The Atlanta Hawks appeared to be a franchise on the rise after they made the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals and even pushed the eventual champions Milwaukee Bucks to six games. However, despite Trae Young’s continued excellence the following season, the Hawks sputtered down the standings and ended up losing in the first round of the playoffs last season. Nevertheless, the Hawks looked like they were one star away from becoming a dark-horse contender once more, hence their blockbuster trade for All-Star guard Dejounte Murray.

But there may have been more than meets the eye behind the Hawks’ decision to give up three first-round picks, a pick swap, Danilo Gallinari, and essentially Kevin Huerter, in exchange for Dejounte Murray.

Per Sam Amick of The Athletic, Nick Ressler, Hawks owner Tony Ressler’s son, was a chief driving force behind the Hawks’ pursuit of Murray, to which former president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk expressed his reservations over. Schlenk thought that the Hawks were giving up too much in exchange for the 6’4 guard.

Alas, Nick Ressler evidently had the final say, as he boasts an inordinate amount of influence in the Hawks front office. It even got to the point where some members of the front office felt like Ressler was “undermining” them. These tricky power dynamics ultimately led to Travis Schlenk’s move into a senior advisory role, with Landry Fields taking over his position.

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With all that said, Dejounte Murray, despite understandably seeing a decline to his assist and rebound numbers, is still scoring and defending at an All-Star level amid their middling 2022-23 campaign. However, he hasn’t taken the Hawks to a higher level like many expected he would. His fit with Trae Young isn’t the most seamless, with the Hawks offense giving off “your turn, my turn” vibes.

Moreover, trading away Kevin Huerter has proven costly for a team ranked dead last in the NBA in three-point makes per game. The sight of Huerter scorching the nets at Golden 1 Center is surely a painful one for Hawks fans.

Nonetheless, despite being 19-22 on the season, the Hawks remain in position to claim a play-in berth. And with Tony Ressler seeking to add a more experienced figure in the front office, their season may only get better from here.