Owner Tony Wrestler vows Atlanta Hawks will not stand out of season

ATLANTA – The Hawks’ main owner Tony Wrestler said on Thursday that the team will not repeat the “mistake” of complacency that he believes set the stage for the disappointing exit of the first round of this season from the playoffs.

Wrestler has said the Hawks will not be able to afford it this season – even if it means paying a payroll tax.

The Hawks returned a young backbone led by Tray Young and John Collins from the team that was eliminated by the Milwaukee Bucks in last season’s Eastern Conference finals. Ressler said he believed the team would only improve based on experience.

The Hawks, on the other hand, escaped the No. 8 seed play-in tournament before losing to the Miami Heat in five games in the opening round of the playoffs.

“We thought we would be better this season,” Ressler said Thursday. “We intend to get better this off-season.”

Ressler said he placed too much stock in last year’s postseason surprise. The only major deal for general manager Travis Schlenk during the season was to exchange striker Cam Reddish for the New York Knicks for Kevin Knox, who rarely played, and a protected first-round draft.

“I think if you asked our front office, they would say that we thought based on last season’s visit to the Eastern Conference finals that we could bring back basically the same team and get better and expect it to be better,” he said. Ressler. “I do not think it worked the way we thought it would.

“Well, yes, I think we should have tried to get better instead of bringing back what we had. This will not happen again, by the way. It was a mistake, in my opinion.”

Wrestler said he had “tremendous confidence” in Slenk and coach Nate McMillan, adding that he, GM and coach “all performed poorly” this season.

Ressler’s honest assessment is a validation of a plan to shake up the roster for next season. It is possible for any player other than Young to be available in a trade.

Ressler was also honest in saying that he is open to paying for new players, even if it means paying payroll tax. He amended his earlier statement that he would only be open to paying the tax if the team was a league contender.

“Going into tax does not scare us,” Wrestler said.

“Getting into taxation is not, at least in my opinion, only possible if we are playing for a league that season. Our job is to impose taxes when it’s a good job, to position ourselves for greatness …. We are not afraid to spend “We absolutely expect Atlanta to be a really attractive market for anyone thinking of playing here. Money will not be an obstacle for us.”

The Hawks negotiated extensions for their key players last off-season, including the rookie’s maximum five-year contract extension of $ 207 million with Young. a five-year, $ 125 million deal with Collins. and a four-year $ 65 million extension with Kevin Huerter.

Led by Young, the Hawks prided themselves on a high-scoring attack, but were ranked among the worst defensive teams in the league. The re-signing of reserve point guard Delon Wright, one of the team’s top defenders and unlimited free agent, could be a priority.

Based on Ressler’s call for change, the Hawks are expected to seek help elsewhere.

Asked if the team needs another star to join Young, Wrestler said: “I think every team in the NBA should add a superstar whenever they can and I promise you are no exception.”

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