Atlanta Hawks principal owner Tony Ressler told ESPN that his franchise has underachieved in relation to its roster talent and that the organization’s moves to hire Quin Snyder as coach and elevate Landry Fields to oversee basketball operations will translate into more long-term success.
In an interview Friday, Ressler insisted he isn’t involved in making basketball personnel decisions and has fully empowered Fields, his general manager, to make roster and coaching decisions.
“We have a relatively young team that I think is very talented … that I do not think long term is a mediocre team,” Ressler told 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.”
Ressler told ESPN that he made the decision to move Travis Schlenk, then president of basketball operations, into an advisory role in late December because he was displeased with the front office’s level of “collaboration and communication” in the wake of consecutive .500 seasons after a trip to the 2021 Eastern Conference finals.
“I put Landry as GM, and Kyle as assistant GM, and shortly thereafter, they wanted to make a coaching change and suggested strongly who and how they would go about it,” Ressler told ESPN. “I embraced their thought process entirely, and that’s where we are now.”
Schlenk has been credited with significantly upgrading the Hawks’ roster after taking over in 2017, including drafting Trae Young, De’Andre Hunter, John Collins and Kevin Huerter and making trades for Dejounte Murray, Clint Capela and Bojan Bogdanovic. Schlenk was awarded three contract extensions and a promotion to president of basketball operations in his time with the Hawks and is expected to be a candidate for high-level front office jobs elsewhere.
The Hawks fired Nate McMillan on Feb. 21, and immediately began a pursuit of Snyder, whom they landed on a five-year contract, sources said. The Hawks wanted Snyder to start immediately to allow for him to start implementing his system, build relationships with players, and evaluate the talent and fit ahead of possible offseason decisions on personnel.
“What I’ve always done is rely on people who know more than I do to run a business better than I could,” Ressler told 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.”