Hawks owner Tony Ressler has no regrets about trading Luka Doncic for Trae Young and would make the same decision again, relays Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. Atlanta shook up the 2018 draft by agreeing to a deal that enabled Dallas to move up to No. 3 and select the eventual Rookie of the Year. The Hawks received Young, who also looks like a star after a slow start, along with a 2019 pick that was used to add Cam Reddish.
“I have to be honest, but I didn’t think Luka would be this good,” said Ressler, who admitted to being nervous about the gamble. “I didn’t think Trae was going to be this good. They are both better than I expected. I think they’re both really special players and have a shot to be for a really long time if they stay focused. I think this trade is going to have a nice, long history of discussion. I wouldn’t completely, again, declare success or whether we won it or lost it today because I do think both teams have someone they can really help build around for years and years to come.”
The Hawks are in the third step of the plan that Ressler developed to build a title contender after purchasing the team in 2015. Step one was a $200MM renovation to State Farm Arena. Next came a new management team with Travis Schlenk as general manager and Lloyd Pierce, who had experienced rebuilding with the Sixers, as head coach.
“The third step, we don’t know when and we want to do it intelligently, but is spending the money that it will take to add greatness to what we hope is existing greatness,” Ressler explained. “That is how you become a contender.”
There’s more from the Southeast Division:
- Isaiah Thomas had a promising debut with the Wizards Saturday night, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. After missing his first four shots, Thomas finished with 16 points, five assists and three rebounds in 20 minutes. The performance offered hope that he can become productive again after two injury-plagued seasons.
- Years of early-morning workouts with his father helped prepare rookie Tyler Herro for the Heat culture, notes Lori Nickel of The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. When Herro was taken with the 13th pick in this year’s draft, he was ready for Miami’s emphasis on fitness and hard work. “We say it all the time: We’re not for everyone. You have to be the right kind of player,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “So, for a young player you’re checking to see if there’s any kind of entitlement. And there’s zero with that kid. He has a whole lot to his game, because you can tell he’s put in a lot of hours and sweat equity behind the scenes when no one was watching. He’s extremely driven, very ambitious. We love that.”
- Even though the Magic are coming off a playoff season, outside shooting remains an area of concern, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic.