John Collins is not Jon Koncak. Collins is a fine player – he has averaged 16.6 points and 8.4 rebounds over four seasons – and was one of the reasons these Hawks came within two victories of the NBA Finals. Last winter, Collins declined the Hawks’ re-up offer of $90 million over four seasons. He wants a max contract, which could top $100 million. Can’t blame him for that.
Front offices are at their most vulnerable after experiencing the first blush of success. Just like fans, cold-blooded executives want to keep the good times rolling. In a meeting with AJC writers and editors the day he took ownership of the Hawks, Tony Ressler said of his desire to keep Mike Budenholzer as coach/president and Wes Wilcox as general manager: “I want what’s working, and what’s working is Bud and Wes.”
Sitting a few feet away, I cringed inwardly. (If I cringed outwardly, I apologize.) Budenholzer and Wilcox assumed control during Danny Ferry’s leave of absence, which came after he read an unflattering description of free agent Luol Deng on a conference call. It would have been awkward had the new administration’s first move been to return Ferry – who’d been cleared of racist intent by an outside investigation – to GM duty. Still, what Ressler seemed not to grasp was that the 60-win team he inherited almost entirely was of Ferry’s design.
The tandem of Bud/Wilcox lasted…