The Atlanta Hawks (24-29) aim high when they engage with rival teams in trade talks, especially when it comes to one of their top players going out in the potential deal.
We’ve heard about their insistence on getting Austin Reaves back in a potential trade with the Los Angeles Lakers for Dejounte Murray. They also targeted Ausar Thompson and Jaden Ivey – the last two No. 5 picks of the draft – in talks with the Detroit Pistons.
That trend continued in late-developing talks with the New Orleans Pelicans
"The Hawks would want Herb Jones. They would covet Herb Jones, I’m told, in any deal,” Stadium’s Shams Charania said on FanDuel TV’s Trade Deadline Special on February 12. “That is not a player that the Pelicans would want to part with. So that is one issue, for sure, in these conversations.”
Jones, 25, is averaging 11.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists this season shooting 40.8% from beyond the arc. The points and three-point efficiency are career-highs for the 6-foot-8 forward.
But his calling card is defense.
The former No. 35 overall pick of the draft in 2021 is averaging 1.1 steals and just a hair under 1.0 blocks per game.
In the first year of a four-year, $53.8 million contract, Jones is secured through 2026-27.
“It’s reminiscent a lot of the Lakers conversations, the desire for players like Austin Reaves, Max Christie that I’m told the Hawks had in their conversations with the Lakers this week," Charania said.
The Hawks did only have eyes for Jones in their talks with the Pels.
“The Hawks are known to value several players on New Orleans’ roster — including Naji Marshall, who will become an unrestricted free agent this summer,” Yahoo Sports NBA insdier Jake Fischer wrote on February 8.
Marshall, 27, is a lengthy forward similar to Jones. He is bigger, listed at 220 pounds to Jones’ 210-pound frame.
The former is the better shooter and young, though the Hawks have eyed financial flexibility.
Pelicans targeted trio of Hawks in trade talks
The Pelicans’ interest was not just in Murray, either. They also inquired about Hawks centers Clint Capela and Onyeka Oknogwu.
“The Pelicans and Hawks indeed held tangible trade talks this week, league sources told Yahoo Sports, that included various concepts regarding both of Okongwu and Capela, as well as All-Star point guard Dejounte Murray,” Fischer wrote on February 7.
Atlanta’s stance was long rumored to be that they didn’t have to trade Murray at the deadline.
Trade talks during the season can also lay the groundwork for a deal this offseason, with much of the framework already discussed.
The Hawks could very well change their mind by then. Murray has played well this season and has flashed his penchant for closing games too. He also starts his new four-year, $114 million contract next season, putting him under team control at a reasonable rate.
It’s setting up for an intriguing offseason for the Hawks. First, though, is this year’s playoff race.