Where the Atlanta Hawks currently sit in the 2023 NBA Draft – holding the no. 15 overall pick – is not necessarily where they are expected to be picking on draft night (June 22).
“This is probably one of the most active teams in trade talks around the league,” reported insider Adrian Wojnarowski during ESPN’s NBA Mock Draft Special on June 20. “This is a team, perhaps packaged with one of their players, that 15th pick, can it get them up the draft board on Thursday night? That’s certainly part of the conversation there.”
Wojnarowski’s report really only confirms comments made by general manager Landry Fields.
“I think that that’s most likely what happens is picking at 15,” Fields said in a pre-draft presser on June 16. “But we’re still looking at options to move up. There’s some options where if we want to move back because we do feel like…there’s a lot of depth there.”
There have been numerous reports of conversations between the Hawks and Dallas Mavericks regarding a trade up to No. 10 overall amid a slew of other rumblings.
This is in line with reports from Yahoo Sports NBA insider Jake Fischer that everyone other than Trae Young is available in the right deal. Collins’ name has been a mainstay in the rumor mill while Hunter’s name has popped up intermittently.
While Fischer clarified that the Hawks were not actively shopping Murray, his inclusion is, perhaps, surprising considering all they gave up to acquire him last offseason. It could also be driven by an exploding payroll after the Hawks handed out several new contracts to their players in recent years.
Atlanta Hawks’ financial situation could force their hand
“They’re going to have luxury tax and, perhaps, second apron issues moving forward if they don’t start to reign in this payroll,” Wojnarowski said. “I think they’re going to be a very active team on the trade market I think through the draft and right into July in free agency.”
Their level of motivation to get something done is no secret, either, given Fields’ comments and a luxury tax bill that is set to exceed $13 million next season. And, while ownership has expressed a willingness to pay into the luxury tax for a title contender, they have yet to do so under Hawks governor Tony Ressler.
Even Kevin Huerter got a new deal before being traded to the Sacramento Kings last summer.
At the same time, the Hawks certainly did not hire Quin Snyder to be the head coach during any type of rebuilding effort. And their stance on Young only affirms the idea that they are trying to remain competitive while also being salary-cap conscious; truly threading the needle.