Hawks plan to be aggressive, but responsible in offseason

Hawks GM Travis Schlenk says the team will be aggressive, but needs to be judicious this offseason.

The Atlanta Hawks have stated intentions of being aggressive this summer in terms of pursuing free agents.

However, general manager Travis Schlenk and coach Lloyd Pierce told Robby Kalland of Dime Magazine that the team does not plan to force the issue or to simply spend just to spend.

“I think what’s really important is a lot of times mistakes are made when teams go, ‘We have this cap space, we need to use it,’” Schlenk said. “You can’t spend it on the wrong guy. Right? I say all the time, if you make a mistake in a draft, it doesn’t kill your franchise.

“Obviously, you don’t want to make mistakes, but you’re talking about a two-year guaranteed contract with a small dollar amount. You make mistakes and free agents, and now you’re talking, to today’s world, a four-year contract at $25 to 30 million. Those can be [killers].”

Pierce, heading toward the conclusion of his first season as a head coach in the NBA, believes the perception of the Hawks and Atlanta as a basketball city have taken a solid turn for the good.

“We feel like we’re in a position now where we feel like people are going to look at the Atlanta Hawks and say, ‘They’re onto something,’” Pierce said. “Young guys that are really good. Young culture that they’ve established that everyone loves, and that’s what we’re talking about. The arena, ownership, GM, coach are all aligned. They came in at the same time, they’re on the same page, year after year after year. They turned it around, they added these three young guys to it, they’re headed in the right direction.”

Even so, Pierce, was in lockstep with Schlenk in saying the Hawks can’t force the issue.

“But we can’t skip that step, either. I don’t know what the next step is, if there’s a perfect free agent or the perfect locker room guy that can come in and help us, that’s great. But if there isn’t, we can’t force it.”