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Why De’Andre Hunter and Bruno Fernando might have a delayed arrival at NBA Summer League

NBA: NBA Draft Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Update: Kawhi Leonard is headed to the Clippers, removing one obstacle for the Hawks.

The Summer Hawks will take the floor on Saturday to open their stint in Las Vegas at the NBA’s annual showcase for some of the rising stars in the league. The team has been in the desert for a few days to prepare for the competition, which will feature at least five games in the first seven days, with more on the horizon if the team advances in the playoff bracket.

While most teams will have their 2019 draft picks available to suit up for the team in (sometimes) competitive play for the first time, Atlanta could be missing all three of their picks from June’s draft when their first game tips off against the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, July 6. No. 10 pick Cam Reddish has been announced as a Hawk but will not play in Vegas as a result of a core injury, but there are still two further players who aren’t hurt but still aren’t with the team, at least to this point.

The draft rights of No. 4 pick De’Andre Hunter and No. 34 pick Bruno Fernando were reportedly acquired by the team in a series of trades the team made to move up, down, and all around the draft. Hunter’s rights will be acquired from New Orleans as soon as the Pelicans get them from the Los Angeles Lakers, while the Hawks will take part of what they receive (along with Hunter) from New Orleans and send that to Philadelphia for the rights to Fernando.

The hold-up has nothing to do with the Hawks, but it affects them all the same — trades that must be made in the 2019-20 league year have to wait until July 6 (the league’s moratorium concludes at noon ET) to be officially consummated, but there could be a further delay on that front. The Lakers are waiting on a free agency decision from Kawhi Leonard and would not want to trade for Anthony Davis before Leonard chooses whether or not he’ll don the purple and gold next season, as that would significantly impact their cap space and, by proxy, their offer to Leonard.

Los Angeles will push back the Davis trade as far as possible in order to give Leonard as much time as he needs to come to a decision, but any delay from the Lakers will ripple throughout the league. There are seven further teams and 21 total players who are affected by any delay in the Davis trade, including the Hawks’ acquisitions of Hunter and Fernando.

For now, things are in a bit of a holding pattern — Leonard’s decision could come Saturday morning, which would commence the rest of the dominoes falling throughout the league. Davis would officially become a Laker, Hunter would be traded through New Orleans to Atlanta, and the Hawks could take the draft rights to No. 57 Jordan Bone (acquired from the Pelicans in the Hunter trade) and move them to Philadelphia for Fernando. Bone will continue on his way to Detroit, though that doesn’t affect the Hawks.

Atlanta is also waiting on the Davis trade to complete their acquisition of Chandler Parsons, who is being traded from Memphis to the Hawks for Miles Plumlee and Solomon Hill. Hill can’t make it to Atlanta, to be then traded to Memphis, until New Orleans has completed the Davis trade, as he was included in the package that will bring Hunter and Bone (to then be traded to Philadelphia for Fernando) to Atlanta.

It’s a massive, complicated mess, but the end result is that Hunter and Fernando are probably not available for the Hawks until Leonard makes his decision and, at the very least, until Davis officially moves to Los Angeles. That trade, between the Lakers and Pelicans, is the first domino which will trigger a series of moves that will settle everybody with their new organizations, and everyone in the league waits in the meantime.