Atlanta Hawks

Travis Schlenk Named Hawks’ GM

May 25, 10:18am: The Hawks have officially named Schlenk as their GM, per a team press release. Schlenk will begin his duties on June 1st, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets.

May 24, 10:21am: Atlanta has decided on Schlenk and contract talks are beginning, Wojnarowski tweets.

10:13 am: Travis Schlenk has become the frontrunner for the Hawks’ GM job, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.

Schlenk, 41, has been the assistant GM with Golden State for the past five years. He has spent 12 seasons in the organization and more than 16 in the NBA. He worked as an assistant coach and a video scout for the Warriors before being promoted to his current position.

Atlanta has been without a GM since reassigning Wes Wilcox in a front-office shakeup earlier this month. Schlenk is among several candidates to interview for the position. Other candidates who have been made public include TV analysts Chauncey Billups and Brent Barry, Knicks Director of Player Personnel Mark Hughes, Rockets VP of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas, current Cavaliers GM David Griffin and former Pistons executive Joe Dumars.

Hoops Links Vol. 6: Coleman Flashbacks, Biedrins Flashbacks, More

Welcome back to Hoops Links. Here we round up some of our favorite blog content that we come across over the course of the week. As always, we’d like to encourage writers to send us their best stuff for possible inclusion in future editions. Remember, what we’re looking for is unique, entertaining material that showcases why the internet is so gosh darn fun.

Send your best pieces to HoopsRumorsTips@Sports.ws or simply yell at me on Twitter (@AustinKent). Similarly, you can flag down any Hoops Rumors staffer at a grocery store and immediately hit them up with a choreographed dance routine explaining why your Jared Dudley hot take deserves top recognition in next week’s link dump.

Note: We typically publish Hoops Links on Thursday, but next week’s edition will be published on Friday (June 2). This will be a one-time change so that we can all observe Smush Parker‘s birthday privately with our families. We’ll slide back to Thursday for Hoops Links Vol. 7 on June 8.


Ben Simmons verticalThe skill set that Ben Simmons has shown and the college numbers he produced during his one year at LSU are on par with some of the greatest of our generation. Much of his success, however, will come down to circumstance. Can the Sixers ensure that Simmons is in a situation to live up to his potential? Or, as Kwame Fisher-Jones of the 76er Files cautions, is he destined to underachieve like similarly versatile former Sixers forward Derrick Coleman?

Rating: 8 out of 10 NBA Jam Legends
Author: Kwame Fisher-Jones – @MrJonesNBA
Link: Ben Simmons’ potential


When LeBron James clanged a wide open dunk off the back of the rim in Game 4 of the CavaliersCeltics series, it robbed Kevin Love of a potential Assist of the Year. Not surprisingly, Carter Rodriguez of Fear the Sword has put the wheels in motion to file a formal petition to credit the big man with a much deserved assist anyway. What even is an assist when you think about it, man?

Rating: 9 out of 10 They Have A Points…
Author: Carter Rodriguez – @Carter_Shade
Link: Kevin Love’s outlet assist


In a world where nearly everything that takes place on a basketball court is trackable, the one thing that experts can’t seem to quantify is the impact team chemistry has on success. Brian Freeman of Blazer’s Edge explored the gaps in our understanding of team chemistry and suggests what might play a role in successful organizations capitalizing on it.

Rating: 8 out of 10 Intangibles
Author: Brian Freeman – @BrianFreeman_NBA
Link: Team chemistry in the NBA


The Warriors are the team NBA fans love to hate. Eric He of Blue Man Hoop, however, thinks that everybody needs to slow down, quit hating and actually appreciate the franchise. Given Golden State’s role in revolutionizing the league, he does have a point. Can’t we just be happy for the organization less than five years removed from giving Andris Biedrins a standing ovation for hitting a pair of free throws?

Rating: 8 out of 10 Monta Ellis Scooters
Author: Eric He – @EricHeSports
Link: Appreciating the Golden State Warriors


If Chris Bosh is able to fully part ways from the Heat and work his way back onto a basketball court, the Clippers should take a look at him as a possible reserve big man, Blake Harris of Clipperholics writes. Though his health will always be the most important consideration, Bosh could very well be a major steal for whichever club takes a chance on him.

