According to multiple reports, the Hawks have reached an agreement to make current Warriors assistant general manager Travis Schlenk their general manager. Word moved quickly on Wednesday from a report that he was the primary focus of their search to the ultimate news that a deal was done.
Schlenk has worked with three organizations during his career, per RealGM.com. He served as basketball operations assistant for the Orlando Magic from 1997-2000. He filled the role of video coordinator for the Miami Heat from 2000-2004. He has been with the Golden State Warriors front office since 2006 including serving as assistant general manager since 2011.
I am the first person to criticize the practice of grading trades immediately following a transaction, although certainly some within the industry provide more valuable analysis than others. Only time will tell whether this is a good hire or not. But I will say this, I am very pleasantly surprised that the Hawks were able to draw front office talent from the Warriors, who are now the platinum standard organization in the NBA.
Many observers including myself have voiced concern regarding statements attributed to Hawks owner Tony Ressler and how they might not help reflect best upon the Hawks as an organization at a critical time like this. But it would appear that the decision to allow an external firm to lead the search might have offset any potential harm those statements could have otherwise caused. When I put my list together of potential candidates, I did not give any consideration to the possibility of the Hawks drawing a candidate from the Warriors given the success that seems very realistically possible in their immediate and short term future.
I did voice hope for the Hawks being able to potentially attract a candidate from the Heat organization, so naturally I love that Schlenk spent time with that organization. I also am encouraged that his time with the Warriors is not just limited to their recent period of success; he was a part of that front office when it did not have the highest reputation for being functional and forward thinking. So he has seen, first hand, an organization basically move from one end of the scale to the other... in the right direction.
A press conference is reported to be scheduled for Thursday. To be sure, all of the right things will be said by all of the right people. But Hawks fans are unlikely to take excitement from that given the press conferences that were witnessed a summer ago and how far removed results ended up being from expectations in that case. But my view is that the Hawks certainly could have done worse. And there at least a few reasons to be optimistic that this could be a positive development for the organization.