The Atlanta Hawks picked up a bench upgrade in Ersan Ilyasova at the 2017 NBA trade deadline and, as a result, the team is in better shape for the stretch run than it was one week ago. However, that relatively quiet trade deadline showing reportedly wasn’t because the Hawks weren’t aiming high.
The Atlanta Hawks made aggressive draft pick-centric trade offers for Paul George and Jimmy Butler today, league sources tell ESPN.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 23, 2017
In addition to this revelation, Stein also shed a bit of light as to what Atlanta could have been offering in an attempt to lure one of the game’s best wings.
The Hawks' pitches for PG-13 and Butler excluded core players. Asked if three first-rounder picks were offered , one source said: "More."— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 24, 2017
Because the Hawks don’t have a great number of attractive contracts to move in trade, a deal like this would have to consist primarily of draft picks and that is indicated here. The concept of “more” than three first-round picks may seem crazy but, if Atlanta was able to pull off such a deal, the team’s picks would be less attractive in trade and the asking prices for both George and Butler were reportedly sky high.
Would the Hawks be better off trading three (or more) first round picks in a package along with other assets like Taurean Prince, Tim Hardaway Jr. and DeAndre Bembry if it meant receiving Jimmy Butler or Paul George in return? Probably, but it remains up for debate just how serious these talks were. For now, we can only dream.