The Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club has hired nationally-recognized, sports sales and marketing executive Michael Drake as its Senior Vice President of Corporate Partnerships and Premium Sales. He most recently served as SVP & Chief Revenue Officer of Business Operations for AMB Sports & Entertainment (AMBSE), overseeing all ticket operations, service initiatives and marketing and analytic strategies for suite, loge, season ticket and seat license sales for the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United and Mercedes-Benz Stadium (MBS).
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The worst thing you can be in the NBA is mediocre, and that’s where the Hawks were. Majority owner Tony Ressler had to be convinced to let Millsap go, but he signed off on not re-signing Millsap, and then went all-in on Process South, replacing former GM Wes Wilcox in May — who remains with the franchise as a consultant — with Schlenk, who was the assistant GM with the Warriors the last five years. “Well, we had two choices, the way I saw it,” Ressler said Friday, in the new owners’/VIP digs, which are hard off the new Hawks Bar that is directly behind the baseline, steps off the floor — one of the many parts of the Philips renovation, which is scheduled to conclude next year.”
“We never had the choice of being a contender. We weren’t,” Ressler said. “I saw the team go from 60 wins to 48 to 43. And we didn’t make many changes going from 60 to 48 to 43. We thought we made additions. Let’s just say I concluded, with Travis’ help, with Bud’s help, I concluded that we were not going in the right direction. Truly, there are three options in the NBA, I would argue: being a contender, being a competitive team, and being young and fun. At least that would be my opinion. And we didn’t have the option of being a contender. So we could be competitive, or more competitive, and maybe, shall we say, with a whole bunch of higher-priced vets that made us older and made our payroll less flexible, and made our future more cloudy.”
“Organizationally, this is the way we’re organized now, and this gives us the best chance going forward to have a chance in Atlanta to have success,” Mike Budenholzer said. “I’m passionate about coaching. I love coaching. But I’m passionate about everything. And I think, I believe in our ownership, I believe in all the changes we’ve made and what we’re doing going forward.”
How serious do you think (Hawks GM) Travis Schlenk is about trading Dennis Schroder? And what might those trades look like? Here’s one thing I know about Travis Schlenk: He wants nothing to do with long-term contracts. Schlenk craves flexibility, and his early moves – trading Howard, making little effort to retain Paul Millsap – tell me he’s thinking well into the future. Schroder is a little different though. There’s legitimate talent there, which can’t be dismissed. But more importantly, there is no real market for him. I ran Schroder’s name by a few team executives this week, and each recoiled. There’s a toxicity surrounding Schroder right now. A reputation as a selfish player has gained significant traction throughout the league. His arrest on battery charges last month – an incident the Hawks have deemed “unacceptable” – is an example teams cite of his immaturity. Said a Western Conference executive: “I don’t need that kind of headache.” Perhaps Atlanta could give Schroder away. But at 24, Schroder is a terrific talent. Maybe the Hawks can work with him and hope he matures. Really, they don’t have much of a choice.
The Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club today announced that General Manager/Head of Basketball Operations Travis Schlenk will be featured on a weekly segment this season on SportsRadio 92-2 The Game, the team’s official sports talk partner and flagship station. Schlenk was hired on May 25, 2017 after spending 12 seasons with the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors.
With weekly segments featuring Head Coach Mike Budenholzer and CEO Steve Koonin returning once again to the station, Hawks leadership will be featured on the Hawks’ radio flagship on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays during the season. “We are very pleased to continue our great relationship with the Atlanta Hawks,” said Terry Foxx, Program Director at SportsRadio 92-9 The Game. “Having Coach Bud along with CEO Steve Koonin and now the new GM of the Hawks, Travis Schlenk, will further enhance our overall coverage of the Hawks. When you add the legendary voice of the Hawks, Steve Holman, we have a continued amazing partnership with the Hawks and our fans.”
Bembry was familiar with the Hawks’ interest in him. And when then-general manager Wes Wilcox and head coach Mike Budenholzer called to let Bembry know the Hawks selected him at No. 21, it was a bittersweet moment. His childhood dream come true, Bembry had a quiet moment with his mother and grandmother in tribute to his brother before hugging his screaming family and friends. “I was in the hallway on the phone and I waited for them to call my name and then I was just running around, running around,” Bembry said. “Everybody just started yelling. Yeah, emotions were around. A lot of energy. At the time of the call, I was first thinking, ‘I made it to my dream.’ At first, it was just me, my mom and my grandmother in the room just in there, happy, of course, of what happened. Of course, we talked about my little brother and how much he would have been happy for me.”
