It appeared as if the Hawks were set to let their two best players, Al Horford and Paul Millsap, leave for nothing in return in back-to-back offseasons. The Hawks had multiple opportunities to move Paul, but the front office was split on whether to make the move. It looks as if new general manager Travis Schlenk has salvaged the past mistakes of the front office.
With agreements in place between Paul Millsap and the Denver Nuggets and Danilo Gallinari and the Los Angeles Clippers, the two teams brought Atlanta on board in hopes of facilitating a sign and trade to make the financials work. The Hawks will be taking on the contract of former fan favorite Jamal Crawford, project big man Diamond Stone, as well as Houston’s 2018 first round pick. They will also receive cash, but will give up a second round pick.
This deal is not yet official but has been confirmed by multiple sources.
The Hawks are getting something out of nothing here, so it is a great move for the team. After the crazy spending flurry that has been caused by the spike in the NBA salary cap, sign and trades may be utilized more often in upcoming seasons as teams look to shed salary to make deals.
It appears as if Jamal may never suit up again for the Hawks. There have been conflicting reports as to whether Crawford will seek a buyout or will be willing to play for the rebuilding Hawks. At 37, time is running out for Jamal to get a ring. The Hawks will try to trade him unless he is willing to take a big pay cut in his buyout. Only $3 million of his deal for next season is guaranteed. Despite his age, the three-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year will certainly draw interest, just perhaps not at his current price point. There is a chance Schlenk could get even more assets out of this deal if he can find a new home for Crawford.
In Diamond Stone, the Hawks get a nice project player. Stone was ranked 6th in ESPN high school recruiting heading into college, but did not quite live up to expectations in his lone year at the University of Maryland. Despite this, he put his name in the NBA Draft and was selected 40th overall. He played sparingly last season, with stints in the D-League. His offensive game is smooth, but his defense needs work. That is why he could be a great project for Coach Bud and Hawks University. Assuming Tim Hardaway Jr. will be retained, the Hawks would now have a high-upside player 25 or under at every position. Stone is still just 20-years old.
The actual diamond in this trade however, is the first round pick. The 2018 first rounder acquired in the Chris Paul deal will be headed to Atlanta. It is top 3 protected, but the Rockets figure to be pretty good next year. Regardless, the Hawks are in a great situation to rebuild. They appear to be a lottery team, and have three first round picks next year and an additional first in 2019 as well.
The Dwight Howard trade was not great, but that was largely in part do to the Hawks feeling the need to move on. Ever since then, Travis Schlenk has made power moves for this franchise. A rebuild is the way to go, and this move is a great win for the Hawks. He also made a great selection picking John Collins 19th overall. As long as THJ is retained, Schlenk deserves a high grade on his first offseason report card despite not having a “sexy” offseason. The wait-and-see approach is working for what the Hawks are trying to accomplish this offseason.