Hawks to allow over 7,000 fans for playoffs

The Atlanta Hawks announced plans to increase attendance for postseason play to 7,625 fans, approximately 45 percent of State Farm Arena’s full capacity, the team announced on Monday.

According to the team, the plan received approval from both the NBA and the Georgia Department of Public Health. The Hawks opened the 2020-21 season with no fans in attendance before increasing capacity to 1300 fans on January 26 and later increasing to 3000 fans for the second half of the season on March 13.

At 35-30 (.538), the Hawks are currently in 5th place in the Eastern Conference with seven games remaining (six at State Farm Arena) in the regular season. 

In addition, the Hawks will offer a 500-person vaccinated fan section, in which fans with proof of vaccination can be seated without social distancing. Additional lower bowl seating will be added to the East side of the building as plexiglass will be added behind player benches and other areas throughout the building for additional safety. Masks will continue to be required for all fans inside the arena.

This is welcomed news for the Hawks and gives them more of a home-court advantage come playoff time.

Hawks trade Rajon Rondo to Clippers for Lou Williams

The Atlanta Hawks have acquired guard Lou Williams, along with two second-round picks and cash considerations from the LA Clippers in exchange for guard Rajon Rondo, the team announced on Thursday.

The 34-year-old Williams is a native of Snellville, GA, and previously played for the Hawks from 2012-14.

“Being able to acquire a respected veteran in Lou Williams, one of the best scorers and playmakers off the bench in league history, and two second-round picks accomplished a couple of the goals we had,” said Hawks President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Travis Schlenk. “We are excited to see what Lou can add to our second unit as we try to finish this season strong.”

Rondo never could get things going with the Hawks this season. In 27 games, the 35-year-old Rondo averaged 3.9 ppg and 3.5 APG. 

The three-time winner of the NBA’s Sixth Man Award has appeared in 42 games (three starts) this season for the Clippers, averaging 12.1 points, 3.4 assists, and 2.1 rebounds in 21.9 minutes (.421 FG%, .378 3FG%, .866 FT%).

The Clippers get a proven winner in Rondo, who helped the Lakers capture an NBA title last season. The hope is “Playoff Rondo” shows up once again. The four-time All-Star, and two-time NBA All-Defensive First Team, could be a calming force for Los Angeles come playoff time. 

For the Hawks, they get a scorer and instant offense with Williams. They’re hoping he can help this team climb the standings in the Eastern Conference.

Cavs’ Garland: ‘We just gotta get out of that little All-Star break funk’

For three quarters, the Cleveland Cavaliers(14-24) played some fairly decent basketball and trailed by three points entering the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Hawks(19-20) on Sunday night. 

However, there are four quarters in a game, and the Cavaliers were outscored by 15 points in the final period and would fall to the Hawks on the road 100-82.

Atlanta’s John Collins had a game-high 22 points and 13 rebounds, Danilo Gallinari poured in 20 points, and Nathan Knight added 16 points off the bench. Collin Sexton led the way for Cleveland with 15 points.

Before the start of the fourth quarter, Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff thought his team needed to fight hard to get the win on Sunday night, which did not happen.

“We talked about it at the third quarter break,” Bickerstaff said. “The team that found that scrap and that grit was going to be the team that won the game, and I thought they out-scrapped us in the fourth quarter, for sure.”

Cleveland had won four out of five games before the break. According to Bickerstaff, the Cavaliers, who have lost two straight after the All-Star break, have to get their rhythm back.

“We’ve lost our rhythm, clearly over the break,” he said. “Some of the grit and some of the toughness that we were playing with before the break, we need to rediscover here quickly because I thought there were so many moments where we were outplayed and outworked.”

Darius Garland, who made his return after missing the last two games due to a groin injury, and scored 11 points for Cleveland, added: “We just gotta get out of that little All-Star break funk.”

Before the break, Cleveland seemed to have found a rhythm with Dean Wade as the starter at power forward. After the break, with Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr’s return, the team has lost its rhythm. Unfortunately, the break came at the wrong team for this team, and trying to integrate Love and Nance Jr. has been an issue for Cleveland, but they have to find their way, and it does not get any easier as they travel to Miami to battle the Heat on Tuesday night, who have won 10 of their last 11, including four straight.

Notes:

Love played in his second game with the team on Sunday after missing 33 games with a calf injury but left after two minutes of action. According to the team, Love didn’t feel right after a couple of trips down the floor and didn’t want to risk a setback.

Hawks fire head coach Lloyd Pierce

Atlanta Hawks have fired head coach Lloyd Pierce, the team announced on Monday. Assistant coach Nate McMillan will take over the team on an interim basis. 

