De'Andre Hunter

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Richards, Bacon, Hornets

An exact recovery timeline for new Hawks guard Kris Dunn is unclear following a PRP injection to treat right knee discomfort this week, per Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Dunn is also still recovering from a December right ankle scope.

Breakout swingman De’Andre Hunter is still on track to return in seven-to-10 weeks following a February 8 right meniscus surgery. The Hawks noted that Hunter has started to partake in “weight-bearing lower limb strength activities, form shooting and ball handling.”

The Hawks also revealed that reserve point guard Rajon Rondo participated in shooting and running drills this week, his latest injury this season being a left ankle sprain incurred last month.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • The Hornets have sent rookie center Nick Richards back to their G League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm, according to Quinton Wash of Hornets.com. Richards, the No. 42 selection out of Kentucky in the 2020 draft, has played limited minutes across eight games with the club so far this season.
  • In his first season for the injury-ravaged Magic, swingman Dwayne Bacon has proven his worth both as a starter and a sparkplug off the bench, according to Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel“When you’re in a game at such a high level, you’re not going to make every shot, so you’ve just got to stick with it,” Bacon said. “The same intensity, same, just everything, the total ingredients to be a good shooter, you’ve got to do the same thing, each and every time.”
  • After missing out on All-Star inclusion altogether during the 2019/20 season, Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal finds himself an All-Star starter for the first time this year. Fred Katz of The Athletic details Beal’s journey to starter status this season. “I definitely think the snub [last year] has a little bit to do with it,” Beal said. “I wouldn’t say all the way to the point to where I would start, but I think it was just gaining the recognition of last year and then it just carried over to this year and me just constantly working on my game and playing the way I’ve been playing.”

Hawks Notes: Hunter, Reddish, Point Guard, Bogdanovic

Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter, who underwent a lateral meniscus arthroscopic debridement procedure earlier this week, won’t be back on the court for the team anytime soon. Addressing Hunter’s situation today on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta, general manager Travis Schlenk suggested that the 23-year-old will be sidelined until at least late March, and likely sometime in April.

“The doctors say, typically, on average, these things are seven to 10 weeks,” Schlenk said, per Mike Conti of 92.9 The Game. “And most of the guys are ready to go by eight weeks. So, we’re hopeful.”

The Hawks’ initial announcement on Hunter indicated that his status would be updated when he’s re-evaluated in two weeks. According to Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link), the club hopes to have a clearer idea at that point about which end of the seven-to-10 week timeline is more likely to apply to Hunter.

Here’s more out of Atlanta:

  • Chris Kirschner of The Athletic explores what Hunter’s absence will mean for the Hawks in the short term and the long term, noting that the pressure on new starting small forward Cam Reddish will increase. Kirschner also expects Atlanta to play it safe with Hunter’s return timeline to help avoid any recurring knee issues.
  • In a separate story for The Athletic, Kirschner and John Hollinger discussed a few Hawks-related topics, including the hole at backup point guard that Rajon Rondo hasn’t adequately filled. Hollinger, who questioned Atlanta’s decision not to claim Elfrid Payton when New York waived him in November, suggested that Payton, George Hill, Delon Wright, and T.J. McConnell could be potential targets if Atlanta tries to shore up the position via trade.
  • Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, who was only able to play nine games for his new team before being sidelined by a right knee fracture, spoke to Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the injury and his goal to return before the end of the first half. “Anything before All-Star would be really good for me, but I don’t want to put the pressure on it,” Bogdanovic said. “But I would like to play before the All-Star (break), if it was me, and if my body heals up.”

De’Andre Hunter To Undergo Meniscus Surgery

Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter will undergo a lateral meniscus arthroscopic debridement procedure, the team announced on social media. The surgery is scheduled for Monday in Atlanta.

Hunter, the No. 4 pick in 2019, has missed the last four games due to right knee discomfort caused by wear and tear. An update will be provided on his status in approximately two weeks, the team said.

Atlanta has started the season with a 11-12 record. The 23-year-old Hunter has appeared in 18 contests, averaging 17.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 32.2 minutes per game. He’s shot 51% from the floor and 37% from deep during those games, starting in every outing.

The Hawks are already playing without shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, who suffered an avulsion fracture in his right knee last month.

Southeast Notes: Butler, Dunn, Richards, Hawks

Heat All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler will remain out of commission for tonight’s contest against the Clippers, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN tweets. The 31-year-old forward has been out since January 9 due to the league’s coronavirus protocols. He has been doing conditioning work this week, though there is no timetable for him to return to the court, according to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press (Twitter link).

