Hawks Owner Explains Drive To See Atlanta Boast A Top Contender And Prime Free Agent Destination

Written by Chris Baxter
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The Atlanta Hawks are hopeful of improving on the run that earned them a trip to the Eastern Conference finals last season and, if owner Tony Ressler has his way, they will be one of the biggest contenders for the NBA Championship moving forward. 

As one would expect, NBA betting sites don’t have the Hawks high on their list of winners, with the Brooklyn Nets still favored to win the title next year. Atlanta is 33/1 for NBA glory this season and it will be interesting to see how they build on their unlikely playoff run this term.
 
Ressler isn’t planning on keeping the strings to his purse too tight as he’s very keen on spending whatever it takes to make his team competitive. The 62-year-old investor spoke extensively to The Athletic and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and explained his drive to turn the Hawks into one of the best teams in the NBA.
 
“Obviously we’re trying to create some stability, so hopefully what we did over the summer evidences our high regard for our players and for our roster,” he remarked. “This was not done by accident and we’re pretty excited about who we are and where we are. I think people, when they see the Atlanta Hawks on their schedule, are preparing differently this season. That I would bet you. Every single team. So we’re going to see how good we are. And we think we’re going to be pretty good.”
 
Ressler also claimed there were folks in the organization who felt like they could have had a shot of advancing to the finals had everyone been fit. There is optimism the team could go all the way if everyone remains healthy. 
 
“We expect to be contenders, man,” he added. “We expect to be really good. We hope to be really good, and we’re going to see how it plays out.”
 
 
The Hawks have a good young group highlighted by Trae Young and John Collins. It would appear that the owner is willing to go all out to keep them together. Young could make up to $207 million if he wins the MVP Award or is named to the All-NBA team based on the deal he’s agreed to. Collins has signed a five-year deal to the tune of $125 million, Kevin Huerter has signed a four-year $65 million rookie deal and big man Clint Capela is on a two-year, $42 million deal that could be bumped up to $46 million if he meets certain objectives.
 
Ressler has no problem paying the league’s luxury tax as long as the Hawks are contenders. They’re set to be $7 million over next season’s projected cap -  that sum could reach $13 million if Young is signed to a supermax deal. The number be offset by trading or waiving Danilo Gallinari but, if the Hawks keep Calm Reddish and De’Andre Hunter, they will definitely be over the tax line as they will be eligible for rookie extensions at the end of the season.
 
The investor revealed his hopes to maintain a “high-quality” roster in Atlanta for years to come and is keen on seeing the team become a prime free-agent destination.
 
“Think about that. How could we not be a true free agent destination?” he asked. “We think, I would argue, our facilities are as good as any, our city is as good as any, our roster is as good as any, our investment, our dollars, our commitment to spend is as good as any. It makes no sense that historically this team has not been a top-tier free-agent destination. And I think you have to earn that and make clear that it’s a franchise committed to winning in every sense of the way.
 
“I personally think the signings we made, the extensions we made over the summer indicate something. I can tell you, I can’t speak for others, but John Collins had three tough years here where we really weren’t a good team. He signed a contract. Trae had two really tough years, Kevin had two really tough years. 
 
“These are players that have extended. All I’m saying is those extensions, I hope, send some kind of a message. But yes, you are right. One of the true objectives or genuine objectives of this ownership is to make sure that we win a tie for great players if we have to. That we attract great players, that we keep great players, and that players, frankly, look at Atlanta as a really great place to play. I think that takes a lot of work. Hopefully, we’re pretty close.”
 
The Hawks are certainly moving in the right direction. They have renovated their State Farm Arena and it’s now one of the nicest venues in the NBA. The team is also playing a huge role in community affairs, having reconnected with fans. 
 
Ressler is building something special in Atlanta; whether or not that results in trophies remains to be seen.
 
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Read 214 times Last modified on Thursday, 18 November 2021 16:22
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Chris Baxter

Chris Baxter

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