In today’s NBA, if you snooze, you may very well lose.
The Atlanta Hawks have been bandied about as a potential trade partner for both the New York Knicks and the Toronto Raptors. Their link to the latter has been stronger and existed longer with their interest in Pascal Siakam.
New York entered the conversation amid trade rumors swirling around All-Star guard Dejounte Murray.
Well, those two teams got together on the biggest trade of the season.
“The Toronto Raptors are finalizing a trade to send OG Anunoby to the New York Knicks for a package including RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley and draft considerations,” reported ESPN’s Adrian Wojanrowski in posts on X, formerly Twitter, on December 30. “The Toronto Raptors are acquiring a New York 2024 second-round pick via the Detroit Pistons.
Toronto will also send guard Malachi Flynn and big man Precious Achiuwa to New York.
The Knicks have had an interest in Anunoby – who the Hawks were also lightly linked to in their connection to Toronto – for some time, per Wojnarowski.
While this seems to settle some things for those two teams, where does this leave the Hawks? They are coming off their fourth straight loss, dropping them to 12-18 on the season, 4-9 at home, and 3-10 in December.
The damage to the Hawks could be three-fold.
Not only could they have lost two potential trade partners – it is unclear the appetite either will have for further moves at this juncture of the season, though Toronto could still be ready for a reset – but they also lose leverage in negotiations with fewer teams to pit against each other.
Then there is the direct result of the trade which one assumes the Knicks made to improve themselves.
They have already beaten the Hawks twice this season and are five games ahead of them in the standings.
But the Raptors – who are one spot above the Hawks – could also see a boost from clearing up a bit of a logjam as Anunoby and Scottie Barnes had some positional overlap. Barrett is also from Toronto, and we can never underestimate the impact going home can have on a player.
The biggest impact, though, is that it takes some of the Hawks’ options off the table.
Barrett and Anunoby are no longer options, even if their teams are still interested in doing business with the Hawks at some level.
GM Landry Fields' patience could be costing Hawks
There is something to be said for a front office that prefers to move judiciously. But Hawks general manager Landry Fields has seemingly been left holding the bag multiple times since the end of last season. The first was with the John Collins trade to the Utah Jazz.
Collins spent so much time on the trade block that it took a toll on him mentally.
As his on-court production continued to trend in the wrong direction, the Hawks had to settle for a return of Rudy Gay and a conditional second-round pick.
To their credit, Collins is back on the block after struggling to pick up the Jazz’s schemes, and for his return home no less. And they accomplished their goal of clearing his contract off the books. But a player they had shopped for years only got worse while they waited for their asking price to be met.
It is hard to believe that what they got is what they were holding out all that time for.
They – and fans – just have to hope this isn’t more of the same, especially with reports of multiple offers exchanged between them and the Raptors.
The Hawks will close out the calendar year on the road against the Washington Wizards (5-25), who also enter with a 3-10 record in December.