It seems that nepotism at the highest levels of the Atlanta Hawks front office is likely the source of the ongoing drama inside the organization.
Following the 2020-2021 season, the Hawks seemed to be a team on a serious rise. When previous head coach Lloyd Pierce was dismissed in March of that season, and veteran NBA Nate McMillan was installed as the interim head coach, the team went through a resurgence that saw them reach the Eastern Conference Finals that season.
They entered 2021-2022 with what seemed like a long-term answer at the head coach position, a budding superstar in Trae Young, and a strong young core around him. Yet, with a full season together, the Hawks won six fewer games than the year before and were bounced in the opening round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs.
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To rectify that disappointing finish, the Atlanta Hawks swung a blockbuster trade for Spurs star Dejounte Murray in the summer. However, the team has been a mess this season. They are 19-22 entering Friday’s game, President of Basketball Operations Travis Schlenk was “reassigned” last month, and rumors are swirling that Nate McMillan is looking for a way out.
Well, a new report seems to point to what is the source of the serious issues in the Atlanta Hawks organization.
Son of Atlanta Hawks owner Tony Ressler was a major force behind Dejounte Murray trade
On Friday, The Athletic posted a story from NBA insider Sam Amick that went in-depth on some of the recent happenings inside the Hawks organization. One of the major focuses was on the fact that Nick Ressler, the 27-year-old son of owner Tony Ressler, “has had increased influence on roster and staffing decisions” since becoming the Director of Business and Basketball Operations in December 2020.
The younger Ressler’s “voice is being heavily considered on all things Hawks these days” and the report claims his “effect on the decision-making process” within the organization played a major role in Schlenk’s ouster from his role.
Nick Ressler’s influence has become a point of contention for some in the organization with other key figures inside the Atlanta Hawks also feeling “undermined” by him, according to Amick. The team’s trade for Murray, which Ressler was a notable force behind, is now viewed as the “beginning of the end” for Schlenk since he was not in favor of the sizable return San Antonio received in the deal.
The report adds that there is a belief that Tony Ressler could add a veteran executive to try and manage the Hawks’ young and inexperienced front office. That staff now includes first-time general manager Landry Fields (34), Kyle Korver (41), Nick Ressler, and pro personnel scout Grant Liffman (35).