It has been an interesting offseason in Atlanta for new Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk, whose roster no longer features three of the team’s top four players in terms of minutes played. Paul Millsap departed in free agency, Dwight Howard was traded, and the Hawks opted not to match a pricey offer sheet for Tim Hardaway.
It’s clearly a retooling period for the Hawks, but Schlenk is averse to calling it a full-fledged rebuild. He touched on that topic and several other items of note during a conversation with Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, so let’s dive in and round up a few highlights from the Q&A…
On whether the Hawks are rebuilding and where they stand now:
“We don’t want to concede to losing. I think a lot of times that what the term rebuilding means, you are conceding to losing. We don’t want to do that. We want to be competitive every night. The term I like to use, we are investing in the future. We have young guys. We have probably five more first-round picks over the next two years to add to this group. We are investing in our future. The young guys we have, we want to keep developing them. We want to keep our flexibility, collect assets, build the guys we have. Investing in the future. The end goal is to be able a team able to compete for a championship. We didn’t feel like maintaining where we were – where you go 60, 48, 43 (wins). We have to start going up again.”
On Millsap’s departure and why the Hawks didn’t make a stronger effort to bring him back:
“We were in contact with his representation throughout the whole process. We knew he was going to get a very good deal. Where we are as a franchise and the path we are on, it just didn’t make sense for us at this time.
“Like I’ve maintained from the beginning, our goal is to maintain our flexibility. Get good guys on good contracts. Going into free agency, we weren’t going to be out of the gates early. We are going to take our time and let everything play out. That’s what we’ve done as we sit on [July] 10th and we’ve signed one guy.”
On what the Hawks still plan to add in free agency:
“We’ll sign a third point guard. We are deciding to we get a veteran guy or do we get a young guy that we think has upside. Do we bring in a couple guys and let them battle it out? We are going to sign a power forward for sure. We’ll sign a center for sure. Probably sign three more big guys so we end up with six.”
“I think Alpha will go back to Mega Leks or another team in Europe. I haven’t really talked to his agent but I expect he’ll go back there. Cordinier has expressed a desire to play in Erie (with Atlanta’s G League team). We’ve talked to his agent a little bit. We aren’t really sure if he’ll go back but he’s expressed a desire to maybe do that. We’ll figure all that out in the next month.”