Landry Fields

Hawks Rumors: Collins, Hunter, Injuries, Murray

The Hawks kicked off the NBA’s Media Day season this morning, with general manager Landry Fields telling reporters that John Collins is “still here for a reason” after a summer of trade speculation, tweets Atlanta reporter Brad Rowland.

Trade talk is nothing new for Collins, who has seemingly been on the block since signing a five-year, $125MM deal last offseason. There were numerous rumors involving Collins leading up to this year’s draft, and he was reportedly part of the package the Hawks offered to Brooklyn in an attempt to acquire Kevin Durant.

Fields said Collins understands the situation and has remained professional (Twitter link). The GM added that Collins has expressed his opinion on the constant trade talks, but he understands what the team is doing (Twitter link).

There’s more from the team’s media session:

  • Fields said negotiations are continuing with De’Andre Hunter and the team hopes to have an rookie scale extension in place before the October 17 deadline, tweets Lauren L. Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. According to head coach Nate McMillan, Hunter has been able to go through normal workouts this summer, which he couldn’t do last offseason because of a medical procedure (Twitter link).
  • Fields also provided health updates on a few players, saying Bogdan Bogdanovic is “not going to be 100% for training camp” after having surgery on his right knee in May (Twitter link). The team is focused on getting Bogdanovic back to full health at some point during the season, Fields added. He also said first-round pick AJ Griffin has been “full go” for a few weeks following a foot injury that prevented him from playing in Summer League (Twitter link), and second-year power forward Jalen Johnson will also be ready for camp after a non-surgical procedure on his left knee (Twitter link).
  • McMillan was in constant contact with Trae Young as the Hawks worked out a trade with the Spurs for Dejounte Murray, Williams tweets. The coach added that Young is looking forward to having a chance to play off the ball this season. Fields admitted having two traditional ball-handlers in the backcourt might be “a little clunky at first,” but he expressed confidence that Young and Murray will figure out their roles (Twitter link).
  • Fields plans to keep the 15th roster spot open due to luxury tax concerns, tweets Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. The Hawks are about $1MM over the tax line, and Fields indicated the team’s performance will determine whether he tries to get back under the threshold. “It’s going to be a day-to-day thing,” he said.

Landry Fields: Hawks “Bet On The Character Makeup” Of Trae Young, Dejounte Murray

The Hawkstrade for Dejounte Murray was about finding a backcourt partner who fits well alongside Trae Young, general manager Landry Fields said in an interview with Mark Medina of NBA.com. Atlanta paid a steep price for Murray, sending three first-round picks and a pick swap to San Antonio along with Danilo Gallinari, but Fields believes the deal was worth it to find a possible long-time complement to Young.

Murray and Young have both been primary ball-handlers throughout their careers, so they’ll have to work on blending their offensive games together. Defensively, Murray can take on the toughest matchups and make it more difficult for opponents to exploit Young.

“We bet on the character makeup of Trae and Dejounte,” Fields said. “Both of those guys want to win, and will do what it takes to win. They need that because their roles will be a lot different than they were last year, from both respective teams. As long as they’re able to do what it takes, Coach [Nate McMillan] then comes in and is able to get creative with how they’ll operate. From a front-office standpoint, we’ll determine if we need to inject more here, here or here. Hopefully, all three of those are working at the same time.”

Fields addresses several other topics during the interview, including:

The trade that sent Kevin Huerter to the Kings in exchange for Justin Holiday, Maurice Harkless and a future first-round pick:

“Justin Holiday gives us more length around the perimeter and an ability to shoot from the perimeter. That opens things up for Trae and Dejounte with an ability to space the floor. That gives room for Clint [Capela] and John [Collins] as they’re working down in the interior. Hopefully, De’Andre [Hunter] continues to take the steps that he needs.

“With Moe, he’s a guy that plays hard and gives us depth at the four. It’s helpful in that regard. He’s a vet. He’s got great character and we like what he brings to the locker room. He’s not the most outgoing guy, but enough so that we feel there’s an impact there, too.”

John Collins, who has been the subject of frequent trade speculation since re-signing with the Hawks last offseason:

“This isn’t one of those, ‘We have to get off of John.’ That’s absurd. There’s a misinterpretation of that. You always think of the player from that standpoint because he is constantly in talks. You try to make sure with him that we check in and make sure he’s doing all right. It’s something where it’s less about wondering if he’s the long-term fit and it’s more about the fact that he gets called on a lot. The moment those calls come up, people talk. Then all of a sudden, here we are in the media with this thought that John Collins is not wanted by the Hawks.”

