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In an unexpected move last week, news broke that the Hawks will promote Landry Fields to general manager on July 1. The 33-year-old will still report to team president Travis Schlenk, but it's still an important distinction. Yesterday, the Hawks hosted an introductory press conference for their new general manager, so let's review five key takeaways we learned from the presser.

Danilo Gallinari Potentially Staying in Atlanta

Mar 25, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward Danilo Gallinari (8) shoots over Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) in the second half at State Farm Arena.

The Hawks could waive Danilo Gallinari to save money.

When asked if there’s interest in keeping Danilo Gallinari on the team, Fields said, “Potentially. Potentially.” Atlanta's front office must decide on Gallinari soon. If the 33-year-old power forward is still on the team come July, he is owed $21.5 million. If he is waived before then, he is only owed $5 million.

Fields said of Gallinari, "Gallo has been really good for us these past two seasons. It’s something that we have ongoing talks about. I think we’re factoring in other variables as we get closer to the draft in what that means for us from that standpoint. I think from there; we’ll be able to make an informed decision.”

Hawks Defensive Identity 

Mar 14, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Josh Hart (11) dribbles against Atlanta Hawks guard Kevin Huerter (3) during the first half at State Farm Arena.

Improving on defense is a top priority for the Hawks this offseason.

It's no secret that defense was the Hawks Achilles heel. The team ranked bottom-five in defensive rating during the regular season. Fields highlighted creating a defensive identity as one of his main priorities.

“The identity defensively, that’s something we’re going to have to build into. That’s been part of the reason why we haven’t taken that step. We have to have an everyday hard-hat approach to our defensive capabilities. For us, it’s how do we get tougher? How do we continue to make the right rotations? How do we take pride in point-of-attack defense? All of those things are considered into that. The identity piece is going to come when we see it consistently."

Fields continued, “Part of the process of where we’re at as a group, we still have a young group. Playing defense in this league is hard. Everyone watches the teams that advance in the playoffs, that is a mindset and a continuous progression they have to go through. I chalk that up to guys continuing to learn.”

Hawks Offseason Plans

Feb 11, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Delon Wright (0) shoots against the San Antonio Spurs in the second half at State Farm Arena.

Delon Wright could be re-signed this summer.

While it is a very fluid situation in Atlanta right now, Fields did mention two players as part of a larger picture - De'Andre Hunter and Delon Wright. Of course, Hunter is still on his rookie contract for another season. However, the 24-year-old small forward will soon be eligible for contract negotiations.

Fields said the Hawks "hope to get something done" in regards to a Hunter contract extension this summer. Additionally, Fields praised Wright and expressed interest in bringing the unrestricted free agent back next season.

Hawks Draft Plans

Jalen Johnson (Duke) poses with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number twenty overall pick by the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft at Barclays Center.

Atlanta's front office has flexibility in the 2022 NBA Draft.

The Hawks have two picks in Thursday night's NBA Draft - No. 16 and No. 44. However, there have been rumors involving the team staying put, packaging those picks in a trade, and potentially moving up to as high as No. 4.

Fields said, "We feel great at 16." He continued, “If there’s a chance for us to move up and get a player we really like, or if there’s a chance to move back and get something in compensation for that, that’s what we’re going to do because that’s ultimately going to help us get better in more than just on the court.”

Hawks Vision for Future

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) and head coach Nate McMillan both spoke on the rise in COVID cases in the NBA on December 17, 2021.

Atlanta's front office believes the team has a "ways to go".

Fields attempted to manage expectations. He reiterated that they were a young team with "a ways to go." Fields said, “We still have areas, especially defensively, we have to continue growing. To put an exact time frame on it is difficult because you’re working with nuance and complexity with humanity. At the same time, our guys are hungry, and they’ve been working hard. For us in the front office and collaborating with our coaches, I think we’ve done an extremely good job this offseason, and it hopefully sets us up for the future.”

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