The Hawks are planning on using their 19th overall pick in the NBA Draft on the best player available and Paul Millsap‘s contract situation will not change that, per Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (links via Twitter).
Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk told Vivlamore for a separate story that Millsap “might get better offers than we can make him.” Despite Atlanta’s desire to retain the four-time All-Star, the team is focused on assembling the best roster possible and worry about Millsap — or replacing him — afterward.
“You draft the best talent available regardless who is on your roster. … I think that’s when you get in trouble, when you draft off need not off talent,” Schlenk said. “Especially the way the league is going where guys are interchangeable and guys are multi-positional, you just take the best player.”
The Hawks went 43-39 last season, making the postseason as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. However, last year’s prized offseason acquisition Dwight Howard struggled in the postseason and expressed his issues with his lack of playing time; the team is also facing several potential departures in unrestricted free agency, such as Ersan Ilyasova, Kris Humphries and Mike Muscala. While those decisions will shape the 2017/18 Hawks, the club will look to attain the strongest asset in the NBA draft before worrying about anything else.
Below are notes from around the Southeast Division:
- The Wizards‘ 2015 draft pick (49th overall) Aaron White will spend another season in Europe, this time suiting up for Zalgiris in Lithuania, according CSN Mid-Atlantic’s J. Michael.
- Greivis Vasquez is interested in joining the Wizards once he completes his recovery from injury, the seven-year NBA veteran told Baltimore’s 105.7 The Fan (via CSN Mid-Atlantic). The 30-year-old only appeared in three games for the Nets last season but the Maryland product would be a candidate for backup point guard in the nation’s capital.
- The Hawks are set to host a workout today with the following prospects: Jawun Evans (Oklahoma State); Ognjen Jaramaz (Mega Leks); Marc Loving (Ohio State); Steve Vasturia (Notre Dame); Mathias Lessort (JSF Nanterre); and Kennedy Meeks (North Carolina).
- The Hornets are hosting a workout tomorrow with the following prospects: Tony Bradley (North Carolina); Sterling Brown (SMU); John Collins (Wake Forest); Tyler Dorsey (Oregon); Frank Mason III (Kansas); and Derrick White (Colorado).