Hawks Rumors

Schlenk: Hawks Would Have Drafted Luka At No. 3

The Hawks participated in the biggest draft-day trade of 2018, agreeing to move down two spots from No. 3 to No. 5 in a deal with the Mavericks. The trade will have a significant impact on both franchises going forward, with third overall pick Luka Doncic looking like a franchise player in Dallas while No. 5 pick Trae Young appears to be a foundational piece in Atlanta.

In an appearance on Adrian Wojnarowski’s Woj Pod, Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk revisited that blockbuster deal, explaining the thinking behind the move (hat tip to RealGM). According to Schlenk, Atlanta had been preparing to select Doncic at No. 3 – even tentatively letting agent Bill Duffy know when Doncic’s introductory press conference would take place – before the Mavs improved their trade offer on draft day.

“Not a lot of people know this,” Schlenk said. “If we would have stayed at three, we would have taken Luka. We had worked with his agent, he did a physical for us that morning in New York. … But then Dallas came in an hour or so before the draft. I told them all along that it would take another lottery pick for us to slide back, and that’s when the conversations got started.”

The price to move up two spots in 2018 was the Mavericks’ top-five protected 2019 first-rounder. While that pick wasn’t necessarily assured of becoming a lottery pick – and still isn’t – Schlenk told Wojnarowski that the work done by the Hawks’ analytics staff made him and the front office feel good about that selection.

“For us, what made (the trade) make sense is our analytics staff was projecting Dallas to finish eighth (in the reverse standings) this year,” Schlenk said.

As the Hawks’ GM observes, that projection looks pretty accurate so far — Dallas currently has the NBA’s ninth-worst record. Still, with draft experts somewhat bearish on the 2019 class as a whole, the Mavs will likely be fine with handing over a top-10 pick. Surrendering that selection gave them the opportunity to secure their first bona fide star since Dirk Nowitzki‘s decline began.

Teams That Must Add Players Within Next Week

The NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement requires teams to carry at least 14 players on their rosters during the regular season, not counting two-way players. However, clubs are allowed to dip below that line for up to two weeks at a time.

At the February 7 trade deadline, with so many players on the move, a handful of teams around the league fell below that 14-player threshold, meaning they have until February 21 – give or take a day – to get back up to 14.

Here’s a breakdown of which teams must make at least one roster move within the next week or so:

Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks dipped to 13 players when they released Shelvin Mack and Jabari Bird last Friday, and went down to 12 when they cut Jeremy Lin on Monday. They’ve reached a deal to sign two-way player Jaylen Adams to a standard contract, but even after they finalize that agreement, they’ll still have to add one more player by next Friday.

Houston Rockets

A series of salary-dump deals on deadline day left the Rockets with just 12 players under contract. They’ll have to sign two more – either to standard deals or 10-day contracts – by next Thursday.

Miami Heat

The Heat had been carrying 14 players for a while, but dropped to 13 when they traded Tyler Johnson and Wayne Ellington for Ryan Anderson on Wednesday. They’ll have until next Wednesday to fill that 14th roster spot.

New York Knicks

The Knicks released Wesley Matthews and Enes Kanter on deadline day to drop to 12 players. They signed John Jenkins to a 10-day contract on Monday, but that still only leaves them with 13.

By next Thursday, Jenkins’ 10-day deal will have expired, so the Knicks will need to fill two roster spots at that point, either by re-signing Jenkins and adding someone else, or by signing two new players.

Phoenix Suns

The Suns‘ roster count has been at 13 since they waived Wayne Ellington on Thursday. They have until next Thursday to get back to 14 players.

Toronto Raptors

The Raptors dropped all the way down to 10 players last week, which forced them to sign two players – Chris Boucher and Malcolm Miller – to standard contracts. Toronto also inked Jeremy Lin to a rest-of-season deal and now has until next Thursday to add one more player.

Ben McLemore is a candidate, since the two sides were seemingly in agreement on a 10-day deal, but that deal no longer looks like a lock to get finalized.

Hawks Promoting Jaylen Adams To 15-Man Roster

The Hawks are signing two-way player Jaylen Adams to a standard NBA contract, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). It won’t be a straight conversion either, as Adams is expected to receive a partial guarantee for 2019/20 in addition to a guaranteed rest-of-season salary, per Wojnarowski.

Adams, 22, reached a two-way contract agreement with the Hawks last summer shortly after he went undrafted out of St. Bonaventure.

The rookie guard hasn’t received much playing time in Atlanta this season, appearing in just 10 games (4.5 MPG) for the NBA club. However, he has played well for the Erie BayHawks, Atlanta’s G League affiliate. In 19 NBAGL contests, Adams has posted 15.8 PPG, 6.3 APG, 4.9 RPG, and 1.7 SPG on .406/.356/.745 shooting.