Judging by the questions each man got this week, there is interest in how new Hawks GM Travis Schlenk and coach Mike Budenholzer will coexist. That makes some sense because Schlenk now has the franchise-shaping power that Budenholzer once had. But it also seems there’s a perception that there’s no way Budenholzer is OK with Schlenk’s rebuilding plan and that this will cause friction between the two. Both Budenholzer and Schlenk said they are on the same page, but that won’t stop outside speculation about potential rifts. Maybe I’m weird, but I’ve never had much interest in interpersonal front-office drama. Leaders have different personalities and styles. Roles change and evolve in professional sports, and at some point, all coaches and executives must adjust. Ultimately they are judged by the final product.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Karnisovas and Wilcox will travel to Milwaukee for additional meetings with organization officials later this week.
The Atlanta Hawks are working on a contract agreement to hire Golden State Warriors executive Travis Schlenk as general manager, league sources told The Vertical. Barring any unforeseen snags, a deal could be completed as soon as Wednesday, league sources told The Vertical.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Golden State assistant GM Travis Schlenk has emerged as a frontrunner for Atlanta Hawks GM opening, league sources tell @The Vertical.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Travis Schlenk is Atlanta’s choice to become new GM and sides are entering into contract talks, league sources tell @The Vertical.
ESPN Cleveland: Windhorst: Griff could be a candidate in other places, including Milwaukee. Not sure Atlanta will wait. Griff wants a substantial offer.
The Cavs have also denied permission to the Atlanta Hawks for Griffin to interview for their open general manager position, sources said. Griffin, whose contract expires at the end of July, has recently held talks with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert about his future with the team but nothing had been agreed to as of Monday afternoon, sources said.
The interview is expected to occur Tuesday in Los Angeles, sources say, and it is believed the organization isn’t looking to drag out the hiring process.
Washington Wizards vice president of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard and Golden State Warriors assistant general manager Travis Schlenk have emerged as the new names of note in the Atlanta Hawks’ front office search, according to league sources.
Sources told ESPN that the Hawks have conducted interviews with both Sheppard and Schlenk this week and continue to have interest in ESPN television analyst Chauncey Billups as well as Boston Celtics assistant general manager Mike Zarren as they search for a new lead voice for basketball operations.
Marc Stein: The Atlanta Hawks have secured permission to interview Warriors executive Travis Schlenk for their front office search, league sources say
The pursuit of Olshey signals a possible willingness within ownership to make a significant financial commitment to hire an elite league executive. To pry Olshey, or any sitting top basketball decision-maker, Atlanta would undoubtedly have to offer draft or financial compensation to a team. Those conversations never started with the Blazers, sources said. It is unclear if Olshey would’ve had interest in discussing Atlanta’s opening with team owners. He joined the Blazers as the franchise’s top basketball executive in 2012, after leaving the Clippers.
Atlanta has been meeting with candidates this week, with majority owner Tony Ressler and minority owner Grant Hill conducting meetings with candidates, league sources told The Vertical. Hawks officials spent several hours interviewing Washington Wizards VP of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard mid-week, league sources told The Vertical.
The Hawks have conducted several preliminary telephone interviews, including with Chauncey Billups, a six-time NBA All-Star guard and a current television studio analyst, league sources said.
Atlanta has also made contact with ex-player and television analyst Brent Barry, league sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Atlanta tried to take a big swing for Olshey, Portland’s President of Basketball Operations. Blazers ownership didn’t budge.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Hawks search is ongoing, but probing on Olshey shows a possible willingness to spend significant money for elite executives.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Atlanta requested the opportunity to talk with Portland GM Neil Olshey about its vacant GM job, but was denied permission.
Marc Stein: The Atlanta Hawks were granted permission to interview Wizards executive Tommy Sheppard for their front office search, league sources say.
Brian Lewis: But a source told me as of yet, the #Hawks haven’t contacted the #Nets for permission to talk to Langdon.
