Did the Atlanta Hawks Lose the Omari Spellman Trade?

Omari Spellman #6 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
Omari Spellman #6 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

Looking back on the Omari Spellman, Damian Jones trade for the Atlanta Hawks.

After just one season of play, the Atlanta Hawks sent Omari Spellman to the Warriors last summer in exchange for Damian Jones and a second-round pick. Spellman, the 30th overall pick of the 2018 draft had an up-and-down rookie season, putting up solid numbers for the most part but publicly dealing with weight issues.

He looked to have some solid potential, but Atlanta’s front office decided they’d seen enough, trading him to Golden State. In addition to the 2026 second-rounder, the Hawks acquired Jones, who had just finished his third season with the Warriors.

The fellow former 30th overall pick won two titles with the Dubs as mostly a bench piece but did start 22 games in his final season for Golden State.

It was a bit of a head-scratching trade at the time, but looking back it did make sense on paper. The Hawks’ roster was overwhelmed by young players and Jones would provide some experience while still providing future upside, with Jones being just 24.

Unfortunately, Jones was just not good for the Hawks this season, and I’d be very surprised if he was a part of the future plans. He appeared in 55 games, starting 27, averaging career-highs in both points and rebounds in his expanded role.

Overall, he was a near non-factor offensively and played an overly aggressive style of defense that often got him into foul trouble. A plethora of injuries mid-season kept him in the rotation, but he essentially lost his role after the team traded for Dewayne Dedmon.  He ended the season on the bench, receiving DNPs in seven of the Hawks’ final 11 games.

On the other hand, Spellman was given a bigger role than expected for an injured Warriors team that’s been at the bottom of the NBA standings since opening night. The second-year forward was one of the few bright spots on the team, averaging 7.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per game while improving his field goal percentage from 40  as a rookie to 43 as a sophomore.

He looked to be starting an exciting second chapter of his career in San Fran but was suddenly traded to Minnesota in the deal that also saw D’Angelo Russell and Andrew Wiggins swapping jerseys. Omari fell in love with Golden State and was upset with the move. He never suited up for Minny, and last we heard, his representation was discussing a potential waiving with the Wolves.

Did the Hawks win the trade?

I’m going to have to say no, but I don’t think it’s a huge loss. Neither Spellman or Jones were ever going to be apart of the Hawks’ core moving forward, but I do think Spellman is the better player.

Would the Hawks be in playoff contention if Spellman got Jones’ minutes this season? No. But from what we saw in Golden State this season he does have the potential to be a solid floor-spacing big off the bench. Trading away a solid player like that for a second-rounder in six years and a player that might not be in the league next season is not a great look.

As mentioned before however, I do understand it on paper. The team was just a few weeks removed from drafting Bruno Fernando, who they traded up for in the second round. They obviously had confidence in Bruno to help fill the Spellman role, which I would say he did a fine job of.

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What do you think? Did the Hawks win this trade or lose it?