Schultz: Hawks at Trade Deadline – “We can’t be 0.500 and not be open to change”


Atlanta – There’s a bell hanging in a house John Collins. It hangs from a red rope and wooden frame and serves an important purpose for hawk straight ahead. It’s the reset button.


“Whenever I feel like I need a pick-me-up, I hit the bell,” he said. “Once a day. It might be when I wake up. Or it might be before a game. But once a day. It helps me clear my head and not think about things.”

Collins also regularly meditates on yoga poses to address life’s problems. It is a microcosm of falconry today.

After a series of out-of-court cases involving disputes between Coach Nate McMillan and superstar Tra Youngadjusting the front office and demoting him from the previous team President and General Manager Travis Schlink A shooting of Three Scouts, and emotional action Majority owner Tony Resslerno one can be sure in which direction the actual basketball product is headed.

Atlanta went from hashing over . 500 to losing seven out of 10 to winning the fifth straight season of dropping consecutive winnable games – hitting 19 at home and allowing 73 points in the second half to low. hornets On Saturday, then committing 19 turnovers in a loss to Chicago on Monday.

This is especially important now because NBA The trade deadline is two weeks. The Falcons (24-24) are eighth overall in the Eastern Conference, on the brink of becoming a leading team again and close to crashing out of the playoffs (three games) in sixth overall (two). Here’s some punctuation: Six of their next seven games before the deadline are on the road. not perfect.

So what will they be on deadline?

Buyers, hoping to improve scoring depth and/or defensive assistance?

Sellers, with Collins, rumor going on with ears, at the heart of the conversations?

A prayer hoping for divine intervention?

“At this point, there are so many moving parts that it’s hard to say what we’re going to do,” General Manager Landry Fields said in a text message. “I’m not sure what traditional bucket—buyer, seller, etc.—we’ll fall into. We’re open. Something we’re definitely looking forward to is bringing in more specific properties that we want to build in the future: basketball IQ, workers, to name a few. Limitation. Don’t read that like we don’t have it, because we do. But we want certain traits to start defining our players a little bit more.”

When asked if any of the Atlanta players should be considered banned, Fields replied, “We can’t be a . 500 ball club and not be open to change. Obviously some players are less mobile for a variety of reasons, but we’ll all be all ears.”

Fields’ comments about the need for more people with high IQs, and even relative players, are interesting. But these big photo slate changes are often easy to make in the summer. Likewise, it’s easier to trade players to big contracts in the off-season when other teams are reshaping their rosters.

It’s understandable why Collins needs to meditate the most. He has been at the center of trade rumors for three years. He’s a well-liked player, but the three years left on a $125 million contract make him problematic, and Atlanta almost certainly won’t get the same value in any deal. It’s hard to imagine a deal in which Collins leaves on deadline and the team improves this season – it would be more than a salary dump.

Collins has said repeatedly that he wants to stay in Atlanta. He said he got “clarity” from the organization.

what does that mean?

“I feel like a lot of the things that are going on now are rumors. The organization has been great. They told me so many times that they wanted me to be here and be a cornerstone of the franchise. So again, what I deal with and do here is different than what you guys know because of what I’ve been told.” And the experiences that I have.”

Did they already say they don’t trade you?

“I don’t know if it was said specifically, but it was said they wanted me here. It’s just a messy situation at this point, and the less talked about it the better. If I’m here, I’m here. If I go, I have to start somewhere.” Else… But the feeling in the conversations I’ve had with them is, I’m a Hawk and they want me to be here.”

For the record, Fields was noncommittal when asked about Collins’ condition at last week’s trade deadline.

“It’s been an ongoing issue for three years,” Collins said. “So I have to deal with it. Like my mother told me when I was growing up: ‘It sucks.'”

And the bell rang. But the Hawks may need more than that.

(Photo by John Collins: Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

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