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As Hawks search for GM, draft preparations continue uninterrupted

While the Hawks search for a general manager continues, the basketball operations staff continues to work on the upcoming NBA Draft with little interruption.

In making the announcement of major changes to the Hawks front office two weeks ago, principal owner Tony Ressler said he would rely on senior advisor Rick Sund during the interim. Sund confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the draft preparation is moving forward with little change from the norm.

“The status quo continues,” Sund said. “It’s pretty solid.”

Ressler recently revamped the basketball operations staff with Mike Budenholzer giving up his title of president and remaining as head coach and Wes Wilcox giving up his title of general manager and becoming a special advisor to ownership. Wilcox is no longer a part of the day-to-day operations of the department. He did not attend last week’s NBA Draft Combine in Chicago.

Sund said the preparation for the draft is working as it would have with Budenholzer and Wilcox in their previous roles.

Assistant general manager Jeff Peterson is the point person on the draft, a coordinator’s role he has served that past under Wilcox, and continues preparation for the Hawks entry in the Las Vegas Summer League in July. Director of player personnel John Treloar continues to run pre-draft workouts. Director of basketball operations Mike McNeive continues to gather player evaluations for the draft. Sund said the preparation is not unusual and he has served as the point person in the absence of Wilcox.

Ressler said he that while he did not want to put a timetable on the search for a new general manager he indicated he would like to have the position filled before the NBA Draft on June 22. Questions about who will make the final decisions come the draft will become an issue by mid-June if a hire has not been made. The Hawks are slated to have three selections in the upcoming draft with picks Nos. 19, 31 and 60. Following the draft, the NBA free agency period begins July 1.

Sund said the basketball operations department continues to run in a collaborative effort, much the same as it did under pervious leadership in Danny Ferry and Budenholzer/Wilcox. Sund said he has expanded his role as a senior advisor in the interim but will continue to speak to other teams when necessary and evaluate talent.

Sund has served as a senior advisor for the Hawks since 2012. He served as executive vice president and general manager with the team from 2008-12. Sund has more than 40 years of NBA experience including stints as general manager and in various front office positions with the SuperSonics, Mavericks, Pistons and Bucks.

The Hawks sent a contingent to the Draft Combine that included Sund, Budenholzer, Peterson and assistant coaches Charles Lee and Ben Sullivan. The team has already held pre-draft workouts in Atlanta with more scheduled over the next few weeks.

The Hawks hired Turnkey Sports and Entertainment as a search firm in the selection of a new general manager. The new general manager will run in the entire basketball operations department.

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