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Hawks GM Landry Fields braces for tougher decisions after trading Dejounte Murray to Pelicans

ATLANTA (AP) — No matter how difficult it was to conclude that trade Dejounte Murray was necessary, Atlanta Hawks director general Landry Fields know he faces more challenges this offseason.

The NBA draft gave Atlanta two players, including the No. 1 overall pick Zachary Risacher. Saturday’s trade with New Orleans Pelicans added four veterans to the roster, plus two future first-round draft picks, for Murray.

That leaves the Hawks with an overstocked roster and the possibility that more veterans could leave Atlanta.

Field said Wednesday that the decision to trade Murray, which went Trae Young in Atlanta’s high scoring back the past two seasons, concluded that “we wanted to reshape some things.”

“It was hard decisions, challenging,” Fields said. “We knew that where we ultimately want to be was going to require some challenging decisions. … So between now and the start of the season, we’re going to have some more tough decisions to make.”

The Hawks have not won a playoff series since advancing to the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals and they finished 10th in the Eastern Conference at 36-46 this season.

The first step in reshaping the roster was Fields trade of AJ Griffin to Houston and acquire the rights to guard/broadcast Nikola Djurisic of Serbia in the draft.

The 6-foot-9 Risacher, a forward from France, joins Young and forward Jalen Johnson as a basis for the reconstruction. Risacher has made a strong first impression in practice this week for the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

“He shoots the ball like crazy” Djurisic said about Risacher. “He can hit some wild shots. He can block some shots.”

Forward NO Liddella 2022 second-round draft pick who was part of the veteran package acquired from the Pelicans, Risacher said “has a lot of potential to be really good. He’s a tough shot maker. He’s tall. It’s going to be really tough to contest his shot. And he can handle the ball for such a tall guy.”

Liddell, who will also play on the Hawks’ Summer League team, is at guard Dyson Danielsfront/center Larry Nance Jr. and the center Cody Zeller was acquired in Saturday’s trade. Daniels first round pick in 2022.

The trade created a glut of options at center. There has been speculation that the Hawks may trade Clint Capelawho have shared time with Onyeka Okongwu. Fields said he was trying to reach an agreement with the center Bruno Fernando to push back Wednesday’s deadline to guarantee Fernando’s $2.72 million salary for next season.

Capela, 30, will make more than $22 million next year before potentially becoming a free agent.

“I still put a lot of value in Clint, so it should go well,” Fields said.

Daniels, who is expected to be a strong defense, could be involved Bogdan Bogdanovic, Garrison Mathews, Seth Lundy and others in the shooting guard position that had been manned by Murray. Lundy signed a new two-way contract on Tuesday.

Risacher was able to immediately push De’Andre Hunter at small forward. Fields said he hopes Risacher uses the Summer League experience to “become more and more integrated, used to actually playing a new style of basketball.”

Risacher, 19, said he was “super excited” to begin the transition from European basketball to the NBA.

“There are so many differences between these two,” Risacher said. “First of all, it is of course bigger. And exactly how we play here is a little different. And that’s, you know, that’s good. … It’s really interesting for me to discover and be able to play here with all these great players.”

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba

Charles Odum, Associated Press

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