The Hawks, who started 10-9 but are now 14-20, have been hit hard by injuries this season, including injuries to Danilo Gallinari, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and De’Andre Hunter. In over two seasons, Pierce compiled a 63-120 (.344) in 183 games.

“We would like to thank Lloyd for his work and commitment to not only the Hawks organization but the city of Atlanta. He and his wife, Melissa, are tremendous people who have made a positive impact throughout the city,” said Hawks GM Travis Schlenk in a statement about Pierce. “We have high expectations for our team on the court, and we believe by making this change now that we can have a strong second half of the season.”

The 56-year-old McMillan joined the Hawks coaching staff on Nov. 11, 2020. As head coach with Seattle (2000-05), Portland (2005-12) and Indiana (2016-20), McMillan led his teams to a 661-588 (.529) mark in 1,249 career regular season games and has 53 games of postseason coaching experience.

Last season, the Pacers finished 45-28 (.616), second in the Central Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. In his four years with Indiana, the club recorded a 183-136 mark (.574), advancing to the playoffs each season.

Doncic on the Mavs: ‘I still feel great about this team’

On Wednesday night, the Dallas Mavericks(9-13) finally looked like the team that many thought they could be when the season began. Dallas had three players with 20 points or more. Luka Doncic had 27 points and 14 assists, Kristaps Porzingis had 24 points and 11 rebounds, and Tim Hardway Jr. chipped in with 22 points off the bench as Dallas defeated the Hawks(10-11) on the road 122-115. 

With the victory, the Mavericks snap their six-game losing streak.

Much needed win,” Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle said after the game. “Guys did a good job of fighting back from a deficit at halftime… I loved the way we fought and played good team basketball.”

Doncic added: “We got a win, and that’s all that matters to me. We were so happy after the game. It’s been a tough stretch. Always feels good to win a game.”

Even during the six-game losing streak, Porzingis kept the faith, which he discussed after the game.

“You always gotta have the faith and the confidence that you can go back at any moment and go on the run the opposite way, winning, so that’s what we are looking forward to now,” Porzingis said. “Just bouncing back and getting a good rhythm as a team, as a group, and showing what we are capable of.”

The Mavericks now have a seven-game homestand, which starts on Thursday night against the Warriors. With everything that has gone wrong for Dallas, Doncic still feels good about the team.

“I still feel great about this team,” Doncic said. ‘We just got a couple of guys coming back now. They’re still trying to get into shape after COVID, but I think we will be okay. Just a tough stretch. We have to stay positive and just enjoy the basketball.”

The Mavericks can turn it around. A lot of basketball left in this season, and now that they have their full roster, maybe this is the time they get right. 

Hawks’ GM: ‘Danilo(Gallinari) checks a lot of boxes for what we have prioritized

The Atlanta Hawks have acquired forward Danilo Gallinari  and cash considerations from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for a conditional 2025 second-round pick in a sign-and-trade transaction, the team announced on Tuesday.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s a three-year, $61.5 million contract.

“Danilo checks a lot of boxes for what we have prioritized. We wanted to add productive veterans and high-level shooting to our group and he provides both. At his size, he is one of the league’s most versatile and efficient scorers and he has proven to be the type of veteran you want in your locker room,” said Hawks President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Travis Schlenk.

Last season in 62 games with Oklahoma City, the 6-foot-10 native of Sant’Angelo Lodigiano, Italy averaged 18.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 29.6 minutes (.438 FG%, .405 3FG%, .893 FT%), ranking 16th in the league in three-pointers made (178), tied for 19th in three-point percentage and sixth in free-throw percentage. Over the last two seasons, the 11-year veteran has averaged 19.3 points while shooting .418 3FGs (on 6.2 3FGA per game).

The 32-year-old Gallinari was the sixth overall pick by the Knicks in the 2008 NBA Draft following an Italian League MVP season with Olimpia Milano.

Hawks’ GM: ‘Rajon(Rondo) is an intense competitor, a proven winner and a true student of the game’

The Atlanta Hawks have signed free agent guard Rajon Rondo, the team announced today.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it a two-year, $15 million deal.

“Rajon is an intense competitor, a proven winner, and a true student of the game,” said Hawks President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Travis Schlenk. “His resume and experience speak for themselves. We’re excited to add him to our group.”

The 34-year-old Rondo, a two-time NBA champion (including in 2020 with the Lakers), four-time All-Star, and two-time NBA All-Defensive First Team member, has led the NBA in assists three times and in steals once.

