Many assumed that the Atlanta Hawks are heading into a full rebuild on the heels of the Dwight Howard trade earlier this week. However, the man in charge of making that decision won’t say, at least publicly, that the direction of a rebuild is under way.
In discussing the Dwight Howard trade prior to the NBA Draft on Thursday evening, general manager Travis Schlenk was asked if the team is planning to rebuild and he pushed back on that notion. “No. Our goal is still to be competitive,” Schlenk said. Being competitive and increasing our flexibility. That's still where we are. But we're not in a rebuild phase."
Schlenk also began his address to the assembled media by emphasizing flexibility as the back drop for the Howard trade, despite the less than enthusiastic return. “Like I've maintained from the beginning,” Schlenk said. “Our number one goal is to maintain our flexibility as we work to get this franchise going in the direction we want it to. This trade helps us, we believe, accomplish long-term and short-term flexibility.”
In discussing specifics of the deal, Schlenk referenced “three or four” teams that expressed what he termed as “significant interest” in acquiring Howard. Beyond that, the new head of the front office expressed that Charlotte’s package was the most favorable for Atlanta in the end.
Discussion and speculation concerning the direction of the Atlanta Hawks will continue through the NBA Draft and free agency beginning on July 1. For now, though, Travis Schlenk isn’t ready to say the “r-word” and that shouldn’t necessarily be a surprise to anyone. Stay tuned.