Ian Begley: The New York Knicks have granted the Atlanta Hawks permission to interview Knicks Director of Player Personnel Mark Hughes for their general manager opening, league sources confirm to ESPN. Hughes, a veteran executive with the organization since 2007, has been one of the key figures in the Knicks’ recent draft success, which includes Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Channing Frye and Danilo Gallinari. The Knicks, of course, have made some poor picks in that span but have been largely successful in the draft. The Hawks’ interest in Hughes – and the Knicks’ granting permission for an interview – was first reported by The Vertical. Hughes was a co-captain of the 1989 National Championship team at Michigan and has coaching experience as an NBA assistant and CBA head coach.
Atlanta is considering a number of candidates, including Griffin, Joe Dumars, Houston vice president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, and New York Knicks director of player personnel Mark Hughes, sources said. Altanta is also planning to discuss the GM opening with television analysts and former players Chauncey Billups and Brent Barry, league sources told The Vertical. Houston has granted permission to Atlanta to discuss the opening with Rosas, its No. 2 executive behind GM Daryl Morey, league sources said. New York has granted permission on Hughes too, league sources said.
What’s up with the Atlanta Hawks rumor? Dumars, 53, didn’t add to the rumor mill on his second straight appearance on ESPN’s daily NBA talkfest, “The Jump” this week. Dumars said: “It’s an honor to be considered for any of these jobs. There’s only 30 of these jobs in the world. If I’m fortunate enough to be with the Hawks or anyone else, I look at it as a great opportunity because these are tough jobs.”
Joe Dumars: “I have a lot of respect for anybody that’s doing these jobs because I know how hard it is. I don’t have any news to announce so in terms of the Hawks, I don’t have any news to announce. I’m one of the names and we’ll see what happens.”
Chris Vivlamore: Had someone mention Mitch Kupchak as possible Hawks GM candidate. Not sure if interest but ‘they would be lucky to have him.’
Chris Vivlamore: According to multiple sources, Hawks still in infancy stage of GM search. Still trying to determine attributes of desired candidate.
Marc Stein: League sources say Joe Dumars and David Griffin are expected to emerge as candidates in the Hawks’ search for a new lead front-office voice
Marc Stein: Dumars, of course, played alongside Hawks minority owner Grant Hill in Detroit; Griffin was a Suns executive when Hill arrived in Phoenix
In a restructuring of the front office, the Atlanta Hawks are beginning a search for a new president of basketball operations/general manager to oversee the franchise, league sources told The Vertical. Coach Mike Budenholzer will relinquish his president of basketball operations duties, and GM Wes Wilcox will transition into another significant front-office position, league sources told The Vertical.
Majority owner Tony Ressler is starting a search to hire a new executive at the top of the Hawks masthead. Minority owner Grant Hill will be a significant part of the search process too, but Hill has yet to show any inclination to take on full-time basketball operations duties, league sources told The Vertical.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer will relinquish president’s duties, GM Wes Wilcox will remain in a high-ranking front office role.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: In management restructuring, Atlanta will start search for new head of basketball operations with Budenholzer and Wilcox staying.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Budenholzer’s been willing to drop president’s title, without losing strong voice in player personnel — which is what’s happening.
In what could turn out to be a dramatic management restructuring of the Atlanta Hawks’ front office, owner Tony Ressler is seriously discussing with president and coach Mike Budenholzer the possibility of Budenholzer relinquishing his management title, league sources told The Vertical.
The Hawks are also considering the removal of general manager Wes Wilcox, league sources said. Wilcox reports to Budenholzer in the current organizational structure.
The Atlanta Hawks have parted ways with general manager Wes Wilcox, a source told ESPN. Wilcox was promoted in June 2015 from assistant general manager, where he worked alongside Danny Ferry.
Jeff Zillgitt: Hawks saying no changes have been made to front office. Doesn’t mean there won’t be either. pic.twitter.com/ODvQ8shxc5
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Hawks ownership is still discussing Wes Wilcox’s future as GM of the franchise. Decisions could come as soon as today.