The Hawks have made several roster moves within the last week, waiving four players in total: Daniel Hamilton, Jabari Bird, Shelvin Mack, and Jeremy Lin. The series of transactions left the club with just 12 players under contract. Atlanta has two weeks to get back up to at least 14 players, and will likely fill all the openings on its 15-man roster eventually.

Unfortunately, the Hawks won’t be able to replace Adams’ two-way contract — the deadline to sign players to two-way deals passed last month, so Alex Poythress will be Atlanta’s only two-way player once Adams’ promotion is official.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Southeast Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Southeast Division:

Dewayne Dedmon, Hawks, 29, C (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $14.1MM deal in 2017
Dedmon seems like a prime candidate to hit the buyout market, but incentive clauses in his contract may motivate him to stick out the season in Atlanta. As long as Dedmon stays in the rotation, spending the season with the lottery-bound Hawks shouldn’t hurt his value when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. Dedmon has evolved into a ‘stretch five’ in the sixth year of his career. Lately, he’s taken a majority of his shots from beyond the arc and he’s getting pretty good at it. He’s shooting 46.4% from long range this month and 38.6% for the season, which will serve as a nice selling point.

Kemba Walker, Hornets, 28, PG (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $48MM deal in 2015
Walker will be the second-best point guard on the market after Kyrie Irving but he’ll hardly be a consolation prize. Walker has been terrific throughout the season and he’s off to a blazing start this month. In his last four games, he’s averaging 34.0 points, 8.0 assists and 5.8 rebounds. Walker is averaging a career-high 25.1 PPG this season and has missed just six games since the 2015/16 campaign. Walker has been working on a team-friendly contract paying him $12MM annually. He’ll get a gargantuan raise whether he decides to stick with the Hornets or join one of the many teams with significant cap space seeking a top-flight free agent.

Rodney McGruder, Heat, 27, SG (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $3.4MM deal in 2016
McGruder lost his rotation spot, then got it back when Wayne Ellington and Tyler Johnson were traded last week. In the last two games, McGruder has scored a total of four points on 2-for-10 shooting. He’s lacking in confidence, as evidenced by the fact he’s missed his last 17 3-point attempts. Coming off an injury-marred 2017/18 campaign, McGruder got off to a strong start and contributed as a play-maker as well as a scorer. Miami can make him a restricted free agent by extending a modest $3MM qualifying offer this summer, but even that’s no longer a sure thing.

Jerian Grant, Magic, 26, PG (Down) — Signed to a four-year, $7.57MM deal in 2015
Grant had a golden opportunity to enhance his value after getting traded to Orlando in July via a three-team swap. He entered one of the sketchiest point guard situations in the league but after failing to beat out journeyman D.J. Augustin for the starting job, he has also fallen behind Isaiah Briscoe on the depth chart. Grant has played a total of six garbage-time minutes over the last six games. It’s hard to imagine Orlando extending a $3.76MM qualifying offer to make Grant a restricted free agent, so he’ll be scrounging for a fresh start elsewhere.

Tomas Satoransky, Wizards, 27, PG (Up)– Signed to a three-year, $9MM deal in 2016
John Wall‘s pain has led to Satorsansky’s gain and he could cash in before he becomes a restricted free agent. Reports surfaced early last month that the team has engaged with Satoransky’s representatives regarding an extension. With Wall likely out all of next year after tearing his Achilles, Satoransky becomes even more valuable to the franchise. He could sign for as much as $47.5MM over a four-year period on an extension and he hasn’t hurt his cause since taking over as the primary point man. He’s racked up eight or more assists in nine games since January 9th.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jeremy Lin Finalizes Buyout With Hawks, Plans To Sign With Raptors

4:19pm: The Hawks have officially waived Lin, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets.

12:41pm: Veteran point guard Jeremy Lin is in the process of finalizing a buyout with the Hawks, agents Jim Tanner and Roger Montgomery tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. According to Wojnarowski, Lin intends to sign with the Raptors once he reaches free agency.

Lin, 30, has played well off the bench for the Hawks this season after missing most of the last two years in Brooklyn with injuries. In 51 games (19.7 MPG) for Atlanta, he has averaged 10.7 PPG, 3.5 APG, and 2.3 RPG with a shooting line of .466/.333/.845.

Although Lin was mentioned in a number of trade rumors leading up to last Thursday’s deadline, the Hawks ultimately didn’t find a taker, with his $13.77MM cap hit likely acting as an obstacle in negotiations. Once Lin remained on Atlanta’s roster through the deadline, reports indicated that the team was unlikely to buy him out, but it seems that stance changed within the last few days.

