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Travis Schlenk steps down as head of Hawks basketball operations, Landry Fields steps in

Atlanta Hawks Introduce Draft Picks - Press Conference

ATLANTA, GA - JULY 30: President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Travis Schlenk talks to the media during the press conference on July 30, 2021 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

In a surprise move, Travis Schlenk, the head of basketball operations for the Atlanta Hawks, has stepped down.

The man who traded Trae Young for Luka Doncic on draft night and then built a roster around Young — with John Collins, Deandre Hunter, Bogdan Bogdanovic and others — that made the Eastern Conference Finals will stay on as a consultant to principal owner Tony Ressler, the team announced. Current general manager Landry Fields will step up to run the team’s day-to-day operations.

“Throughout this season, Tony and I have had multiple, honest conversations about some of the personal things I’ve been going through and how I’ve been feeling, and I appreciate the counsel he has provided me as well as the opportunity he gave me six seasons ago to be a first-time general manager. As we enter a new year, the timing feels right for me to take a step back, reflect and prioritize my family,” Schlenk said.

“I am proud of the group I assembled both on the floor and in the front office. We have built a strong foundation for the Hawks franchise and achieved a high level of success. As an advisor, I look forward to working with Tony and Landry and continuing to make contributions in less visible but still impactful ways.”

The front office shakeup comes amidst a worse-than-expected start to the season in Atlanta.

The Hawks made a bold move last summer to trade for Dejounte Murray as a backcourt mate for Young, but that pair has not meshed as hoped. In addition, there has been tension between Young and coach Nate McMillan, with rumblings about frustration with Young’s style of play. While plenty of experts questioned the fit of Young and Murray, the internal expectation in Atlanta was they would be a team near the top of the East and become a threat to the Celtics and Bucks. Instead, the 16-15 Hawks sit as a play-in team in the East, with a negative net rating and a below-average offense and defense.

Fields will now take over as the Hawks shop Collins at the trade deadline and look for a way to shake up this roster and find more wins.