Hawks GM Travis Schlenk (left) and Hawks principal owner Tony Ressler share a laugh before the press conference to officially introduce new general manager Travis Schlenk at Philips Arena on Friday, June 2, 2017. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Hawks, Schlenk agree to promotion, contract extension

Travis Schlenk will keep building the Hawks.

The general manager and architect of the current franchise transformation agreed to a promotion and a multi-year contract extension on Monday as part of several changes to the front office. Schlenk will now be titled president of basketball operations and general manager. Terms were not announced. 

Schlenk was hired in May, 2017 and in the two-plus years has directed the rebuild of the team with a collection of top draft picks that has produced a young core of players that include John Collins, Trae Young, Kevin Huerter and the most recently selected De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish and Bruno Fernando. Schlenk acquired and traded draft picks to move up to be in a position to select Young (No. 5), Hunter (No. 4) and Reddish (No. 10). He selected Collins and Huerter with No. 19 picks.

“We are extremely pleased with the direction that Travis and our entire basketball operations team has us heading as a franchise,” principal owner Tony Ressler said in a statement announcing the organizational changes. “He has used the draft to build an impressive young core, hired one of the NBA’s top young coaches in Lloyd Pierce and positioned us to have the cap space, draft picks and financial flexibility needed to have long-term success in the NBA.

The Hawks finished 24-58 and 29-53 in the past two seasons under Schlenk, with two different head coaches, Mike Budenholzer and Pierce. The Hawks young core showed rapid improvement after a slow start to last season that has instilled a sense of optimism around the franchise and its fan base.

The Hawks also made several other front office changes as part of a restructuring under Schlenk, latitude he was given when first approached about an extension by ownership earlier this summer. The Hawks had been without an assistant general manager after Jeff Peterson left to take the same position with the Nets earlier this year.

The Hawks elevated Chelsea Lane to vice president of athletic performance and sports medicine, Dan Martinez to vice president of team operations, Derek Pierce to vice president of player personnel, Dotun Akinwale Jr. to director of scouting, Mike McNeive to director of player personnel, Daniel Starkman to senior manager of basketball operations, Nick Ressler to manager of basketball operations, Paul Jesperson to assistant video coordinator, Chris Mast to data scientist, athletic performance and sports medicine and Connor Smith to assistant athletic trainer.

In addition, Stephen Giles was named pro player personnel scout. He was most recently a scout with the Cavaliers but served as an advance scout for the Hawks from 2008-11.

Schlenk came from the Hawks after 13 seasons with the Warriors, including the last five as assistant general manager. He previously worked for the Heat, Magic and the University of Georgia.

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