After a stellar postseason run that resulted in an all-time 2020 NBA Finals performance, Butler has appeared in just six games for the Heat this season. Miami has struggled in his absence, going 3-8 without him. The Heat will also be without several other rotation players tonight, including Goran Dragic, Avery Bradley, Andre Iguodala, Maurice Harkless, Meyers Leonard and Chris Silva, per Reynolds (Twitter link).

There’s more from around the Southeast:

  • As he recovers from a December 29 right ankle surgery, Hawks reserve wing Kris Dunn will miss at least two more weeks before being re-assessed, according to press release from the team. The Hawks indicated that Dunn has been able to partake in individual on-court practice activities.
  • The Hornets have recalled rookie Nick Richards from the NBA G League’s Orlando “bubble” campus, per Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. Richards was added back to the club so that Charlotte could have 12 active players, the required threshold unless a team is limited by injuries or COVID-19 protocols. After sending five players to suit up for their NBAGL squad, the Greensboro Swarm, yesterday, the Hornets were left with just 11 available players. Bonnell anticipates that Richards return to the “bubble” at some point this season (Twitter link).
  • Although the Hawks made a splash with several big-money veteran free agent signings during the offseason, it is the 9-9 club’s incumbent youngsters that have had the biggest impact so far this season, as Chris Kirschner of The Athletic details. Second-year swingmen De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish, both 2019 lottery selections, have made impressive strides as scorers, while big man John Collins has vastly improved on defense. “We feel like we can be in the mix with some of these top teams,” third-year All-Star point guard Trae Young said. “For us, we’re just going to go out there and believe we should win each and every game, which we should.”

Southeast Notes: Fultz, Hunter, Len, Magic

The Magic‘s performance as of late without point guard Markelle Fultz has highlighted his importance to the club, writes Josh Robbins of The Athletic. The Magic are 1-6 since Fultz was lost for the season with an ACL tear. Fultz’s savvy court vision had been a key component of the Magic’s offense.

“We’ve got to figure something out to try to get us going into offense smoother and understand how we’ve got to play,” shooting guard Terrence Ross noted. “With no Markelle we’re trying to figure it out, but it’s tough. So we’ve got to keep going at it.”

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Hawks wing De’Andre Hunter has grown into the club’s most reliable player, with an improved offensive attack, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic opines. Hunter’s development can be a boon to the franchise in both the short and long term. “He has a chance to be really, really special,” Hawks center Clint Capela said. “To be able to guard the star on the opposite team every night, (it) has been amazing to see that.”
  • With the Wizards losing starting center Thomas Bryant for the year due to a torn left ACL, the club may need to shore up the position with some additional help. Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington posits that recently-waived big man Alex Len could be an intriguing defensive fit for the team.
  • Given the season-long absences of recently-extended young starters Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac, Josh Robbins of The Athletic explores whether or not it makes sense for the Magic to tank for a high draft pick this season.

Hawks Pick Up 2021/22 Options On Trae Young, Three Others

The Hawks have officially exercised their 2021/22 team options on Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, De’Andre Hunter, and Cam Reddish, the team announced in a press release. Chris Kirschner of The Athletic first reported the news (via Twitter).

Young and Huerter were drafted in 2018, so they had their fourth-year options picked up today. Young will make $8.33MM in 2021/22, while Huerter will earn $4.25MM. They’ll both be eligible for rookie scale extensions during the 2021 offseason.

Hunter and Reddish, both 2019 first-rounders, had their third-year options exercised. Hunter’s is worth $7.78MM, while Reddish’s is for $4.67MM. A year from now, Atlanta will have to make decisions on their fourth-year options for 2022/23.

[RELATED: Decisions On 2021/22 Rookie Scale Team Options]

While Young is the most obvious long-term franchise building block among the four youngsters, Huerter, Hunter, and Reddish all have room to continue improving and will vie for playing time in a crowded Hawks rotation this season.

Kevin Huerter Talks Hawks’ Draft, 2019/20 Goals

Culture and locker-room fit were important considerations for the Hawks as they made roster moves this offseason, second-year shooting guard Kevin Huerter tells Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype. As Huerter explains, head coach Lloyd Pierce talked on multiple occasions about not bringing in anyone who would be detrimental to the culture the team is trying to build in Atlanta.

