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Atlanta Hawks GM Landry Fields prepares to make more tough decisions after trading star Dejoute Murray – WABE

Atlanta Hawks GM Landry Fields prepares to make more tough decisions after trading star Dejoute Murray – WABE

While it was hard to conclude that trading Dejounte Murray was necessary, Atlanta Hawks general manager Landry Fields knows he’ll face more challenges this offseason.

The NBA draft brought Atlanta two players, including first-overall pick Zaccharie Risacher. Saturday’s trade with the New Orleans Pelicans added four veterans to the roster, as well as two future first-round draft picks for Murray.

That leaves the Hawks with a bloated roster and the possibility of more veterans leaving Atlanta.

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

“They were tough decisions, a challenge,” Fields said. “We knew that to get to where we wanted to be, we were going to have to make tough decisions. (…) So, between now and the start of the season, we’re going to have some tough decisions to make.”

The Hawks have not won a playoff series since reaching the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals and finished 10th in the Eastern Conference at 36-46 this season.

The first step in the roster shakeup was Fields trading AJ Griffin to Houston and acquiring the rights to guard/forward Nikola Djurisic from Serbia in the draft.

Risacher, a 6-foot-10 forward from France, joins Young and forward Jalen Johnson as the foundation of the rebuild. Risacher made a strong first impression during this week’s NBA Summer League workouts in Las Vegas.

“He shoots like crazy,” Djurisic said of Risacher. “He can make some incredible shots. He can block some shots.”

Forward EJ Liddell, a second-round pick in the 2022 draft who was part of the veteran group acquired from the Pelicans, said Risacher “has a lot of potential to be really good. He’s a tough shooter. He’s big. It’s going to be really hard to contest his shots. And he can handle the ball for a guy that big.”

Liddell, who will also play on the Hawks’ Summer League team, was acquired in Saturday’s trade along with goaltender Dyson Daniels, forward/center Larry Nance Jr. and center Cody Zeller. Daniels was a first-round pick in 2022.

The trade created a surplus of options at center. There was speculation the Hawks could trade Clint Capela, who split playing time with Onyeka Okongwu. Fields said he was trying to reach an agreement with center Bruno Fernando to push back Wednesday’s deadline to secure Fernando’s $2.72 million salary for next season.

Capela, 30, is set to make more than $22 million next year before potentially becoming a free agent.

“I still think highly of Clint, so he’ll be fine,” Fields said.

Daniels, who is expected to provide solid defense, could join Bogdan Bogdanovic, Garrison Mathews, Seth Lundy and others at the shooting guard spot Murray has held. Lundy re-signed on Tuesday to a two-way contract.

Risacher could immediately push De’Andre Hunter to the power forward position. Fields said he hopes Risacher uses the Summer League experience to “get more and more settled in, get used to playing a new style of basketball.”

Risacher, 19, said he was “super excited” to begin the transition from European basketball to the NBA.

“There’s so many differences between these two teams,” Risacher said. “First of all, of course, it’s bigger. And the way we play here is a little bit different. And that’s, you know, it’s good. … It’s really interesting for me to experience and be able to play here with all these great players.”