Trae Young enjoyed a phenomenal performance on Sunday evening, leading the Atlanta Hawks to a blowout victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Though it is important to note that there will be growing pains along the way, the rookie guard has looked the part of a potential centerpiece for the franchise and, as a result, the draft-day decision to part ways with the No. 3 pick (and a chance at Luka Doncic) in pursuit of Young (and a future draft asset from the Dallas Mavericks) is seen with more optimism.
With that as the backdrop, Hawks owner Tony Ressler sat down with Jeff Schultz of The Athletic ($) and, while the entire piece is absolutely worth a read on a number of different topics, one intriguing rumor was refuted from the mouth of Ressler himself. Though there are many conflicting tales on what transpired in late June, one popular narrative paints Ressler and the team’s ownership as the impetus behind the move to select Young, in part due to marketing considerations.
In short, Ressler doesn’t take kindly to that notion. First, he indicated that the move was executed because Atlanta’s “basketball operations feels like they have a kid who’s going to be really good with a really high ceiling, and we got a great first-round pick next year.”
Then came to the juicy stuff.
“If the rumor is that I picked Trae over Doncic because of marketing,” Ressler told Schultz. “It’s the dumbest f***ing thing I can imagine. It’s fundamentally untrue.”
There is no room for maneuvering here, as Ressler was quite clear in his public stance. It must be noted that, as with many behind-the-scenes activities in the sports world, it is very likely that fans (and even media members) will never know the whole story of what went into the choice. Still, Ressler wasn’t shy in his response and that should help to quell the buzz that it wasn’t a basketball operations choice back in June.
If Young works out in the way that the Hawks envision, everyone involved will be able to perform a victory lap but, for now, Tony Ressler wants you to know that he didn’t make the call to pull the trigger.