The recent news that has been revealed regarding what is going on behind closed doors within the Hawks organization has shed new light on how substantial of a mess this is. Despite the team saying Travis Schlenk is still serving in an advisory role, it turns out that isn’t the case. His abrupt decision to step down was caused by Nick Ressler’s increasingly growing voice in the room when it comes to basketball decisions. That’s not what Schlenk signed up for when he became general manager of the Hawks. He’s one of the most well respected talent evaluators in the league and was being compromised by the owner’s son, who has no business making basketball decisions.
I can’t blame Schlenk for moving on, and it shouldn’t take him long to find a new home with another organization, but it leaves the Hawks with a ton of inexperience in the front office. Landry Fields has only been a general manager for about a month. Kyle Korver was named the Assistant GM just a few days ago, and Ressler is nothing more than a nuisance at this point. The Hawks are at a pivotal crossroads in franchise history, and they couldn’t be more ill-equipped to handle the situation.
I have a feeling of which direction the front office will go prior to the trade deadline. They’ll evaluate all of their options, but I don’t see any way they choose to blow things up so soon after acquiring Dejounte Murray. They’ll attempt to upgrade the roster as much as possible in hopes of getting healthy and playing better down the stretch. But if that doesn’t work, everything has to be on the table this offseason.
And by everything, I mean everything, including potentially trading Trae Young, which almost seemed unfathomable a couple of years ago after he led the Hawks to the Eastern Conference Finals. Since then, however, everything has gone downhill. Young’s leadership has come into question a number of times, as he’s had spats with both coaches and teammates. Most recently, a report revealed even more disconcerting behavior from Young during their playoff series last season with the Heat. Following Game 2, he chartered his own flight without telling anybody and left on his own. Those aren’t the actions of a leader, something that has come into question over the last couple of seasons with Young.
Trading superstars should always be viewed as a last resort, and this scenario is no different. I don’t see the Hawks parting ways with Young anytime soon, but there could be a point in the near future where he wants to be traded. If that happens, Atlanta might want to consider it. There’s a chance the Hawks are heading toward an inevitable rebuild, and following the Dejounte Murray trade, they don’t have many draft picks. Moving Young would replenish the organization with future assets, signaling the start of a painful rebuild.
There’s a slim chance the Hawks figure things out this season, which will leave them with a lot of questions entering the summer. Eventually, it feels as if this will culminate into an explosive conclusion, and by the end of it, they might not have a choice but to trade Trae Young.
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