For those closely plugged into the league, the word is that the Atlanta Hawks have been among the most involved teams in the trade rumor mill. In the days leading up to the 2023 NBA Draft, there were reports that the Hawks might try to use some combination of players and picks to move around in the draft and reshape their roster.
But the draft came and went, and the only move that was completed was sending a 2027 second round pick for the rights to Mouhamed Gueye, who was selected with the no. 39 overall pick last Thursday. And yet, that hasn’t settled down the smoke surrounding Atlanta’s more veteran players — a few of which have been linked with multiples teams who may have interest in a trade.
First, from Marc Stein on his Substack blog, he reports:
The Mavericks won some plaudits leaguewide for their draft-night maneuvering after their original preferred scenario — trading for Atlanta’s Clint Capela — vanished as an option. League sources say that the Hawks and Mavericks continued to hold dialogue this week on a potential trade featuring their first-round picks (No. 15 and No. 10, respectively) but the talks perished for good during the last 24 hours before the draft.
Sources say that Hawks, who tried in vain to trade No. 15 and John Collins to Dallas for No. 10 and Dāvis Bertāns, told the Mavericks they would surrender Capela only if the Mavericks added swing man Josh Green to the trade. The Mavericks, sources say, rejected that idea like they did all proposals involving Collins.
The Hawks have been among the league’s most active teams in trade talks, eager to reduce their overload of long-term contracts and address their status as a middle-of-the-pack team mired in tax territory. Trading Collins is Atlanta’s ongoing top priority, but there has clearly been more interest in Hunter and Capela.
They’ve also been trying — without success — to convince Toronto to part with Pascal Siakam.
Sources say that the Hawks, in addition to fruitless talks with Indiana for the No. 7 pick that the Pacers used to select Houston’s Jarace Walker, unsuccessfully pursued Detroit’s No. 5 selection with a package featuring Hunter and the No. 15 pick. The Pistons went ahead and drafted Ausar Thompson ... one spot after Houston took his twin brother Amen Thompson.
There’s a lot to unpack here. First, the Dallas Mavericks had a big need for big men prior to draft day, but they rejected all deals for John Collins or Clint Capela and instead came away with Richaun Holmes and Dereck Lively II. This mostly likely eliminates a trade partner in the pursuit to shake up the starting frontcourt.
Second, attempting to acquire Pascal Siakam demonstrates how aggressively the Hawks are in trade talks and their desire to not take a step back. The two-time All-Star is due just under $38 million for 2023-24, but will be a free agent that offseason should he not agree to an extension. Needless to say, I would rate the chances of a completed deal here as extremely slim.
And lastly, the Hawks seems increasingly motivated toward moving De’Andre Hunter, as evidenced by their links to Indiana and Detroit.
Jake Fischer of Yahoo also contributed to the reports of Atlanta looking to shake their roster up, with this batch of noise just prior to the draft:
Another trade in the Eastern Conference seemed to derail as it approached the finish line Tuesday night. The Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks were making headway on a deal that would have sent De’Andre Hunter to the Pacers, league sources told Yahoo Sports, but talks ultimately broke apart. Further details of the framework are still unknown, but as the Hawks have consistently looked at deals that could help Atlanta jump from No. 15 into the top 10 of this draft, the Pacers were not willing to swap the No. 7 pick in those discussions for Hunter, sources said. Indiana has been scouring the market for starting forwards, contacting the Warriors about acquiring Jonathan Kuminga, sources said, and it looms as a potential free-agent destination for several veterans such as Harrison Barnes, Kyle Kuzma and Grant Williams.
The Hawks continued to be described as one of the more active teams in trade dialogue around the NBA. Hunter, John Collins and All-Star guard Dejounte Murray, in addition to starting center Clint Capela, continue to be mentioned by team personnel as viable trade candidates, with Hunter appearing to be involved in most of the Hawks’ possibilities entering draft night. There remains the chance, sources said, that Dallas could send the No. 10 pick to Atlanta for that No. 15 selection depending on which players are available. The Mavericks, though, could defy expectations and stay at No. 10 if Villanova product Cam Whitmore or UCF forward Taylor Hendricks slips to that selection.
Atlanta has also maintained a pursuit of Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, according to league sources. The Hawks’ have attempted several creative packages to land the All-NBA talent from Toronto, including at least one three-team scenario.
Fischer essentially echoes Stein’s reporting on De’Andre Hunter, but he later adds in reporting about the availability of Dejounte Murray in talks. So, if you’re keeping track, every current starter sans Trae Young can be had for the right price.
Why all this talk about player movement? Well, as alluded to by Marc Stein, the Hawks’ financial situation projects them to be significantly into the luxury tax as it currently stands. Under current ownership — dating back to 2015 — the Atlanta Hawks have never finished the season in tax territory.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN gave an even more forceful report on the Hoop Collective live show during the draft, saying:
Very notable from @WindhorstESPN on the Hoop Collective live draft show last night:— Brad Rowland (@BTRowland) June 23, 2023
“The Hawks are under a mandate, from what I’ve been told, to get out of the luxury tax.”
Sounds familiar! https://t.co/2bDyoHuJXg
Later, general manager Landry Field pushed back against that characterization speaking with local radio station 92.9, saying that the team has the latitude to enter into the tax:
Hawks GM Landry Fields to @putemupcdukes on the luxury tax: “The group I work with has the authority to build the best possible team we possibly can. Do I have the ability to go over the tax? Absolutely. Do I have the ability to go under the tax? Absolutely.” #TrueToAtlanta— DukesandBell929 (@DukesandBell929) June 23, 2023
With the new season beginning on July 1 fast approaching, there will soon be clarity about both the roster and the financial situation of the 2023-24 Hawks.