Seems only fair, right? After all, that's whatFerry did to both the Clippers and the Cavaliers.
With the second overall pick of the 1989 NBA Draft
, the Los Angeles Clippers selected Danny Ferry.
Ferry had just finished a distinguished collegiate career at Duke University, during which he led the Blue Devils to the Final Four in 1986, 1988 and 1989. During his senior season at Duke, Ferry averaged 22.6 PPG, 7.4 RPG and 4.7 APG while shooting 52 percent from the field and 42 percent from three-point range. His gaudy statistics earned him a Shaqload of honors, including the Naismith College Player of the Year award, USBWA College Player of the Year (Oscar Robertson Trophy) award, and UPI Player of the Year award.
Due to his all-around skill set -- Danny became the first player in ACC history to amass 2,000+ points, 1,000+ rebounds and 500+ assists during his college career -- Ferry was tagged as The Next Larry Bird, which made him a no-brainer lottery pick.
And nobody does "no brains" quite like the Clippers.
So The Other L.A. Team went ahead and chose Ferry ahead of guys like Sean Elliot, Glen Rice, Tim Hardaway, Shawn Kemp, B.J. Armstrong, Vlade Divac, Cliff Robinson, etc. (Of course, it could have been worse. The Kings used the number one overall pick on Pervis "Out of Service" Ellison. Sorry, chris.)
There was only one problem: Ferry flat out refused to play for the Clippers.
Seriously, the Clips didn't have a chance. Ferry bolted for Europe and signed with the Italian league's Il Messaggero
(later renamed Virtus Roma), leaving the Clippers' front office dumbstruck...as usual.
Of course, in retrospect, being rejected by Danny Ferry should make the (admittedly short) list of Great Moments in Clippers History, right behind Elton Brand leaving for Philadelphia.
Anyway, Italy was good to Ferry. He was bigger than the Beatles there. The people loved that pasty white dude. During his one-season stay in Europe's Boot, Ferry put up strong numbers (23 PPG and 6 RPG) and led Il Messaggero into the playoffs.
But the siren song of the NBA was still ringing in Ferry's ears. On November 16, 1989, the Cleveland Cavaliers obtained Ferry's draft rights (and Reggie Williams) in exchange for...
...get ready for it...
...Ron Harper (who was their leading scorer
), two first-round draft picks and a second round draft pick. Believe it or not, it gets worse. The Cavs then signed Ferry to a 10-year guaranteed contract worth almost $40 million. Do yourself a favor and don't translate that into 2010 dollars, unless you want to spend the rest of your life hating your miserable life.
It would be ridiculously generous to say Ferry was a bust. During his rookie season, he wasn't exactly The Next Larry Bird. He wasn't a poor man's Larry Bird either. Hell, he wasn't even a homeless man's Larry Bird. Ferry was more of, let's say, a dead man's Larry Bird. He averaged 8.6 PPG, 3.5 RPG and 1.8 APG while shooting only 42 percent from the field and 29 percent on treys.
Ferry seemed lost on offense (Offensive Rating = 98) and overwhelmed on defense (Defensive Rating 110). The next season, he got hurt and actually regressed as a player (5.1 PPG, 40 percent shooting). The absolute apex of his career was during the 1995-96 season when he set career highs in MPG (32.7), PPG (13.3) and RPG (3.8). Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, Danny would never again put up such lofty numbers. And Cleveland was stuck with him, because every other NBA team recoiled from Ferry trade offers like the Cavs were trying to hand them a pile of rotting meat crawling with maggots.
After a full decade of horror, the Cavaliers let Ferry walk away in free agency. They probably would have chased him away with torches and pitchforks if they hadn't been choking on their own tears of hate and regret.
Stunningly, Ferry's career wasn't over. The Spurs signed him to a three-year deal that netted him another $6.5 million and a shot at glory. In all fairness, Ferry was a deadeye shooter off the bench for the Spurs. During the 2000-01 season -- his first in San Antonio -- Ferry ranked fifth in the league in three-point percentage (.449). The next season, he hit 43 percent of his threes (although he played only 50 games).
However, his last season with the Spurs was by far the worst of Ferry's career. He played only 9.4 MPG, averaging a mere 1.9 PPG on 35 percent shooting from both the field and downtown. His Offensive Rating was 90, his Defensive Rating was 104 (and remember that the Spurs were one of the best defensive teams of that era), and his Player Efficiency Rating was 5.1.
But his craptastic regular season had nothing on his postseason
crawl. During the 2003 NBA Playoffs, Ferry appeared in 16 games, logging 101 minutes and providing averages of 1.3 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 28% FGP (8-for-28) and 28% 3P% (4-for-14). He also had a team-low PER of 2.7. Rumor has it that when John Hollinger heard about this, he declared Ferry legally deceased.
In those 16 postseason games, Ferry went scoreless 12 times, assist-less 11 times, and rebound-less nine times. By the time the Spurs were in the NBA Finals against the New Jersey Nets -- easily the worst team San Antonio faced in he playoffs that year -- Gregg Popovich had lost whatever confidence he'd had in Ferry. To wit: Ferry appeared in only half of San Antonio's six Finals games
, putting up three one trillions
That's right: Danny Ferry averaged a trillion
for the Finals. That was his entire contribution to the cause. (Make that non-contribution...a great, great moment in lacktion history.) But the Spurs won anyway and, just like that, Ferry was an (kill me) NBA champion.
Ferry's playing career was over, but he wasn't done screwing over bad teams. On June 27, 2005, he signed a five-year, $10 million deal to become the general manager of...the Cleveland Cavaliers. That means the Cavaliers ended up paying Ferry almost $50 million over 15 years. Twice! He fleeced them twice!
And remember: It was Ferry who assembled, disassembled and reassembled the various rosters that weren't quite good enough to help LeBron James win it all. Seriously, almost every deal Ferry made felt like an "OMG!! WE CAN'T LOSE LEBRON!!"-style panic move. Now LeBron is in Miami and Ferry left the Cavaliers after what I'm assuming was a not-so-gentle push out the door. Again.
But he has a ring.
Labels: Danny Ferry, Worst NBA Champions