Think the Hawks wanted centers at the trade deadline? Well, they acquired a third today in a deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, per Adrian Wojnarowski:
Portland is trading Skal Labissiere and cash to Atlanta, league source tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 6, 2020
And according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports, the Hawks will also be receiving $2 million in cash:
*correction: Portland sending $2M to Atlanta. Skal will be absorbed into space. https://t.co/dKtGpsQlWk
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) February 6, 2020
The Hawks already have centers Clint Capela, Dewayne Dedmon, Bruno Fernando, and Damion Jones on the roster. However, Labissiere can also play the 4, and with Jabari Parker being shipped out of town, they could certainly use some depth at the position. Plus, they sent cash here, they did not receive it.
Skal is best summarized as a player with a ton of potential that has never ben realized. He was widely regarded as the number one recruit coming out of high school and signed on with John Calipari at the University of Kentucky, who compared him to Anthony Davis. Despite playing only around 16 minutes per game with the Wildcats, averaging 6.6 points and 3.3 rebounds per game, he opted to enter the NBA Draft after his freshman season.
Skal was drafted 28th overall in 2016, and his draft rights were traded to the Sacramento Kings. In his time as a pro, he has served in a reserve role. Last year around the trade deadline, he was dealt to the Blazers for Caleb Swanigan.
Skal played a decent role for the Blazers this season but has been out for about a month with a left knee articular cartilage lesion. With Jusuf Nurkic returning from injury soon, he was expendable for Portland.
Labissiere is an intriguing project for Coach Lloyd Pierce, who has excelled in player development. He will hit restricted free agency this offseason, so the Hawks will control his destiny going forward.
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