Hawks held 'tangible trade talks' with rival over Onyeka Okongwu

The Atlanta Hawks' efforts ahead of the trade deadline included -- but were not limited to -- discussing a deal around one of their former top draft picks.

 Atlanta Hawks big man Onyeka Okongwu
Atlanta Hawks big man Onyeka Okongwu / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages
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The Atlanta Hawks remain active ahead of the trade deadline.

Much of the attention has gone towards their efforts to trade Dejounte Murray, a concept which has since cooled off considerably in the wake of his strong play.

However, the Hawks have several other veteran players on big-money contracts that have drawn interest from around the league. Bogdan Bogdanovic, Clint Capela, and, surprisingly, Onyeka Okongwu are most notable among that group.

“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,” Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer wrote in his latest batch of intel on February 7. 

While the Pelicans are a new name in the race for Murray, several teams were said to be interested in the former San Antonio Spur.

Okongwu, however, was named among the small group of players the Hawks wanted to keep.

Of course, that group started with Trae Young and third-year forward Jalen Johnson. It later grew to include rookie Kobe Bufkin – the No. 15 overall pick in last year’s draft – and then Okongwu.

Okongwu was previously among that group before the season. The Hawks entertained the idea of trading Capela to clear a path for the former No. 6 overall pick. He signed a four-year, $62 million contract extension this past October. That could suggest the Hawks had a significant target in mind.

They are no closer to a deal for Capela or Okongwu – or Murray, for that matter – than they were a few days ago, though. Fischer also notes that there might not be much movement on that front, with the trade deadline at 3 p.m. ET on February 8.

“According to multiple sources with knowledge of the talks, there has been little traction on anything developing between Atlanta and New Orleans,” Fischer wrote.

The Hawks aren’t at risk of losing any of the aforementioned players in free agency.

That affords them the luxury of time that most teams looking to sell or retool often don’t have. Capela has the shortest contract of any of the players noted above, and he still has two years before hitting free agency.

Waiting until the offseason – when teams will have more draft assets, cap space, and roster flexibility – makes a lot of sense from that standpoint.

Former NBA exec shuts down Hawks, Dejounte Murray trade speculation

The Hawks took on the Boston Celtics without Dejounte Murray, who sat with back tightness. It was hamstring tightness that knocked him out of the Hawks’ win over the Toronto Raptors on January 28.

With the trade deadline a day away, speculation over the situation began to rise. 

The Athletic’s John Hollinger, who is based in Atlanta and was the Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Memphis Grizzlies, did his best to quell the noise.

“I know everyone is all 'ooooh trade' but Murray has also been questionable for like the last month,” Hollinger wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter, on February 7. “Actually pretty rare to pull a guy unless you absolutely 100% for sure have a deal done.”

That’s not to say the Hawks don’t have such a deal.

But most of the smoke signals have now shifted from a deal to the team playing out the string and seeing what can be done this summer.

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