“I think every player we brought in has some sort of relationship with one of our coaches or [executives], so they know that we’re bringing in really good guys,” Huerter said. “I think that was really important, first and foremost, especially with a team that could still go through a lot of ups and downs. You don’t want someone in the locker room who is making everyone miserable.”

While Huerter is optimistic about what Allen Crabbe, Jabari Parker, Evan Turner, and Chandler Parsons can contribute on the court, he views those incoming veterans as guys who will “contribute off the court as well,” as he tells Kennedy.

Huerter spoke to Kennedy about many more topics, including the Hawks’ draft, their future free agent outlook, and their expectations for the 2019/20 season. The Q&A is worth checking out in full, but here are a few highlights from the former Maryland standout:

On the Hawks drafting De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, and Bruno Fernando:

“I thought our draft was great. There are very few teams that can come out of the draft saying they got exactly who they wanted, but those three guys are literally the exact players we wanted going into the draft. Anytime that happens, it’s an extremely successful draft.

“I think those guys bring a different dynamic to our team that we didn’t have. De’Andre is a 3/4 and he’s a really good defender, so he was a great pick for us. Cam just has so much potential on the offensive end and what his ceiling could be makes him great for us as well. Bruno is NBA-ready. I think it can be tough for some bigs as they enter the NBA because of how physical it is, but Bruno is physically NBA-ready. Again, I thought it was a really good draft for us.”

On whether free agents will seriously consider the Hawks as they continue to improve:

“Hopefully. Any team that wins becomes pretty attractive to free agents. You see that happen a lot. But for me, our core group of guys could – and should – be enough for us. That’s the way that winning teams are built, at least in the old days. When you want to want to build something that lasts, it’s homegrown guys. But, again, hopefully if we win, [players will want to sign here] and we can figure out which positions we need moving forward. Adding free agents down the line won’t be a bad thing, but first you need to win and then everything else comes with it.”

On whether the Hawks have discussed a goal of making the playoffs in 2019/20:

“Honestly, no. Playoffs, for us, isn’t really a word we talk about – all we talk about is winning more than 29 games. We know how honestly close we were last year – we weren’t too far off from that eighth seed – but we’re probably not going to talk about it for most of the year. It’s not something we talk about in the locker room, trying to sneak in [to the playoffs]. It’s literally just, ‘We’re going to win more than 29 games and continue to get better.’ Then whatever happens, happens.”

Hawks Notes: Jones, Roster, Parker, Minutes

Former first-round pick and newly-acquired Hawks big man Damian Jones is looking to show off his talent in a way he wasn’t able to on a loaded Warriors’ roster, writes Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Jones, who says he is 100 percent recovered from last season’s injury, sees himself being able to provide Atlanta with rim protection, defense and a lob option around the basket.

“I haven’t really gotten a chance to show what I can do,” Jones said Friday at his introductory news conference. “… I still have more to prove.”

There’s more news out of Atlanta this afternoon from Vivlamore:

  • After waiving point guard Jaylen Adams, the Hawks now have a roster of 13 players and will look to sign another veteran to the roster and a second two-way player alongside Charlie Brown, per Vivlamore (link). Because Trae Young is now the lone point guard on the team, one of those signings will almost certainly be a point guard. As for the final standard roster spot, Atlanta plans to leave that vacant for the start of the season.
  • One of those 13 players is former No. 2 overall pick Jabari Parker. Parker, who saw his $20MM team option declined by the Wizards earlier this summer before signing with the Hawks on a two-year, $13MM deal earlier this week, says one the reasons he signed with Atlanta is because of the team’s medical staff and Parker’s confidence in them working with his twice surgically repaired left knee (Twitter link from Vivlamore).
  • As we relayed earlier this weekend, Young, big man John Collins , and rookie lottery selections De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish will all see “a lot” of playing time during the 2019/20 season, per general manager Travis Schlenk.

Hawks Officially Sign De’Andre Hunter, Bruno Fernando

The Hawks have officially signed two of their rookies to their first NBA contracts, announcing today in a pair of press releases (links here) that they’ve finalized contracts with lottery-selection De’Andre Hunter and second-rounder Bruno Fernando.

Hunter, the No. 4 overall section in last month’s draft, was traded to Atlanta from New Orleans after being part of the trade that sent Anthony Davis to the Lakers. Locked in to the NBA’s rookie scale, Hunter will make just under $7.07MM in his rookie season. Should he play out his full four-year rookie contract he’ll earn approximately $32.1MM.