The status of McMillan, who reportedly could be on the hot seat if Atlanta gets off to another slow start:

“Coach has been great. After the season, as a staff, [president of basketball operations] Travis [Schlenk] had a chance to sit with him. He was working with him throughout the offseason. It’s his renewed approach to things and his viewpoints. He was leading by taking ownership and responsibility. It was good to see. You need that. I know he’s excited about the group. But he’s also hungry to get back to where we are, too. He’s been here day in and day out in Vegas. He’s been in the gym at our facility. He’s always been there.”

Eastern Notes: LaVine, Bryant, G. Harris, T. Young, Hawks

Although Zach LaVine wasn’t one of the 38 free agents who reportedly reached a contract agreement during the first day of free agency on Thursday, the Bulls remain confident that the two-time All-Star will eventually agree to a new five-year, $215MM deal to stay in Chicago, sources tell Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. According to Cowley, the Bulls met with LaVine during day one of free agency, but the 27-year-old wants to hear all the offers that may be available to him.

Here’s more from around the East:

  • Wizards free agent center Thomas Bryant still appears unlikely to return to Washington, as was reported on Thursday. According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), Bryant is receiving “significant” interest from contending teams and will likely make a decision today. The Celtics and Lakers are among the clubs in the mix, Haynes adds.
  • The two-year contract extensions signed by Magic wing Gary Harris and Raptors forward Thaddeus Young on Thursday aren’t fully guaranteed in 2023/24, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. According to Marks, Harris has no protection in the second year of his new contract, while Young has a partial guarantee.
  • The Hawks have officially confirmed a front office move that was reported in June, announcing in a press release that Landry Fields has been elevated from assistant GM to general manager. The club also announced a series of other basketball operations hires and promotions.

Hawks To Elevate Landry Fields To GM Under Schlenk

The Hawks are promoting Landry Fields to general manager, beginning next month, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

Fields, who has been an assistant GM with the franchise, will continue to work under president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk.

Just 33 years old, Fields began his front office career with the Spurs. He joined the Hawks as an assistant GM in 2020.

Hawks owner Tony Ressler has expressed high confidence in his current front office personnel and Fields’ promotion reflects that. There were rumors early in the season that other teams were trying to lure away Fields but that he was likely to be promoted by the Hawks.

Fields started out as a scout with San Antonio in 2016 and eventually worked his way up to becoming the GM of the G League’s Austin Spurs. He also spent five seasons in the NBA, playing for both the Knicks and Raptors. In 255 games, he averaged 6.8 PPG and 4.3 RPG.

Hawks Owner Ressler Promises Roster Changes

The Hawks plan to shake things up this offseason after standing relatively pat last summer. That’s what owner Tony Ressler told the media, including The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner, on Thursday.

Ressler felt the team’s brass may have read too much into the surprising run to the Eastern Conference Finals last season, which is why the roster looked much the same this season.

“I think we should have tried to get better rather than bring back what we had,” Ressler said. “That won’t happen again. It was a mistake, in my opinion at least.”

President of basketball operations Travis Schlenk made similar comments during a radio interview earlier this week.

Here are few more notable points from Ressler’s press conference:

  • The Hawks’ roster moves will be made with an eye toward finding more creators on offense and better defenders, particularly on the perimeter. “Getting more folks who could handle the ball, create and more defensive-oriented players — or both — that’s an obvious answer,” Ressler said. “When I talk to Travis and (assistant GM) Landry (Fields) about this very subject, which you could imagine happens frequently, I think their view is the league is complicated. You have to use the free-agent view, you have to use the draft, you have to use the development of the players — and, frankly, the availability of what’s out there will determine the decisions we make.”
  • Ressler is willing to make the Hawks a taxpaying team, as long as it makes sense to spend for a perennial contender. Ressler has told Schlenk he’s willing to go over the luxury tax threshold as early as next season. “We’re going to pay what we have to pay,” he said. “Sometimes owners set a tone — and I’m trying to set a very clear tone — sometimes we say some things one season that may not pertain to the next. Going into the tax doesn’t scare us. … Our job is to go into the tax when it’s good business, to position ourselves for greatness.”
  • Ressler isn’t thinking about a coaching or front office change. “Between Travis, Landry and Nate (McMillan), we have a hell of a team in our front office and coaching staff,” Ressler said. “I have enormous confidence in all of those folks.” However, he felt complacency seeped in throughout the roster and organization. “That’s what this season told me,” he said. “The idea that you have complacency before you win a championship — maybe after we win a championship, I’ll take a breath. We’re not going to have complacency again at any level.”