By agreeing to a buyout with the Hawks, Lin will give back a little of his remaining salary with the Hawks, which he should make up when he signs with the Raptors. However, he’ll also forfeit the chance to earn possible incentives that were written into his previous contract, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks observes.

When Lin was traded from Brooklyn to Atlanta last summer, a 10% trade kicker in his deal ensured that he received a $1.25MM bonus for this season, so perhaps that extra money helped convince him that it was worth surrendering some money in a buyout and giving up his opportunity to earn those incentives.

The Raptors gave up five players in three deadline-week trades and only received one (Marc Gasol) in return, so adding Lin will help the club replenish some of its lost backcourt depth. While it’s not clear exactly what sort of role Lin will assume in Toronto, the Raps found playing time for three point guards before trading Delon Wright to Memphis, and both Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet have battled health issues throughout the season. There should be plenty of minutes available for Lin.

After dipping to 10 players following their deadline deals, the Raptors have since signed Malcolm Miller and Chris Boucher, and are now poised to add Lin and Ben McLemore (10-day contract) to get back to the league-mandated minimum of 14 players.

As for the Hawks, they’ll drop to 12 players once they officially part ways with Lin, so they’ll need to add at least two players to their roster soon.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Hornets Claim Shelvin Mack Off Waivers

While the Hornets didn’t make a move at the trade deadline, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium is reporting (via Twitter) that they will be adding more depth by claiming Shelvin Mack off of waivers after the veteran point guard was released by the Hawks.

Before being traded by the Grizzlies and subsequently released by Atlanta, Mack was averaging 7.9 points and 3.4 assists per game in a prominent role for Memphis. Mack appeared in 53 games and played 22.7 minutes per game, the second-highest average of his career.

The Hornets have received quality play at point guard with Tony Parker backing up All-Star Kemba Walker, so it will be interesting to see how much playing time Mack receives down the stretch of the regular season.

Because the Hornets have claimed Mack off of waivers, the Hawks are no longer responsible for the remainder of Mack’s contract, which is now off of their salary cap. Because the veteran point guard was on a minimum salary deal, Charlotte was able to claim him using the minimum salary exception.

Every NBA Team’s Post-Deadline Roster Situation

The NBA confirmed today that 2019’s trade deadline set and matched some records. The 14 trades completed on Thursday were the most made on a deadline day in the last 30 years, and the 19 teams involved in those swaps was tied for the most over that same period.

In total, 34 players were involved in those 14 trades — and that doesn’t even count the eight deals completed during the week leading up to the deadline, as we detailed last night.

Needless to say, there has been plenty of roster upheaval around the NBA, so we’re going to use this space to take a look at all 30 teams’ roster situations to see exactly where they stand. Does your favorite team have a full roster? Or is their roster somehow only two-thirds full? Looking at you, Raptors.

Here’s a breakdown of all 30 clubs’ roster situations at the time of this post’s publication (more moves will be made in the coming days or even hours that won’t be noted here, so keep that in mind):

Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks entered the week with 15 players, but had to waive Daniel Hamilton to clear a spot to acquire Jabari Bird. They subsequently traded Tyler Dorsey for Shelvin Mack, then waived both Bird and Mack.

They currently have 13 players on their roster, leaving two open spots. They’ll have two weeks to get back to the league-mandated minimum of 14 players.

Boston Celtics

After carrying 15 players all season, the Celtics traded Jabari Bird to create an open roster spot. They’ll explore the buyout market for candidates to fill that opening.

Brooklyn Nets

The Nets entered the week with 14 players on standard contracts and one (Mitch Creek) on a 10-day deal. Creek’s contract was terminated a few days early to make room for Greg Monroe, who was waived after being acquired from Toronto.

Brooklyn now has 14 players under contract and could opt to re-add Creek (albeit on a full-season contract), sign another player, or leave that spot empty for now.

Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets had a quiet week and continue to carry 14 players, leaving one open roster spot.

Chicago Bulls

The Bulls created an open spot on their roster by trading Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker for Otto Porter, and are now carrying 14 players.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers acquired two players – Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin – for Rodney Hood, which required them to terminate Kobi Simmons‘ 10-day contract early to stay at 15 players.

Subsequently, Cleveland flipped Stauskas and Baldwin to Houston in exchange for Marquese Chriss and Brandon Knight, with Alec Burks heading to Sacramento in that three-team deal. The 3-for-2 move left the Cavs with 14 players and an open roster spot.

Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks, already at 15 players, acquired two veterans – Zach Randolph and Justin Jackson – in exchange for Harrison Barnes, and had to waive Salah Mejri to make the deal work.

They’re currently at 15 players, but will be releasing Randolph very soon to create an open roster spot.

Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets didn’t make any moves this week and continue to carry a full 15-man roster.

Detroit Pistons

Both of the Pistons‘ trades this week were 1-for-1 swaps in terms of players, with Thon Maker and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk replacing Reggie Bullock and Stanley Johnson.

However, with the team closing in on a deal for Wayne Ellington, someone will need to be waived to stay at the 15-man limit. That player will reportedly be Henry Ellenson.

Golden State Warriors

The Warriors didn’t make any moves this week and still have 14 players under contract, leaving an opening for potential buyout targets.

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Hawks Waive Shelvin Mack

The Hawks have officially requested waivers on Shelvin Mack, the team announced today in a press release. He’ll become a free agent on Sunday, assuming he goes unclaimed.

Mack, 28, had been Memphis’ backup point guard for the 2018/19 season, averaging 7.9 PPG and 3.4 APG in 53 games (22.7 MPG). He has also had one of his best three-point shooting seasons, knocking down 35.9% of his attempts from outside.

The Grizzlies sent Mack to the Hawks in exchange for Tyler Dorsey in a deadline-day trade on Thursday. Considering the deal doesn’t appear to have saved Atlanta any money and no other assets were said to be included, it’s not clear what the Hawks’ motivations were for making the trade.

In any case, Atlanta now has two open roster spots and will have two weeks to fill at least one of them.

Celtics Notes: Deadline, Irving, Morris, Hawks’ Pick

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge explored the trade market, but ultimately stood pat after not finding any deals he liked, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston.

“We spent a lot of time on the phone talking deals, looking for good ones,” Ainge said. “It was hard to find good ones this year just because we really like our team.”

While it may have been hard for Celtics fans to watch the Sixers, Bucks, and Raptors load up for the playoff race, the club remains confident that it has the pieces necessary to contend for the conference crown. As Blakely relays, Celtics players are happy the team’s core remained intact.

“The (trade) deadline was a lot, for a lot of other people,” Kyrie Irving said. “For us, we were pretty set. They made that very clear, management. So, I’m just happy we just have to focus on the rest of the season and have some fun doing so.”

Here’s more from out of Boston:

  • Irving called the moves made by the East’s other top teams “great pickups,” but he and his teammates were mostly unfazed by those clubs’ deadline deals, says Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston.
  • Speaking of Irving, Ainge was asked again today during an appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub about the point guard’s upcoming free agency, and provided an interesting answer (link via ESPN.com). “The way I viewed the situation is that I think a lot of people, because of Kyrie’s announcement at the beginning of the year, thought that it was a marriage,” Ainge said. “And I think that it’s more like an engagement. And we’re going to get married on July 1st. I think that engagement is still on, as far as I know. In my individual conversations with Kyrie, we’re still engaged but we really can’t make those vows, sign that contract until July 1st.”
  • Markieff Morris was waived by the Pelicans at the deadline, but Marcus Morris won’t necessarily be pushing the Celtics to add his twin brother, pointing out that there might not be enough minutes to go around in Boston. As Forsberg relays for NBC Sports Boston, Morris just hopes that his brother doesn’t end up playing for one of Boston’s Eastern rivals. “We still trying to figure out what he’s going to do,” Marcus said of Markieff. “If he’s cleared [to return to play after a neck injury], then I’m definitely going to have the conversation with him. I’d rather him go to the West.”
  • Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports confirms (via Twitter) that the 2020 second-round pick the Celtics received in Thursday’s Jabari Bird trade is the Hawks‘ own selection and is top-55 protected. In other words, barring a massive turnaround from Atlanta next season, it won’t actually convey.

Hawks Waive Jabari Bird

As expected, the Hawks have officially requested waivers on newly-acquired guard Jabari Bird. The club confirmed the move in a press release.

Atlanta acquired Bird in a deadline-day trade with the Celtics, sending a heavily protected 2020 second-round pick to Boston in exchange for the second-year guard and cash.

Bird has been held out of action all season due to legal issues connected to his 2018 arrest on assault charges. The Celtics kept Bird on their roster for more than half the season in the hopes that his situation would be resolved and the NBA would make a ruling, but didn’t want to wait any longer, opting to send him to Atlanta on Thursday to open up a roster spot and slightly reduce their projected tax bill.

Given his off-court issues, Bird is unlikely to sign with a new team this season, sources confirm to Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

The Hawks now have 14 players on their 15-man contract.