Hawks Trade Adreian Payne To Wolves

1:57pm: The pick going to Atlanta will become a second-rounder if it’s not conveyed within the protected years, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link).

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Chicago Bulls1:34pm: The Hawks have traded Adreian Payne to the Timberwolves for a first-round pick, the Wolves and have announced. The Hawks have also acknowledged the deal via press release. Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported that Payne would leave the Hawks, Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune had him going to the Wolves, and Vivlamore noted the inclusion of the first-rounder (All Twitter links). It represents a sharp turnaround for the Hawks on Payne, whom the Hawks drafted 15th overall out of Michigan State just this past June. The first-rounder that Atlanta receives is for 2017, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Minnesota only had its own first-rounder for that year. The pick will be lottery protected through 2020, sources tell Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

“We are extremely excited to welcome Adreian to Minnesota,” Timberwolves coach/executive Flip Saunders said in the team’s statement. “Adreian fits the mold of a young, athletic and talented player who we believe will fit in well with our young and talented core. We’ve liked him for a while and look forward to seeing him grow with us in a Wolves uniform.”

The Wolves were indeed high on Payne going into last year’s draft, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press. The power forward has gone on D-League assignment four times this season and has appeared in only three NBA games as the Hawks haven’t found much use for him amid their ascent to the top of the Eastern Conference standings.

The move opens a roster spot for Atlanta, which had been carrying a full 15-man roster. It’s possible, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link), that the Hawks would fill it with Ray Allen, whom they’ve sought, or Gary Neal, who worked under Hawks coach and acting GM Mike Budenholzer when they were both with the Spurs. The Timberwolves are reportedly exploring the idea of a buyout or trade involving Neal, whom they just acquired earlier today from the Hornets. The move also helps make way for the Hawks to sign Edy Tavares, a center whom the team drafted 43rd overall in 2014, when the offseason rolls around, Wojnarowski notes (on Twitter).

The Wolves had immediate plans for the roster spot they opened up in their Mo Williams trade earlier today, as Krawczynski reported earlier today, and Payne restores the team to 15 players, including Lorenzo Brown, who’s on a 10-day contract. It represents a chance for the team to buy low on a highly regarded prospect, and the protection on the pick heading to Atlanta means Minnesota won’t give up a pick higher in the order than the one the Hawks used on Payne last year.

Photo courtesy USA Today Sports Images.

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