serious postseason runs beginning in 2006. Ferry, Brown and Cavaliers' majority owner Dan Gilbert began to add talent and depth to the Cavs' roster, notably acquiring one-time All-StarguardMo Williams, former All-Star centerShaquille O'Neal, starting shooting guardAnthony Parker, Leon Powe, former All-Star Antawn Jamison and re-signing veteran center Žydrūnas Ilgauskas between 2008–2010. The personnel shuffling paid off in the 2008–09 season when Cleveland not only won its first Central Division title since 1976 but also, for the first time ever, finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference as well as the league overall. In the 2009–10 season Cleveland repeated these feats, with the NBA's best record for the second consecutive season.
On June 4, 2010, it was announced that Ferry and the Cavaliers had come to a mutual agreement to part ways. Ferry had one month left on his contract. The Cavaliers went 272-138 under Ferry.
In late August, he returned to the Spurs as the Vice President of Basketball Operations.
On June 25, 2012, he accepted a position as the President of Basketball Operations and General Manager for the Atlanta Hawks.
In June 2014, Ferry "read aloud verbatim an 'offensive and racist' comment written in a scouting report" during a conference call about Miami Heat player Luol Deng. Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. called for him to resign or be dismissed. On September 9, Hawks' CEO, Steve Koonin, announced that they had decided not to dismiss Ferry and that they were instead going to discipline him. A few days later, Ferry asked to take -- and was approved for -- an immediate, indefinite leave of absence from his duties.