The Atlanta Hawks pulled off one high-profile trade during the 2018 NBA Draft and, according to GM Travis Schlenk, the team was very close to another. In speaking to 95.7 The Game in San Francisco on Friday (h/t ESPN), Schlenk reportedly noted that the Hawks essentially locked in a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks that would have vaulted Atlanta from No. 19 to No. 17 by using an asset.
“Last night, for instance, we had the 19th pick, and we’re coming down and we’re actually talking to Milwaukee on the 17th pick, talking about trading up to get a guy we like. There’s were a couple of guys we felt really good about on the 19th pick, obviously Kevin [Huerter] was one of them, and it leaked who Milwaukee was going to take.”
In Schlenk’s words, eventual No. 19 pick Kevin Huerter was the target but Atlanta balked at the deal after a media leak revealed that the Bucks were set to take Villanova’s Donte DiVincenzo at No. 17 while passing on Huerter.
”So, all of a sudden, we were able to pull back out of that deal and keep the draft pick instead of packaging picks to move up because we knew that, two guys on the board we felt really good about and only one team in between us, so that was beneficial to us last night.”
It is certainly noteworthy that Schlenk would reveal this in public form, even if it makes complete sense in some ways. If the Hawks had something of a two-player tier at this point in the draft that did not include DiVincenzo, Atlanta’s calculus would have changed after finding out, however weirdly, that the Bucks were going in a different direction.
On the heels of all kinds of buzz about the way the draft was covered (and tipped off) throughout the evening, this will add fuel to the fire nationally. Locally, though, Schlenk’s maneuver here seemingly saved the Hawks an asset for the future and that matters.