Rating: 7 out of 10 Mo Speights Replacements
Author: Blake Harris – @BlakeHHarris
Link: Chris Bosh and the Clippers


There’s no denying that Kemba Walker has stepped up as the greatest New Generation Hornets player, but is he wasting his prime toiling away in mediocrity? For Swarm and Sting, Elijah Edwards discusses the idea of letting the point guard pursue success elsewhere if the franchise isn’t able to surround him with the help he needs to compete.

Rating: 7 out of 10 Miles Plumlee Contracts
Author: Elijah Edwards
Link: Trading Kemba Walker


Gordon Hayward verticalWhen Gordon Hayward hits free agency this summer, he’ll do so as perhaps the most coveted, reasonably attainable option on the market. Evan Dyal of Sir Charles in Charge took a good long look at the five most likely destinations for Hayward, delving beyond simply the Celtics and Jazz, two clubs regarded as frontrunners for his services.

Rating: 8 out of 10 Professional StarCraft Circuits
Author: Evan Dyal – @EvanDyal
Link: Gordon Hayward free agency


After his first year at the helm, Hawks point guard Dennis Schroder showed that he’s a worthy starter with plenty of room to grow. Thomas Jenkins of Peachtree Hoops recently broke down what might be in store for the 23-year-old, suggesting that so long as Schroder continues to develop, the club’s future looks bright.

Rating: 8 out of 10 Blonde Patches
Author: Thomas Jenkins – @TJenkins122
Link: Dennis Schroder potential


Admit it, you knew that it wouldn’t be long before the thorough analysis would come regarding whether or not the Celtics truly need Isaiah Thomas. For Nylon Calculus, Ian Levy broke down the situation, including Boston’s improbable Game 3 victory and the squad’s all-around improvement on the defensive end of the ball when Thomas is sidelined. The C’s don’t need to oust Thomas any time soon but they could afford to spare him if the right opportunity arose.

Rating: 9 out of 10 Scatter Plots
Author: Ian Levy – @HickoryHigh
Link: The Celtics without Isaiah Thomas


Don’t expect the fourth pick in the NBA Draft to turn things around for the Suns, Valley of the Suns contributor Robert Neal writes. So how does the franchise, then, figure out where to go after a tanked season gone awry? Neal explores ways the Suns can tangibly improve their roster without relying on a rookie.

Rating: 7 out of 10 #FreeChriss Campaigns
Author: Robert Neal – @RobertN4110
Link: Phoenix Suns offseason

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dwight Howard Wants To Make Atlanta Proud

Despite a strong regular season, Hawks center Dwight Howard was merely a struggling spectator for most of the team’s brief playoff run, which ended with a 4-2 series loss to the Wizards. Information in the days after the elimination revealed Howard was pulled over on the morning of Game 6, and he teased possibly leaving and joining a franchise where he’s a focal point.

In a recent interview with KL Chouinard of NBA.com, Howard expressed his desire to improve his game to benefit both himself and his hometown Hawks.

Cavs Deny Permission To Talk To Griffin

The Cavaliers did not grant GM David Griffin permission to interview for front office jobs with the Magic and Hawks, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. The Magic were interested in hiring Griffin as President of Basketball Operations and had discussions with him but were not allowed to formally interview him and ultimately decided to hire Raptors GM Jeff Weltman, Windhorst continues. The Hawks are looking for an new GM. Griffin’s contract expires at the end of July and has been negotiating with team owner Dan Gilbert, Windhorst adds.

Paul Millsap Opts Out Of Deal

Paul Millsap has opted out of his contract and will become a free agent, sources tell Shams Charania of The Vertical. Millsap previously said that this was likely to happen, so it comes as no surprise. He turned down a salary of slightly more than $21.4MM for next year.

Millsap has publicly expressed a desire to stay in Atlanta, though NBA.com’s David Aldridge recently reported that the 32-year-old may be more open to a change than he’s been leading on. Aldridge wrote that Millsap was among the team’s players who were unhappy with the team’s ” lack of accountability for other players who consistently made mistakes on the floor.” 

