It was a quiet Friday night for the Atlanta Hawks as free agency kicked off at 6 PM ET. But on Saturday afternoon, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium ushered a report that the Hawks were close to making a move.
Then, Lauren Williams of the AJC broke the news of the details of the trade:
Atlanta sends out the draft rights to Alpha Kaba to Houston for TyTy Washington, Usman Garuba, ‘28 HOU 2nd, ‘25 MIN 2nd and $1.1m cash https://t.co/KPx20b8fSM— Lauren L. Williams (@WilliamsLaurenL) July 1, 2023
Usman Garuba was drafted at no. 23 in the 2021 NBA Draft out of Spain. He’s a 6-foot-8 defense-first big man with incredible physical and athletic skills. Playing time has been hard to find so far in his young career, however. In two seasons in Houston, Garuba averaged just 2.8 points and 3.9 rebounds on just over 12 minutes per contest. While his offensive game is very raw, there is still time for him to tap into that talent going forward.
TyTy Washington Jr. was selected at 29th overall in the 2022 NBA Draft out of Kentucky after a one-and-done college career. Washington is a pass-first 6-foot-3 combo guard with good length for his position but limited athleticism. Like Garuba, he hasn’t had many NBA minutes to show his skillset, averaging 4.7 points and 1.5 assists on 14 minutes per game last season.
Alpha Kaba was originally drafted 60th overall by Atlanta in 2017. He joined the Hawks from Serbian club Mega Leks — now called Mega Basket — for three separate Summer League teams in the years that followed, but never managed to make a regular season roster. The 27-year-old big man doesn’t figure to ever make it in the NBA, but his draft rights were necessary to send to Houston due to CBA bylaws that state that both sides must receive something in return.
This is a huge coup for Atlanta to get two raw but interesting young prospects while restocking their draft assets. Financially, it takes Atlanta up towards the tax line — as well as adding numbers to their roster — so it’s not out of the question that another move will follow shortly.