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Hawks acquire Skal Labissiere in trade with Blazers

New Orleans Pelicans v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks were exceptionally active in the days before the 2020 NBA trade deadline, and they’ve continued to be in the hours before the final buzzer. On Thursday afternoon, Atlanta reportedly executed a deal to take Derrick Walton Jr. from the Clippers, with the Hawks — expected to move on from Walton — receiving cash to make the transaction worthwhile. Moments later, another interesting move came down the pike, with the Hawks reportedly making a swap to bring Skal Labissiere to Atlanta.

At this juncture, there are conflicting reports concerning how much money will be heading to Atlanta, with John Hollinger of The Athletic reporting $1.9 million.

Regardless, the money seems to be more than enough to cover Labissiere’s $2.3 million salary. As Hollinger notes, the Hawks need to complete the Labissiere trade before the Dewayne Dedmon acquisition, simply because Atlanta needs to use the salary cap room that they will lose when the Dedmon deal goes final. Also, the Hawks must send something to the Blazers, though it could be the proverbial “fake” second round selection.

Following the initial reporting, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic reported that Labissiere would, in fact, be sticking on the roster.

The 23-year-old big man is a former first-round pick with a theoretically interesting skill set. He hasn’t broken through in a significant way, though, and Labissiere’s best position is likely center at this point, with Atlanta already having plenty of options in Dedmon, Clint Capela, Bruno Fernando and Damian Jones. Still, there is a path to potential deployment if Atlanta feels he could play some power forward and, with injuries to Capela and Fernando, a bit of depth can’t hurt.

Stay tuned as more information becomes available.