The power forward will be a top priority for the Hawks, Charania adds. Atlanta has openings at GM and team president after shifting Wes Wilcox to a new role and taking front office privileges away from coach Mike Budenholzer. The team will take the same strategy with Millsap regardless of who fills the openings, as he’ll negotiate directly with owner Tony Ressler as the sides discuss a new deal.

The Hawks have thrived since Millsap arrived in town. The team has gone 189-139 over the last four years and Charania notes that many around the league believe the power forward’s unselfishness has allowed the team’s system to work.

Hawks Interview Sheppard, Schlenk

  • The Hawks have interviewed Wizards VP of basketball operations, Tommy Sheppard and Warriors assistant general manager Travis Schlenk in their ongoing search for a new executive, Marc Stein of ESPN writes.

Hawks Set Interview With Chauncey Billups

The Hawks will interview TV analyst Chauncey Billups next week for their vacant GM job, tweets Chris Haynes of ESPN.com.

Billups signed a new multiyear contract with ESPN last week. He has been with the network since 2014 and became part of the lead team on “NBA Countdown” this year. He is expected to play in the Big3 league of former NBA players that will tip off next month.

A five-time All-Star during his 17-year playing career, Billups has no previous front-office experience.

Billups is among several candidates who have emerged to take over for Wes Wilcox, who was moved into a new role with the organization earlier this month. Other names that have been made public include Knicks Director of Player Personnel Mark Hughes, Rockets VP of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas, current Cavaliers GM David Griffin, former Pistons executive Joe Dumars and TV analyst Brent Barry.

A request to talk with Portland GM Neil Olshey was denied by the Trail Blazers this week.

Hawks Notes: Langdon, Draft Workouts, Offseason

The Hawks‘ list of potential general manager candidates continues to grow, with Zach Klein of Channel 2 Sports in Atlanta reporting that the club is interested in speaking with Nets executive Trajan Langdon about the opening. Langdon, who currently serves as an assistant GM in Brooklyn under Sean Marks, was identified by ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz earlier this year as a front office “prospect” to watch. However, league insiders told Arnovitz at the time that Langdon may still need a few seasons with the Nets before he becomes a legit candidate to run an NBA front office.

[RELATED: Latest on Hawks’ front office search]

Hawks Made Strong Push For Paul George At Trade Deadline

The Hawks presented the Pacers with an offer that included four first-round picks in exchange for Paul George at this season’s trade deadline, Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com reports. The scribe adds that multiple teams reached out to Indiana in an attempt to add the four-time All-Star.

Earlier today, the NBA announced it All-NBA teams and since George did not earn the honor of being named to one, he will not be eligible to sign a designated player extension this summer. He has two seasons left on his current deal, though he can opt to become a free agent next offseason.

The Lakers are confident they can sign George next summer, though the chances of him coming to L.A. could decrease if he’s dealt to a winning team. George told Indiana’s new team president Kevin Pritchard that he could see himself having a long-term future with the Pacers, but only if they are contenders. A team like Atlanta is arguably closer to contending than Indiana is.

The Hawks have all their future draft picks and they own Cleveland’s 2019 first-round selection as a result of the Kyle Korver deal and Minnesota’s 2018 selection via the Adreian Payne trade. With those extra picks in hand, Atlanta could’ve offered various combinations while still adhering to the Ted Stepien rule, which prevents teams from shedding consecutive future first-round picks.

Hoops Links Vol. 5: Shirley Temple Lies, Milkshake Theft, More

Welcome to the fifth installment of Hoops Links, where we round up our favorite content from around the NBA blogosphere and shine a light on it here. Every week we set out to feature entertaining, original content powered by the blogging community.

See your own piece plugged? Well done! Now share the love by spreading the word about Hoops Links – we’re talking favs, retweets, postcards to mom and everything in between. Help us build a bigger stage for your best work!

If you want to hit us up with a link in the future, make sure to drop me a line on Twitter (@AustinKent) or even just email HoopsRumorsTips@Sports.ws. Remember, we want to be intrigued and captivated. It also helps if the content is relatively fresh (considering we publish on Thursdays).

Without further ado…


With a roster full of young players and a negligible chance of winning a meaningful amount of ball games, the Suns made the decision with months remaining in the season to tank unabashedly. After Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery, in which Phoenix dropped from a projected No. 2 seed to the No. 4 seed, Adam Maynes of Valley of the Suns wrote a spirited column suggesting that the organization got what it deserved.

