With all of the dysfunction that’s gone on within the Hawks organization of late, owner Tony Ressler would eventually have to attempt to weather the storm to the media. That’s exactly what he tried to do today in an interview with Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, and I couldn’t be less moved by his answers.
For starters, Ressler has decided to make Travis Schlenk the scapegoat for the Hawks underachievement this season.
“We have a relatively young team that I think is very talented … that I do not think long term is a mediocre team,” Ressler said, via ESPN. “Right now, we’re at 500. I think we should be better than that. I hope we will be better than that. And I can tell you this: Landry and [assistant GM] Kyle [Korver] are running a much better, much more collaborative front office. That’s of huge importance to me because I think that’s how you get better.
“Having ownership, a front office, a coaching staff and the right roster — when all of those folks work well together, I think results improve. That was the objective, and that’s why I made the change that I did.”
In theory, Ressler’s right. General managers should be held accountable for a team falling short of expectations, especially when it’s happened multiple years in a row. The problem with that is Schlenk wasn’t the one pulling all of the strings. Ressler had the final say on all decisions, some of which Schlenk strongly disagreed with, which is why there was a disconnect.
Ressler wanted the team to go after Dejounte Murray, while Schlenk was hesitant of the Spurs’ asking price, and it was Ressler that ended up forcing the trade of Kevin Huerter because he didn’t want to pay a small luxury tax penalty, according to The Athletic’s Sam Amick. However, Ressler attempted to deny that claim today on 92.9 The Game’s Dukes and Bell.
Ressler continued about the luxury tax,
"My view about the luxury tax (is) delighted to be in it for the right reasons and as far as I'm concerned if we're in the luxury tax I hope we're a better team."
— Caleb Johnson (@ATLjohnson18) March 3, 2023
Someone is lying. Either well respected NBA insiders all decided to work against the Hawks and make a bunch of stuff up, or Tony Ressler is full of crap.
Regardless, attempting to put all of the blame on Schlenk is just laughable, which makes this other quote from Ressler even more amusing.
“What I’ve always done is rely on people who know more than I do to run a business better than I could,” Ressler said, via ESPN. “Who makes the decisions [now], it’s undoubtedly Landry with Kyle — with Quin. [They] are going to work beautifully together from what I can tell. I do believe we will make better decisions going forward than we have done in the past.”
I’m not sure I’ve trusted an owner less than I do Tony Ressler. In theory, this is another ideal scenario. The basketball experts should be allowed to make the decisions. That’s how the great organizations in every sport are run, but that’s not what’s happening in Atlanta. If Ressler was so hands-on while Travis Schlenk was in charge, nothing makes me believe he’s all of a sudden letting Fields and Landry run the show. He’s just as much involved now as he was before, and it’s the primary reason why I believe this organization is doomed.
Ressler has been dishonest with Hawks fans ever since he took over. He said the luxury tax didn’t scare him, then traded away a critical piece to save a few bucks. Ressler is the reason this ship is sinking, and when it comes to this interview, I’ll believe it when I see it. Right now, I have no reason to think he’s not just as involved as he always has been, which is detrimental to the Hawks’ chances of digging out of this hole.
Photo: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire
You must log in to post a comment.