Atlanta Hawks

Southeast Notes: Magic, Vogel, Reed, Hawks

Kevin Durant‘s decision to use the Magic as an example of a bad NBA organization reflects the team’s reputation around the league, writes Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Railing at suggestions that he helped create competitive imbalance, Durant started his response with, “Like I’m the reason why [expletive] Orlando couldn’t make the playoffs for five, six years in a row?” Robbins notes that new president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman and new GM John Hammond will have to overcome that perception before they can attract top-level free agents. Orlando has inherent advantages with a warm climate and no state income tax, but most elite free agents prioritize winning, and that’s something the Magic can’t offer right now.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Magic CEO Alex Martins insisted that candidates for the newly filled front office positions be willing to work with coach Frank Vogel, relays John Denton of NBA.com. There were rumors during the season that Vogel might be in jeopardy as he led Orlando to a 29-53 record in his first year on the job. But the moves made since the season ended show that blame for the disappointing year fell on the front office rather than the coaching staff. Weltman says he admires Vogel’s coaching ability, and Vogel welcomes the change at the top. “These are very well-respected basketball men who have done a good job and who, quite frankly, know what they are doing and what they are talking about,’’ Vogel said. “I’m excited about the coming weeks, the meetings that we’re going to have and getting to know these guys.’’
  • Willie Reed has a strong desire to stay in Miami, but financial realities might prevent that, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Reed had his first impactful NBA season this year as a member of the Heat, playing 71 games and averaging 5.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per night. He faces a June 29th deadline to decide on a $1.577MM option for next season and may elect to chase his first-big money deal at age 27. Reed is still working out with the team, but says there have been no discussions with management about his contract status. “We spoke just about how a good season it was and how I progressed and have grown,” he said. “But there haven’t been talks about anything else yet, kind of just coming in here and just working out, making sure they see you and let them know that I love being here and I want it to work out.”
  • After 10 straight playoff seasons, the Hawks need to decide on a direction for their future, writes Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders. He notes that Atlanta has limited options heading into the summer because the team’s best trade assets, Paul Millsap and Tim Hardaway Jr., are both free agents, and last year’s big signees, Kent Bazemore and Dwight Howard, have experienced declines in their market value.

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.

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