The 21-year-old forward was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and All-ACC First Team en route to leading Virginia to the NCAA Championship last season. He averaged 15.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 32.5 minutes per game while shooting an impressive 43.8% from three-point range.

As for Fernando, the terms of his new contract are unclear. The Hawks still have a two-way contract slot open after coming to terms with fellow rookie Charlie Brown Jr.; however, it’s likely Fernando’s signing would have been reported as a two-way contract if he was taking the other spot beside Brown.

It’s more likely that the Hawks will use some of their substantial remaining cap space (about $14MM) to accommodate a three to four-year contract with the Maryland big man. A three-year pact at the minimum would see Fernando earn nearly $4.2MM. I anticipate the deal to be in that vicinity, with perhaps a higher first-year salary somewhere between $1MM to 1.5MM.

Hawks, Pelicans Finalize De’Andre Hunter Trade

JULY 7: The Pelicans and Hawks have officially finalized their trade, which was initially agreed upon on draft night. The deal looks like this:

  • Hawks acquire Solomon Hill, the draft rights to De’Andre Hunter (No. 4 pick), the draft rights to Jordan Bone (No. 57 pick), and a conditional 2023 second-round pick.
  • Pelicans acquire the draft rights to Jaxson Hayes (No. 8 pick), the draft rights to Nickeil Alexander-Walker (No. 17 pick), the draft rights to Marcos Louzada Silva (No. 35 pick), and the Cavaliers’ 2020 first-round pick (top-10 protected).
    • Note: The Cavaliers’ protected 2020 first-rounder will become two second-round picks (2021 and 2022) if it’s not conveyed in 2020.

JUNE 20: The Pelicans have reached an agreement with the Hawks on a trade that will send the No. 4 overall pick to Atlanta, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) first reported that the two teams were close to a deal.

According to Wojnarowski, New Orleans is receiving the Nos. 8, 17, and 35 picks in tonight’s draft in exchange for Nos. 4 and 57, along with Solomon Hill‘s expiring contract and a future second-round pick. The Pelicans will also acquire Cleveland’s heavily protected 2020 first-rounder from the Hawks, Woj adds (via Twitter).

League sources tell Wojnarowski (Twitter link) that the Hawks are focused on drafting Virginia forward De’Andre Hunter with the fourth overall pick. A report earlier this week indicated that Atlanta was “very high” on Hunter, who reportedly didn’t work out for any teams besides besides the Hawks.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that Hunter and Duke forward Cam Reddish are the two players Atlanta has targeted at No. 4, adding that the team is leaning toward Hunter. According to Jake Fischer of SI.com (Twitter link), Reddish’s camp has believed that the Hawks would keep No. 10 in a trade-up scenario, potentially to draft the Duke prospect with that selection.

Atlanta will indeed keep No. 10 in this deal with New Orleans. Having initially held six picks in the top 44, the Hawks have now traded away five of those picks (and taken on Hill’s unwanted $12.76MM salary for next season), but still hold Nos. 4, 10, and 57. They’re in position to draft a pair of top-10 prospects, including one they were willing to move up four spots for.

As for the Pelicans, new head of basketball operations David Griffin continues to stockpile assets — the team now holds five of the top 39 selections in this draft, including Nos. 1, 8, and 17. New Orleans also got out from under the final year of Hill’s contract, creating additional cap flexibility for free agency.

Technically, the Pelicans haven’t yet officially acquired the No. 4 pick from the Lakers, since the Anthony Davis blockbuster will have to be finalized in July. The same is true of the No. 17 pick, which the Hawks are acquiring in the not-yet-completed Allen Crabbe deal. Those trades will be officially finalized once the new league year begins, then this deal between New Orleans and Atlanta can be formally completed.

The Cavaliers’ pick headed to New Orleans in this swap is currently top-10 protected for 2020 and will become two second-rounders (in 2021 and 2022) if it doesn’t convey next season. It’s not clear if the Hawks added any additional protections, but given Cleveland’s outlook, it looks like that pick probably won’t end up being a real first-rounder.

Speaking of the Cavaliers, they’re receiving a ton of interest for the No. 5 pick, according to Jake Fischer of SI.com, who points out (via Twitter) that that could be the spot for Darius Garland now. The Vanderbilt point guard was previously considered the favorite to be the No. 4 pick.