Charania’s Latest: Ariza, Nunn, Sabonis, Turner, Hawks

The Lakers are hopeful that forward Trevor Ariza will be able to make his season debut within the next week or two, says Shams Charania of The Athletic. Ariza has been sidelined for the entire fall as he recovers from ankle surgery, but continues to ramp up his activity. He was expected to participate on Monday in a practice with some members of the South Bay Lakers, as well as Rajon Rondo and Kent Bazemore, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

Like Ariza, Lakers guard Kendrick Nunn hasn’t played at all for the team this season due to a bone bruise in his right knee. Sources tell Charania that Los Angeles is optimistic about Nunn returning to the court and making his debut for the club at some point in January.

Here’s more from Charania:

  • The Suns and Kings have shown interest in Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis in recent years, per Charania. It’s unclear if either Pacific team will make a run at Sabonis now that he’s rumored to be available, but they could be worth watching. Charania adds that “a slew” of teams are expected to pursue Myles Turner, and the expectation is that Indiana would only move one of its two big men, not both.
  • Hawks president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk and other members of Atlanta’s front office will likely sign contract extensions by the 2022 offseason, Charania reports. There have been rumors that other teams may try to lure assistant general manager Landry Fields away from the Hawks, but Fields is trending toward being promoted to GM in Atlanta under Schlenk, according to Charania.
  • Charania’s latest Inside Pass column for The Athletic included several other notable tidbits, which we rounded up in a series of stories earlier today.

Hawks Rumors: Collins, Huerter, Young, Reddish, Fields

There are still some people in the Hawks‘ front office who have concerns about John Collins‘ defensive abilities and may not be in favor of offering the restricted free agent a full maximum-salary contract this offseason, writes Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

However, Collins – who never seriously considered Atlanta’s four-year, $90MM+ extension offer last year – played a key role in the Hawks’ deep playoff run and may ultimately force the club’s hand, Fischer says. Many league personnel expect Collins to re-sign with Atlanta, Fischer adds.

Collins isn’t the only Hawks starter eligible for a new long-term contract this summer. Kevin Huerter can receive a rookie scale extension starting in August, and there’s a belief around the league that the team will try to get something done with him, according to Fischer. Huerter’s strong season and postseason has solidified his place in the team’s plans — the Hawks shopped him in trade talks as recently as the 2020 offseason, Fischer notes.

Of course, Trae Young is also extension-eligible for the first time this offseason, and Fischer says there’s no doubt the team’s leading scorer will receive a maximum-salary offer. The only question is how much it will ultimately be worth — a standard max extension for Young projects to pay about $168MM over five years, but he and the Hawks will likely negotiate Rose Rule language that would increase the value to as much as $201MM+ if he earns an All-NBA spot next season.

Here’s more from Fischer on the Hawks:

  • Cam Reddish‘s impressive four-game run in the Eastern Conference Finals (12.8 PPG on .528/.643/.800 shooting) will give the Hawks a lot to think about this summer. According to Fischer, multiple rival front offices were hoping Reddish would be a buy-low option in trade talks, but that may no longer be the case.
  • Hawks assistant general manager Landry Fields continues to draw interest from rival teams, including the Celtics as a possible GM under new president of basketball operations Brad Stevens, Fischer reports. If the Hawks were to promote Fields to GM in their own front office, Celtics VP of player development Allison Feaster may be the leading candidate to become Boston’s general manager, per Fischer.
  • Nate McMillan‘s “gruffer, old-school approach” contributed to his exit in Indiana, but he has changed his tone with the Hawks, taking a patient approach with the club’s younger players, including Young, says Fischer. “He’s reinvented himself, which is rare,” one team scout said. “You give him a lot of credit.”

Fischer’s Latest: Celtics’ Front Office, Ainge, Billups, Brown, More

As the Celtics transition from the Danny Ainge era to the Brad Stevens (presidential) era, they will have a lot of decisions to make, both in regards to the front office and the coaching staff. Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer suggests that two names to watch in regards to the front office are current assistant general manager Mike Zarren and director of player personnel Dave Lewin. Both are long-time members of the Celtics organization and seem set to move up the organizational hierarchy.

Fischer writes that Zarren has long been the primary voice in trade negotiations, and that there is belief that Stevens will out-rank him as a decision maker more in name than in practice. If Zarren is promoted to general manager, it’s believed that Lewin will be promoted to assistant general manager.

Another name Fischer mentions is Hawks assistant general manager Landry Fields, who has previously been cited as a potential front office candidate for the Celtics.

“All teams are monitoring Landry Fields,” said a Western Conference executive, “because he’s going to get a real shot here to run his own team soon.”