Rating: 9 out of 10 Angry Earl Watsons
Author: Adam Maynes – @Adam4America
Link: Phoenix Suns tank fail


Joel Embiid verticalWe’re all happy to buy into the quirky Joel Embiid narrative whenever the goofy big man does something like sip a Shirley Temple on live television. But what if we’re living a lie? Kyle Neubeck of Liberty Ballers revealed that the pink beverage at Embiid’s side during the Draft Lottery was little more than a prop.

Rating: 8 out of 10 Red Pills
Author: Kyle Neubeck – @KyleNeubeck
Link: Joel Embiid’s Shirley Temple prop


Are the Bulls less likely to deal Jimmy Butler to the Celtics now that Boston has landed the No. 1 pick in the draft? Vijay Vemu of Blog A Bull suggests as much, writing that Danny Ainge took a risk holding onto the pick at the deadline rather than going the safe route and dealing for an established star.

Rating: 7 out of 10 Fortunate Gambles
Author: Vijay Vemu – @VJVemu
Link: Jimmy Butler to Celtics less likely


The Hawks could have done more to involve Dwight Howard in their offense, Da’Vonte Hughes of Soaring Down South writes, suggesting that the big man had reason to be upset with how he was utilized during his first season Atlanta.

Rating: 8 out of 10 Neglected Supermen
Author: Da’Vonte Hughes – @CookieByNature
Link: Dwight Howard non-option for Hawks


Did you forget that Joel Anthony was still in the NBA? You aren’t alone. Dan Devine of Ball Don’t Lie noticed the big man’s name trending on Twitter and discovered that people all around the world were shocked to see the veteran big man suit up in the Spurs‘ blowout loss Wednesday.

Rating: 8 out of 10 Two-Time NBA Champions
Author: Dan Devine – @YourManDevine
Link: Joel Anthony trends on Twitter


There are similarities between Jimmy Butler and Stanley Johnson, including underwhelming freshman and sophomore seasons, says Luke Wolthuis of Piston Powered. Could Johnson, a well-built two-way forward, make a leap similar to that of Butler’s in Year 3?

Rating: 7 out of 10 Better Late Than Nevers
Author: Luke Wolthuis – @WolthuisLuke
Link: Stanley Johnson, Jimmy Butler comparison


Harrison Barnes verticalAlthough he may not win the award, Harrison Barnes deserves a spot in the Most Improved Player conversation, Sam Guertler of Mavs Moneyball suggests. The forward’s offensive game improved dramatically in his first year as a targeted weapon in Dallas, without any compromise in efficiency.

Rating: 8 out of 10 Additional Better Late Than Nevers
Author: Sam Guertler – @SamGuertler
Link: Harrison Barnes Most Improved Player


It takes a delicate balance of usefulness and expendability for a player to suit up for three different franchises in one season. This year, Ersan Ilyasova dressed for the Thunder, Sixers, and Hawks, and still managed to set a new career high for points in a season. Miles Wray of The Step Back took a good long look at how the season stands up historically.

Rating: 9 out of 10 Bonus Points For Playing For Two Altogether Different Teams Last Year
Author: Miles Wray – @MilesWray
Link: NBA players who play for three teams in one season


It was hard to evaluate the first season in the NBA for Jakob Poeltl, a lottery pick on a reigning Eastern Conference Finals squad, but Brian Boake set out to do so anyway for Raptors Rapture. In Poeltl, the Raptors have a cheap, malleable option to audition as their Stretch 5 of the Future.

Rating: 8 out of 10 Teenage Mutant Ninjas
Author: Brian Boake – @NewmarketBrian
Link: Jakob Poeltl’s future with Raptors


Over the years, Gregg Popovich has simply owned Mike D’Antoni in the NBA playoffs, so much so that the J.R. Wilco over at Pounding the Rock had a particularly specific video commissioned just to drive home the point.

Rating: 9 out of 10 Academy Award-Winning Method Actors
Author: J.R. Wilco – @JRWilco
Link: Gregg Popovich, Mike D’Antoni History

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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