In 873 career regular season games (729 starts) with Boston, Dallas, Sacramento, Chicago, New Orleans, and the Los Angeles Lakers, he’s averaged 10.2 points, 8.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.7 steals in 31.0 minutes (.458 FG%, .316 3FG%, .606 FT%). The 6-foot-1 Rondo has 121 games of career postseason experience (105 starting assignments), averaging 13.3 points, 9.0 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 1.8 steals in 35.9 minutes (.444 FG%, .320 3FG%, .648 FT%).

Among active NBA players, the 14-year veteran ranks fourth in assists (7,215, 15th overall in NBA history) and sixth in steals (1,451).

The 21st overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft by Phoenix, Rondo was traded to the Celtics on draft night. He earned NBA All-Defensive First Team honors in 2010 and 2011, All-Defensive Second Team in 2009 and 2012, Third Team All-NBA in 2012, and Second Team All-Rookie in 2007.

Rondo is a proven winner and last season with the Lakers proved that. Now, he brings his winning mentally to a young Hawks team ready to next that step.

Atlanta Hawks unveil new jerseys (PHOTOS)

Something new is happening in Atlanta! The Atlanta Hawks today revealed new uniforms, inspired by the franchise’s signature colors and marks synonymous with the team and its history in the city of Atlanta since 1968.

In addition to the uniforms, the team also released new primary and secondary logos along with new ‘Atlanta Hawks’ wordmarks. The team will begin wearing these uniforms to start the 2020-21 season.

Infinity Black and Legacy Yellow rejoin Torch Red and Granite Gray to create a visual identity derived from the Hawks proud heritage. These core colors have been present throughout the Hawks’ time in Atlanta, having adorned more than five decades of Hawks Basketball including Hawks Legends Lou Hudson, Pete Maravich, Dikembe Mutombo and Dominique Wilkins.

Each color symbolizes integral components of the Hawks franchise and its commitment to the state of Georgia and city of Atlanta:

 TORCH RED: Red is a consistent thread throughout Atlanta Hawks teams from our beginning in 1968. This primary color symbolizes the heart of our unending quest for excellence, our red-hot spirit and fiery passion for the game.

INFINITY BLACK: Affirms the Atlanta Hawks’ bold and relentless pursuit of a championship, fueled by the support of our unwavering fans and a love for our city that will never die.

LEGACY YELLOW: This signature color is an homage to the golden era of Hawks basketball.  A hue that shines brightly, reminding us of the shoulders on which we stand.

GRANITE GRAY: Signifies our firm foundation comprised of deep character, class, strength and integrity. Dedicated to supporting each other and our community.

Photos:

2021 ATL Hawks Uniform Colorway2021 ATL Hawks Trae John2021 ATL Hawks Brand Identity2021 ATL Hawks Uniform Promo

 

Hawks on John Lewis: ‘Our nation will be forever indebted to him for his lifelong dedication to public service’

The world lost a great man. Congressman John Lewis died on Friday night. He was 80. Lewis, who battled pancreatic cancer, was a civil rights icon. The Georgia congressman battled racial segregation in the south and helped Dr. Martin Luther King organize the March on Washington in 1963. Lewis spent three decades in Congress and was re-elected for his 17th term in 2018. 

On Saturday, the Atlanta Hawks released the following statement on the passing of Congressman John Lewis:

“The Atlanta Hawks mourn the loss of Congressman John Lewis. Last night, our city and country lost one of its heroes and most important civil rights icons who was highly regarded for his nearly six decades of social activism and getting into ‘good trouble’. He continued to inspire so many with his courage, sacrifice and unwavering dedication to the highest ethical standards and moral principles. His legacy will forever be remembered throughout the city’s peaceful protests to fight racial inequality in the 1960s, and our nation will be forever indebted to him for his lifelong dedication to public service. The entire Hawks organization sends their deepest condolences to Mr. Lewis’ family and his friends.”

Hawks hire first female GM in G League history

The Atlanta Hawks and their NBA G League affiliate, the College Park Skyhawks, name Tori Miller as the General Manager, the team announced on Thursday.

Miller’s promotion establishes her as the first woman to hold the title of General Manager in the history of the NBA G League. Former Skyhawks General Manager Derek Pierce will continue to oversee Atlanta’s scouting department in his role as Vice President of Player Personnel for the Hawks.

Miller, who was named Assistant General Manager of the Skyhawks on July 30, 2019, began her tenure with the organization as Manager of Basketball Operations three seasons ago with the Erie BayHawks. A native of Decatur, GA, Miller is a University of Miami graduate and spent time as a Basketball Operations Intern for the Phoenix Suns prior to her time in the G League.