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Report: NBA executives expect Hawks to “explore restarting the cycle” on one of their rookie contract players in trade for 2021 first-round pick

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2021 NBA Playoffs - Milwaukee Bucks v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

ESPN released a new 2021 NBA mock draft Sunday afternoon, and a bit of Atlanta Hawks news came along with it. Jonathon Givony states that executives around the league “expect the Hawks to explore restarting the cycle of one of their rookie scale contract players, such as Cam Reddish, in exchange for a first round pick.”

This comes on the heels of Atlanta owner Tony Ressler stating it would be “unlikely” the Hawks would be able to afford to keep all of their young players when meeting with media earlier this month after the franchise’s run to the Eastern Conference Finals came to an end.

First round is sort of a vague as a general term, as obviously there’s a substantial difference in say the No. 10 pick vs. the No. 24 pick. A player like Reddish, who has struggled a bit overall but still shown great promise, especially during the Eastern Conference Finals, should likely still garner a lottery pick in return. De’Andre Hunter or Kevin Huerter, other Hawks players now on the backside of their rookie deals, would obviously commend even more via trade.

The term explore is also rather vague, as it remains to be seen how serious these explorations are. Teams consider or contemplate many things, doesn’t mean they ever come close to actually happening. Nonetheless, this is the most serious reported rumor to date surrounding the Hawks and Thursday night’s 2021 NBA Draft, so it’s definitely something to monitor.

As far as the mock itself goes, ESPN placed LSU guard Cameron Thomas to Atlanta with the No. 20 pick, and forward Jericho Sims out of Texas to the Hawks with the No. 48 pick.

Thomas was one of the more dynamic scorers in the Power 5 this past season as a freshman, while Sims is one of the more impressive athletes in the class but very raw overall.

Stay tuned.