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • While the possibility of Ainge joining the Jazz has been previously reported, Fischer adds that Ainge has also been linked by league sources to the Trail Blazers in some capacity. The Blazers have already fired longtime coach Terry Stotts after the team’s first round exit, and more shake-ups may be on the way.
  • Chauncey Billups may not have experience as a head coach, but Fischer says Billups has been considered the lead candidate among league personnel to replace Stotts as the Trail Blazers‘ head coach for weeks now. The former Pistons point guard – and current Clippers assistant – is considered one of the top head coach candidates on the market.
  • Mike Brown is on the lookout for another head coaching job after five years as an assistant coach with the Warriors, according to Fischer’s sources. Brown is a veteran who has previously been the head coach for the Cavaliers and Lakers, but he hasn’t had a team of his own since the 2013-2014 season.
  • With so many options on the market, it seems unlikely that the Celtics head coach will come from the team’s bench, according to Fischer, who says people around the league don’t expect the Celtics to promote an assistant coach with no prior experience head coaching in the NBA.

Celtics Notes: Stevens, Fields, Presti, Ainge, Holtmann

The Celtics promoted Brad Stevens from head coach to president of basketball operations today, but they never considered having him handle both roles, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Stevens said he would have been happy to continue coaching if Danny Ainge was still running the front office, but he began considering the move in conversations with owner Wyc Grousbeck when Ainge started talking about retirement.

Grousbeck said he considers coaching and personnel decisions to be “two separate jobs,” and Bontemps adds that neither Stevens nor management pushed for a dual role. The idea of having a head coach with a prominent voice in front office decisions has become less common across the league in recent years.

“I think it’s too much (to do both jobs),” Stevens said. “All of my intention, energy, focus is doing this job well, and hiring a great coach and trusting they will do their job well. I think that everyone will benefit from that approach. To me, that would have been a lot to be able to do both of those things. I know some people have done it, some people have done it really well, but that would have been a great challenge.”

There’s more from Boston:

  • Hawks assistant general manager Landry Fields has been mentioned as a candidate to become GM of the Celtics, a source tells Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News (Twitter link). Bondy notes that Fields could complement Stevens because of his history in dealing with agent and player relationships.
  • Before turning to Stevens, the Celtics thought about trying to land long-time Thunder general manager Sam Presti, sources confirmed to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. A Massachusetts native, Presti has been with the organization since 2007 when it was still in Seattle. Several other internal candidates were considered, according to O’Connor, who adds that there have been rumors for months that Ainge might be leaving, with speculation that he would be interested in working for Utah, where much of his family lives, or possibly Portland.
  • Ainge’s decision to step down has been in the works for a couple of months, tweets Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. Sources tell Murphy that Ainge informed ownership of his intentions shortly after the March 25 trade deadline.
  • Ohio State’s Chris Holtmann is a strong “sleeper” candidate as the Celtics begin their search for a new head coach, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic. Like Stevens, Holtmann is a former Butler coach and has enjoyed success in the college ranks. Hollinger mentions Dayton’s Anthony Grant as another under-the-radar possibility.

Eastern Notes: Craig, Harris, Raptors, Hawks

Heat assistant Dan Craig impressed in his interview for the Pacers’ head coaching job on Friday, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets.

Pelicans associate head coach Chris Finch still remains the favorite for the Indiana job, Jackson notes, with Miami assistant Chris Quinn also interviewing for the position. In addition, former Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni is reportedly in the mix as well.

The Pacers fired Nate McMillan in August after being swept by the Heat in the first round of the playoffs. The team accrued a 45-28 record this season, good for fourth-best in the East, but hasn’t won a playoff series since 2014.

Craig has been an assistant with the Heat for eight years. He started with the franchise in 2003 as a video intern, working his way up through the organization over time — much like current Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.

Here are some other notes from the Eastern Conference tonight:

  • Nolan Jensen of Nets Daily examines how Joe Harris free agency could play out with the team. Harris is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent and would provide an off-ball threat around Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant next season, though it’s unclear how much money the team is willing to spend to retain him. “Joe is a guy who is always in the gym,” teammate Caris LeVert said this season. “He’s always trying to get better. He’s always watching film. His maturation and his development obviously hasn’t been a huge surprise, especially for a lot of us who see him work each and every single day,” he said. “It’s especially good to see in games, but we know what Joe is capable of. We know how hard he works. It’s great to see that pay off, especially down the stretch of a game like that.”
  • The Raptors could target a number of free-agent wings this offseason, Blake Murphy of The Athletic writes. Toronto has multiple high-level free agents of its own, including Fred VanVleet and Serge Ibaka, but the team could show interest in players such as Harris, Jae Crowder and Kent Bazemore.
  • Chris Kirschner of The Athletic interviewed Hawks assistant general manager Landry Fields, touching on subjects such as scouting, his job with the team and more. Atlanta named Fields as assistant GM earlier this month, with the former NBA player previously serving as GM of the Austin Spurs.