Hawks’ extra draft picks could help with trade

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What to do with all those draft picks?

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The Hawks have accumulated plenty of extra selections in upcoming NBA drafts — a possible extra first-rounder and four extra second-rounders over the next four years — and it’s safe to say not all those future players will wear a Hawks uniform. That means trades are a real possibility.

And the dealing could very well start this week.

The 2016 NBA draft is Thursday and the Hawks have three selections in Nos. 21, 44 (via the Wizards) and No. 54.

“It’s always important to have multiple picks because it gives you the opportunity to explore trades that may take you higher in the draft,” Hawks general manager Wes Wilcox said. “So, yes, it certainly provides some flexibility that we will explore on draft night.”

There is also the looming likelihood that the Hawks will trade one of their point guards, which means Jeff Teague could also be moved on draft night. The Hawks could package Teague, their first-round pick and future second-rounders to move up for a player who figures to be gone by No. 21.

Teague is in the final year of his contract at a very cap-friendly $8 million. He posted on social media last week, one of which was later deleted, that indicated he was not happy with the Hawks and that he played at least part of last season with a partially torn patella tendon.

There is recent precedent for the Hawks’ willingness to make draft-night trades. Last year, they swapped picks — Kelly Oubre at No. 15 and Jerian Grant at No. 19 — with the Wizards. The Hawks then sent Grant to the Knicks in the deal that brought Tim Hardaway Jr. to Atlanta. They also got second-round picks this year and in 2019.

After this year, in addition to their own picks, the Hawks also have:

—The Nets’ second-round pick in 2017;

—The Heat’s second-round picks (Nos. 41-60) in 2017 or their second-round pick in 2018;

—The Timberwolves’ first-round pick (Nos. 15-30) in 2018, 2019 or 2020 or second-round;

—The Wizards’ 2019 second-round pick

—The Timberwolves’ second-round picks in 2020 and 2021 if first-round pick is not conveyed.

—The Hawks may also have to send their 2017 second-round pick (Nos. 56-60) to the Spurs.

“It’s not just in the current draft,” Wilcox said. “We are fortunate to have all of our first-round picks going forward plus one additional. It depends on how to count the second-round picks because some are contingent on other picks being delivered but we essentially have two second-round picks in every draft for the next four years.

“It’s unlikely to think that the Hawks will draft all of those positions. So we’ll certainly look to those future picks, maybe add them to what we currently have in this draft and see if there is a chance for us to move up earlier than where we are at No. 21.”

The Hawks currently hold the rights to last year’s second-round picks of Marcus Eriksson and Dimitrios Agravanis. Both played overseas last season and remain under contract with their European teams.

The Hawks won’t necessarily move Teague, or perhaps Dennis Schroder, in a draft-night deal. However, there are a handful of draft-eligible players that the team could be willing to make a big jump up the draft board to obtain. That group could include top-10 players such as Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram, Marquese Chriss, Kris Dunn, Jamal Murray, Dragan Bender, Buddy Hield, Henry Ellenson, Domantas Sabonis or Jakob Poeltl.

The teams picking ahead of the Hawks may not be willing to part with their pick. However, if they are, the Hawks could be players with their accumulation of extra assets.

Those extra picks could also be used in the future as the Hawks may have several major holes to fill with starters Al Horford and Kent Bazemore set to become unrestricted free agents on July 1.

TNS

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