Travis Schlenk steps down as Hawks head of basketball ops, Landry Fields promoted

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

The Hawks have continued to reshuffle their front office.

President of Basketball Operations Travis Schlenk moved to a senior advisor role, while general manager Landry Fields will oversee basketball operations. The team announced that Schlenk would step down from his role effective immediately.

With Schlenk stepping aside, Fields will oversee the day-to-day running of basketball operations.

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“Throughout this season, Tony and I have had multiple, honest conversations about some of the personal things I’ve been going through and how I’ve been feeling, and I appreciate the counsel he has provided me as well as the opportunity he gave me six seasons ago to be a first-time general manager,” Schlenk said in a statement. “As we enter a new year, the timing feels right for me to take a step back, reflect and prioritize my family.”

“I am proud of the group I assembled both on the floor and in the front office. We have built a strong foundation for the Hawks franchise and achieved a high level of success. As an advisor, I look forward to working with Tony and Landry and continuing to make contributions in less visible but still impactful ways.”

The Hawks hired Schlenk in May 2017, to guide the team through its rebuilding stage. Under his leadership, the team assembled a roster built around Trae Young that saw the franchise ascend to its second trip to the Eastern Conference finals in 2021.

Both John Collins and Young, who were Schlenk’s first two first-round draft picks, expressed their appreciation for his belief in them.

““From what I’m what I’m told, he’s still gonna be around, and he’s still gonna be around our organization. So I don’t think, really, too much is changing too much. And I think that’s a good thing. ... He believed in me, so I’m happy for that,” Young said.

The Hawks, of course, acquired Young, the fifth overall pick in 2018, after they made a deal on draft night that sent Luka Doncic to the Mavericks. Since then, Young has become the face of the franchise and helped navigate the team to the Eastern Conference finals.

Young said he remembered meeting Schlenk during the pre-draft process and being able to meet with him.

“He was really cool,” Young said. “And then obviously, being drafted, too, he believed in me. So I always remember that. And I mean, I’m always appreciative of him for believing in me.”

Before Young, Schlenk’s first draft pick at the helm of the Hawks was Collins.

“Obviously (he) meant a lot to me,” Collins said. “Starting my tenure with the NBA team here in Atlanta, Travis, again, believing in me and using that, what was it, 19th pick to take me. So I feel like Travis is up for everyone, in the positive with me, just giving me an opportunity to start my NBA career. So definitely, I’m a little shocked to see it. But I just know that it’s part of the NBA organization you know, to have change. So just got to be prepared.”

Collins’ name has been a fixture in trade rumors for the past two years, but he said he always will be appreciative of the look of confidence that Schlenk had when they first met.

“I think we were actually over at Philips Arena for the opening, a long time ago,” he said. “So as I said, just a different change of scenery and just just meeting him, just that handshaking and look of confidence of, you know, appreciating the pick that he got and that feeling being mutual, so just tried to build a good relationship from there.”

In addition to Young and Collins, Schlenk was at the helm when the Hawks drafted Kevin Huerter, Omari Spellman, De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, Onyeka Okongwu and Jalen Johnson.

He also helped navigate the deals that saw the Hawks acquire Danilo Gallinari, Bogdan Bogdanović, Clint Capela, Rajon Rondo and Kris Dunn.

“We have a great appreciation for the work Travis has done in guiding our franchise through a quick rebuilding process and shaping us into a playoff contender. He has worked tirelessly from his first day with our organization to move us toward our ultimate goal of becoming a championship franchise,” Ressler said in a statement. “With his strong eye for talent, work ethic and knowledge of our team, we are confident that he will serve us well as a trusted advisor.”

Now, Fields will take the reins as the Hawks look to become a perennial contender. Fields already has helped the Hawks get a steal in the draft in AJ Griffin, who has made a strong impact through the first 31 games of his rookie season.

At 34, Fields is among the youngest NBA executives. Grizzlies general manager Zach Kleiman is around the same age.

But Fields’ experience as a former player has endeared him to the roster, which appreciates how he communicates.

“He’s very important,” Johnson said. “He communicates well, just (has) a great relationship with everybody. Everybody can go to him about whatever. So he’s been great. Looking forward to what’s next for him.”