close
close

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 general manager Landry Fields knows 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 the 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.

Fields said Wednesday that the decision to trade Murray, who joined Trae Young in Atlanta’s high-scoring backcourt the past two seasons, followed the conclusion that “we wanted to reshape some things.”

“It was hard decisions, challenging,” Fields said. “We knew that where we ultimately want to be would 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 acquires the rights to guard/forward Nikola Djurisic of Serbia in the draft.

The 6-foot-9 Risacher, a forward from France, joins Young and forward Jalen Johnson as the foundation of the rebuild. 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 of Risacher. “He can hit some wild shots. He can block some shots.”

Forward EJ Liddell, a 2022 second-round draft pick who was part of the veteran package acquired from the Pelicans, said Risacher “has a lot of potential to be really good. He’s a tough shooter. 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, guard Dyson Daniels, forward/center Larry Nance Jr. and 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 could trade Clint Capela, who has been splitting time with Onyeka Okongwu. Fields said he was trying to reach an agreement with 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 provide strong defense, could join Bogdan Bogdanovic, Garrison Mathews, Seth Lundy and others at the shooting guard spot 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.”

___

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

Back To Top