With over 37 years of NBA experience, longtime league executive Rick Sund is the Hawks’ senior advisor, basketball operations, after having spent the prior four years as Atlanta’s Executive Vice President and General Manager. Sund saw the Hawks post a record of 184-128 under his leadership, reach the playoffs in each of his four seasons, advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinals three times.
Formerly the General Manager of the Seattle Sonics from 2001-07, Sund and the Sonics were the inaugural champions of the Northwest Division in 2004-05, and the team reached the postseason twice during his tenure.
Prior to that, he served in several different capacities with the Dallas Mavericks from 1979-94, finishing up as Vice President of Basketball Operations. At the start of his tenure, he helped the expansion Mavericks develop their inaugural season roster as the Director of Player Personnel. Selected by team President Norm Sonju, Sund – at the age of 28 – became one of the youngest lead executives in the league.
One of the NBA’s most-respected front office executives, Sund presided over a Mavericks team that won a franchise-record 55 games and took home the Midwest Division title in 1986-87. Dallas matched or improved their record in each of the franchise’s first eight seasons, reaching the playoffs on six occasions and making it to the Western Conference Finals in 1988.
In 1994, he spent one season as a consultant for the Sonics during Wally Walker’s first season as GM, managing the Sonics’ college scouting program and assisting Walker with personnel decisions.
Sund joined the Pistons as Vice President of Player Personnel in the summer of 1995, later assuming the title of Executive VP and General Manager of Basketball Operations. The Pistons, winners of 100 games in his first two seasons, participated in the playoffs four times during his Detroit years, where he spent six seasons (1995-2001).
Sund began his career in Milwaukee under the tutelage of Wayne Embry, spending five years with the Bucks after graduating with a master’s degree in sports administration from Ohio University in 1974.
He was a two-sport athlete at Northwestern University, where in basketball (as a 6-4 guard) he earned CoSIDA Academic All-America (third team) honors in 1973, and was twice named academic All-Big Ten, while also seeing action as a tight end and wide receiver on the football team. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Northwestern.
Sund is a charter member of the advisory board for the University of Michigan’s Division of Kinesiology Sport Management. He previously served on the board of directors for the Special Olympics for the state of Washington, and was an advisory board member of the University of Oregon’s business school’s Warsaw Sports Marketing and Management Division.
Born on June 4, 1951, Sund has completed three marathons and a mini-triathlon. Richard Walker Sund is a native of Elgin, IL, and is a member of the Illinois Basketball Hall of Fame. He and his wife Lea are the parents of two children, daughter Hali and son Patrick, a member of the basketball operations staff of the Golden State Warriors.