Jeff Goodman: Atlanta Hawks have parted ways with GM Wes Wilcox, sources told ESPN. Story coming. espn.com/espn/now?nowId…
David Baumann: As I said this AM, Grant Hill told me, “No, I’m not interested. I thoroughly enjoy my ownership role as Vice-Chairman of the Atlanta Hawks. – RT: Marc Stein: Orlando has interest in Grant Hill as its new face of basketball ops, but league sources say Hill has no plans to leave Atlanta ownership.
David Baumann: Exclusive: Just heard from Grant Hill on whether he’d like consideration for any @OrlandoMagic front office vacancy… #Magic. “I’m not sure where that rumor came from, but NO, I’m not interested. I thoroughly enjoy my ownership role as Vice-Chairman of the Atlanta Hawks. Grant Hill That keeps me plenty busy”
Sources tell the Orlando Sentinel that Magic officials have interest in former NBA All-Star and former Magic player Grant Hill to work as president of basketball operations. But it’s unclear if Hill has interest in the job. Joining the Magic would require Hill to divest his small ownership stake in the Atlanta Hawks. If Hill doesn’t have interest, candidates for the general manager job likely would include Detroit Pistons associate general manager and former Magic player Pat Garrity and Golden State Warriors assistant general manager Travis Schlenk.
The Atlanta Hawks have appointed Malik Rose as general manager of their NBA Development League affiliate in Erie, Pennsylvania, beginning next season. Rose also will maintain his duties as manager of basketball operations for the Hawks, who made the announcement Tuesday. The Hawks’ new D-League franchise will play in Erie the next two seasons before relocating in 2019 to a 3,500-seat arena that will be built in College Park , adjacent to Atlanta’s airport and only about 10 miles from Philips Arena.
Chris Vivlamore: Malik Rose says he eventually would like to be an NBA GM.
Chris Vivlamore: Malik Rose says job No.1 is to hire head coach for Erie.
Chris Vivlamore: The Hawks have promoted Malik Rose to general manager of D-League’s Erie BayHawks.
Atlanta Hawks General Manager Wes Wilcox: “I think it’s fair to classify the Atlanta Hawks as buyers.”
Members of current Hawks management have a previous relationship with the BayHawks. Wilcox helped create and run the BayHawks while he worked for the Cavaliers. The BayHawks were a multi-affiliated franchise at their start. John Treloar, the Hawks current director of player personnel, served as the coach of the BayHawks for the first two seasons. Wilcox helped run the BayHawks for a third season before the Cavaliers bought the D-League franchise in Canton. Wilcox served as that franchise’s first general manager until he joined the Hawks as assistant general manager in 2012.
Chris Vivlamore: Told by several in Hawks organization that more announcements are coming. I expect area surrounding Philips to be one and likely soon.
Hawks Chief Executive Officer Steve Koonin signed a new three-year contract with the team this summer. Koonin’s original contract was with the previous ownership group after he joined the organization in April of 2014. The new contract is with the present ownership group, with principal owner Tony Ressler who purchased the team in June 2015.
The Hawks have hired Richard Midgley as their west coast scout. Midgley spent the past two seasons at the head basketball coach at his alma mater Modesto Christian High School in California. He will leave the program for his new position.
The Hawks are expanding their regional scouting network. West coast scouting was previously part of the responsibility of John Treloar, the team’s director of player personnel. The hire of Midgley will allow Treloar to play a larger role with the Hawks.
Jeff Peterson, who was recently promoted to assistant general manager from director of scouting, also handles scouting duties in the southeast. The Hawks intend to find a scout in that region. The Hawks are also looking to add to their overseas scouting staff.
Hawks executive Andrew Steinberg is leaving the organization, according to a person familiar with the situation. Steinberg was named to a newly created position of Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer in August. He headed several strategic projects including a new practice facility, the reimaging of Philips Arena and the pursuit an NBA Development League franchise as a Hawks affiliate.
Steinberg sent an e-mail announcing his decision within the Hawks organization Monday morning. When the Hawks announced the new position for Steinberg, who had previously served as Chief Revenue Officer, they announced Andrew Saltzman as Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer. CEO Steve Koonin and Saltzman did a wide-ranging interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, published last week, on a number of topics including the expected announcement of a site and naming-rights partner for the practice facility in the first quarter of 2016 and efforts toward a major Philips Arena renovation.
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