'Questions persist' in light of Hawks GM's recent comments: Insider

Atlanta Hawks general manager Landry Fields' recent statement has done little to dissuade questions from rival teams.
Atlanta Hawks general manager Landry Fields
Atlanta Hawks general manager Landry Fields / Anadolu/GettyImages

The Atlanta Hawks officially go on the clock with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2024 NBA Draft in just three days and there is still no consensus about what they will do.

It is not just the draft, with questions about their plans for their star backcourt duo, Dejounte Murray and Trae Young, both of whom have stirred the pot with cryptic posts in the wake of significant news and rumblings.

“Rival teams continue to maneuver to try to get a firm read on the Hawks' intentions with their backcourt stars,” The Stein Line’s Marc Stein wrote on June 22 (subscription required). “General manager Landry Fields has done some recent interviews to try to convey that the Hawks are excited about holding onto the top pick for the first time since 1975, but some questions persist.”

This can be viewed in several ways.

The Hawks may know very well what they want to do and have a pretty good idea of what they think will happen. 

They likely also already have some contingencies in place in case things break different from those expectations. The underlying notion, though, would be that their poker face has been strong throughout this process.

Even as reports of Alexandre Sarr’s camp looking to avoid the organization continue to surface, their intent has remained unclear.

Most predictions have them taking one of Donovan Clingan or Zaccharie Risacher.

However, they have also had several other prospects in for private workouts amid reports that they could indeed pursue a trade out of the No. 1 spot. The widespread opinion of those evaluating the draft has long been that the pole position is one to avoid.

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Hawks GM leaves door open for trade out of No. 1 spot

While Hawks general manager Landry Fields insisted the team was planning to make the pick at No. 1, he added some notable caveats.

First, he noted that was their plan at the time he was speaking. He also suggested their efforts to explore other options have not ended. Both sentiments could leave the door open for them to trade down a few spots and still get the prospect they want.

“We've looked at a ton of different scenarios,” Fields told reporters on June 17. “With where we're at right now, we'll pick one. But yeah, I don't think it would be wise for us not to go over those scenarios. But there's been a ton that we've gone over and we'll continuously go over those as well. Even ones that may present later on with different team talks that we've had.

“Today, we're planning on picking one.”

Such ambiguity could bolster attempts to leverage the position in trade talks ahead of the draft with teams fearful of missing out on their preferred prospect.

At the same time, other organizations could him players groups in such a way that interest surrendering assets to move up is minimal. Even if the Hawks are successful, they would only put themselves in a similar position as the other teams are currently.

Moving off their current spot could prove even riskier than picking whomever they want at No. 1.