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NBA Draft rumors: Atlanta Hawks reportedly “aggressive” in attempt to trade up

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NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Duke Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Dating back to late May, whispers have circulated that the Atlanta Hawks could aim to package multiple first round selections in the 2019 NBA Draft with an eye toward a pick in the top five. After acquiring another first-round pick in the Allen Crabbe-Taurean Prince swap, those whispers intensified. Given the predominance of those rumors, nothing should be shocking at this point in the pre-draft cycle but, on Tuesday afternoon, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony added fuel to the fire in reporting that the Hawks have been “aggressive” in exploring trade packages, including specific discussions with the New Orleans Pelicans at No. 4 overall.

In recent days, the Cleveland Cavaliers have been a commonly discussed trade partner for the Hawks, with Cleveland holding two picks (No. 5 and No. 26) in the first round. The Cavs have some incentive to slide down the board with a lengthy rebuild in the offing but, with the Pelicans now holding the keys to the draft board at No. 4 overall, myriad scenarios are in play.

New Orleans recently acquired the No. 4 selection as part of the Anthony Davis trade and, if the Pelicans do not view a specific player as a perfect fit, adding multiple selections could make sense. On the Atlanta side, recent discussions have generally centered on two of the team’s three first-round choices but, in this instance, the presence of both top-10 selections is exceedingly noteworthy.

From a pure value perspective, the inclusion of No. 8 and No. 10 to jump to No. 4, particularly in a draft that is lacking in star-level talent, would be an overpay. While ESPN’s reporting does not single out a specific player, the Hawks have been tied to Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver, Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter and Duke’s Cam Reddish during the process. Beyond that, it is possible that a jump to No. 3 or No. 4 could open the door for a pursuit of Duke’s R.J. Barrett, though it is unclear which specific prospect would be the focus in this instance.

The overwhelming sentiment at the moment is that the Hawks are virtually impossible to project in an overall sense. With that said, Atlanta continues to be linked to trade-up scenarios and, with six picks in the top-44, it doesn’t seem likely that the Hawks will simply stand pat and fire away in their current draft slots.

Stay tuned.