Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk, who spoke today to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic and Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, acknowledged that a number of the team’s free agent additions “haven’t performed as well as they wanted to.”
However, Schlenk said that veterans like Danilo Gallinari and Rajon Rondo have had an impact on the team off the court and expressed confidence that they can turn things around on the court. He also reiterated that the Hawks’ goal is still to have a winning season and to make the playoffs.
New head coach Nate McMillan will be tasked with getting the squad – which currently has a 16-20 record, back into the postseason mix. And while leading the team to a second-half surge might improve McMillan’s chances of getting his interim tag removed at season’s end, Schlenk insists that the veteran head coach has nothing to prove and is already assured of receiving consideration for the permanent job.
“He’s certainly going to have the opportunity to be the permanent head coach,” Schlenk said, per Kirschner. “No doubt about it. You can certainly argue that he’s got the best chance because he’s here right now, and we’ll have the ability to work with him for the next three months. He’s going to have the opportunity to coach games. I don’t know that there’s necessarily anything that I need to see. He’s got a proven track record. He doesn’t need to prove to me that he can coach NBA basketball. I know that.”
Schlenk also addressed a handful of other topics today, confirming that the Hawks hope Kris Dunn can make his debut with the team at some point later this month and discussing Atlanta’s approach to the trade deadline. Here, via Kirschner and Spencer, are a few of the highlights from the Hawks’ GM:
On whether the Hawks are actively exploring trade scenarios:
“Right now, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything on the horizon, but that can change. You rarely get teams’ best offers. Nobody gets real serious until you get down to the last week or two. It’s hard to gauge. We certainly will look to do anything we can to do anything we can that feels like, is going to make us a better team in the short-term and the long-term. Those sometimes don’t go hand-in-hand, but we’ll look at any situation we think that will help us.”
On the team’s plan for John Collins:
“John’s a big part of our team… He’s made the decision this fall to go to restricted free agency, and that was his choice and obviously we respect it. But we’re going to have the opportunity to match any offer he gets. We’ll certainly make him an offer in free agency as well, and he’ll have the ability to see if he can get an offer from another team. But at the end of the day, we view him as part of our team, and I don’t see a restricted free agency situation where we would just let him walk for nothing.”
On whether Collins could be moved before the trade deadline:
“We listen about all our guys, that’s our job, to see what the value of all our guys are. John is a good young player, and teams have interest in him, no question about it. But we listen on all our guys, I guess is the short answer.”