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Hawks GM Travis Schlenk expects head coaching hire before 2018 NBA Draft

Schlenk addressed the media on Wednesday.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Atlanta Hawks Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

In the wake of Mike Budenholzer’s exit, Atlanta Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk addressed the assembled media on Thursday morning. In addition to repeated emphasis on the parting of ways being a mutual decision that was best for all parties, Schlenk addressed a timeline for the hire.

“I wouldn’t want to put a hard date on it,” Schlenk said. “But we will certainly begin the search quickly. I think it’s important to make this decision — first off, we’re going to do a thorough (search), we’re not going to make a rash decision but we’re going to do a thorough job — but I think it’s important to get our new coach in here and start the process of moving forward.”

When prompted specifically about the upcoming 2018 NBA Draft, Schlenk stated that he “would assume it will happen before the draft” but, when asked about an accelerated timeline surrounding the draft lottery and, by extension, pre-draft workouts, Schlenk was less committal. He said that a coach would be in place “ideally” but he “does not think it is mandatory that the (new) coach is involved in that.”

When prompted about the traits he is seeking in the hiring process, Schlenk placed the emphasis on connection with the young roster and, in typical Hawks fashion, player development.

“For where we are right now,” Schlenk said. “One of the things that is important is having a coach that is going to connect with our young players and continue to develop our young players.”

In addition, Schlenk shared information on the candidate pool as it stands now.

“One of the jobs when you’re in a position like mine -- or really any job in management -- you have your contingency list,” Schlenk said. “If and when it is time for change. We certainly have a list together.”

Predictably, Schlenk declined to elaborate on specific candidates or the volume of candidates at this time, though he did share that both experienced head coaches and first-time prospects will be evaluated during the process.

Another subplot to monitor comes in the form of the current assistant coaches. Schlenk shared that he has not yet spoken to the full staff and, while he expressed the desire and intent to do so on Wednesday, it will be very interesting to see what the future holds for Darvin Ham, Taylor Jenkins, Ben Sullivan, Chris Jent and others.

Stay tuned as the head coaching search gets underway.