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Waiting for a Ferry
After being picked second in the 1989 draft by the Clippers; after playing a season in Italy in order to force L.A. to unload him; after being acquired by the Cavaliers, who swapped guard Ron Harper, two first-round draft choices and a second-rounder to get him; and after signing a deal with the Cavs potentially worth, with incentives, $34 million over 10 years, Danny Fern' entered his rookie year saddled with great expectations. Thus far, the 6'10" Ferry has labored under those expectations, averaging 8.6 points (on 44.7% shooting) and 3.0 rebounds in 19.9 minutes per game. He has often appeared a step slow, indecisive on offense and prone to fouls on defense.
"I think it's been real tough for Danny," says Celtics guard Brian Shaw, who was Ferry's teammate on Il Messaggero Roma last season. "Over in Italy, he was being compared to me, and I had already played one year in the NBA. Now he's back here, and everyone forgets he's a rookie. He was compared to Larry Bird when he first came into the league. I can tell you from playing in Boston, those are really big shoes to fill."
Few people in the NBA are ready to write Ferry off, though few are sure he's worth his high price tag, either. "I think he's improved some," says Indiana coach Bob Hill. "[But] he's going to constantly play under the shadow of all that money, and I don't know if he'll ever live up to it." Adds Atlanta assistant coach Kevin Loughery, "Danny is one of those kids who is very critical of himself, and that's hurt his confidence sometimes. I really thought he would be an outstanding player in this league; I thought he would be big time. Now, it may not happen because confidence can be destroyed very easily in the NBA."
Because he had been dividing his time among all three frontcourt positions, Ferry had trouble getting one role down pat, although he has been playing mostly at power forward recently. He has also been bothered by tendinitis in the left knee. The Cavalier coaching staff has broken down reels of film for him to study, and Ferry says his teammates have been extremely encouraging, even if the Cleveland fans have not been. "I think I'm starting to understand the game—where I can get my shot, how to read the offenses, the opportunities off the double team, the defensive rotations," Ferry says. "But it's been a roller coaster. I'll have a stretch of good games, then some bad games. It's been a year of small steps for me. This summer I'll know what I need to work on so I can make a big step next year."
Moe has a contract settlement that pays him about $200,000 a year for the next 10 years, plus a new Cadillac each of the next three years and $10,000 annually for country club fees. He says it will take a huge offer—"about a million a year"—to lure him back as a head coach.
First, a comeback would mean he would have to fly again, which he dreads. Second, a return would interrupt his childhood dream. "The day I got fired, I thought of spring training," he says. An ardent baseball fan, Moe arrived in Phoenix last week with some grandiose plans to go to a different spring training camp each day. When told that a lot of baseball fans probably envy him, Moe said, "Hell, I envy me."