Harry The Hawk entertains prior to the start of the home opener of the 2018 season at State Farm Arena.
Photo: Hyosub Shin/hshin@ajc.com
Photo: Hyosub Shin/hshin@ajc.com

Schlenk will worry about Hawks’ vacant assistant GM position after draft

Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk is not in a hurry to fill his recently vacated position of assistant general manager.

Last month Jeff Peterson left to take the same position with the Nets after seven years in the Hawks organization.

“I told our group when he left that we are not going to do anything (right away),” Schlenk said last week. “We’ll worry about it in July. I want everybody focused on the draft. That’s the most important thing on the front right now. We’ll evaluate that in July. I’m not sure what we are going to do. We’ve got swarmed with people who would love this job but whether we promote from within, bring somebody in, or bring somebody in at the bottom and move up, I don’t really know.”

The NBA draft is Thursday. One of Peterson’s primary responsibilities was scouting. With much of the scouting work done in preparation for the draft, Schlenk said he and his staff have been able to handle the additional workload.

Schlenk said he is happy for Peterson, and his wife, as they move to New York City for the next chapter in his career.

“It’s a loss for us,” Schlenk said. “Jeff was great. Brooklyn had some staff changes and they reached out. I have the philosophy that anytime an organization reaches out to talk to one of our employees, we will allow them to talk.”

Peterson, who played collegiately at Iowa and Arkansas and finished his career at Florida State, began his front office career with the Hawks as a seasonal basketball operations assistant in 2012. He was named assistant general manager under then-GM Wes Wilcox in 2016. He retained the position under Schlenk.

Peterson worked with Nets coach Kenny Atkinson in Atlanta from 2012-16. He will replace Trajan Langdon, who left to take the general manager’s position with the Pelicans earlier this month. The Nets reached out to the Hawks regarding Peterson shortly after Langdon’s departure.

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