Hawks make flurry of moves ahead of trade deadline

Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic (13) dribbles against Pistons forward Saddiq Bey during the first half of Friday's game at State Farm Arena. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: Hyosub Shin/hshin@ajc.com

Credit: Hyosub Shin/hshin@ajc.com

Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic (13) dribbles against Pistons forward Saddiq Bey during the first half of Friday's game at State Farm Arena. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

The Hawks did not feel any pressure to make moves at Thursday’s trade deadline. But they got in on the action and made deals that added plenty of young talent to the roster while keeping their starting core.

As the clock wound down at 3 p.m., the Hawks did not find a trade partner for a deal including John Collins. The Hawks forward has been a fixture in NBA trade rumors for the past two years, with the team having trouble finding a viable trade partner.

Collins, who still has three years remaining on his five-year, $125 million deal, has been trying to find a rhythm on offense with the addition of Dejounte Murray in the offseason. Collins has had plenty of ups and downs this season, averaging the fewest points per game since his rookie season.

He has averaged 13.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists this season, while making 51.3% of his overall shots from the floor. He has been unable to connect with the basket from long-range, though. He’s making a career-low 25.7% from 3.

Both the Jazz and Suns been linked to Collins. But the Suns would acquire Kevin Durant on Thursday morning, while the Jazz linked with two other teams and acquired Russell Westbrook.

Following the Hawks game against the Suns on Thursday, Hawks general manager Landry Fields did not answer why a Collins deal did not work for them. But he praised the player’s professionalism in spite of the constant rumors around his status on the team.

“Our focus is on what was before us and John’s a valuable player, and a guy who is always in the media, who always handles himself with unbelievable grace and professionalism,” Fields said. “That’s valuable for us and is someone who we adore at the end of the day.”

Now, the Hawks will look to continue their push into the postseason with 15 players under guaranteed deals, as well as their two-way players.

In addition to keeping Collins, the Hawks acquired Pistons wing Saddiq Bey in a three-team trade in which the Warriors sent James Wiseman to the Pistons. The Hawks sent five second-round picks to the Warriors for Bey.

Fields said that the Hawks had monitored Bey for awhile and engaged with the Pistons periodically to see his availability. He added that talks ramped up closer to the deadline and the team was able to facilitate the deal through the Warriors after not being able to get something done directly.

The Hawks were not finished. They also sent Justin Holiday and Frank Kaminsky to the Rockets for Bruno Fernando and Garrison Mathews. The Hawks sent two second-round picks to the Rockets in the deal.

Ahead of the trade deadline, Fields said that the team established a new operating system amid turnover in the front office. He credited the players for responding to the expectations and rising to what the team was looking for.

But Fields said despite the team seeing the first fruits of the new operating system, it did not mean the Hawks weren’t committed to making the team better.

“Obviously, some guys or you know, all guys have value, add value all over the place,” Fields told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday. “So you’re always weighing that.”

With the addition of Bey, the Hawks now have a 36% career shooter in the fold. This season, the 23-year-old has averaged 14.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 52 games. He has shot 40.4% from the floor and 34.5% from distance.

Selected 19th overall in the 2020 NBA draft, Bey has shown plenty of flashes, including a career-high 10 3-pointers made on a 51-point night against the Magic in March. He earned a Player of the Week nod after knocking down seven 3-pointers against the Celtics during his rookie season. He also earned All-Rookie honors.

The Hawks also will see the return of Fernando, who played two seasons for them. This season, Fernando has averaged 4.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and one assist in 31 games. He will give the Hawks another bigger body in the frontcourt behind Clint Capela and Onyeka Okongwu.

In addition to Fernando, the Hawks brought in Mathews, who is averaging 4.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 45 games.

The Hawks’ moves bring in three players who have four or fewer seasons of experience and allowed the team to avoid going into the luxury tax. They are now $1.6 million under the luxury tax.

Bey is due $2.9 million this year, as well as $4.5 million next season, while Mathews and Fernando have non-guaranteed contracts next season. Mathews also has a team option in 2024-25 while Fernando’s contract is non-guaranteed next season as well as in 2024-25. He has a club option in 2025-26.

Following the Hawks’ game against the Suns, coach Nate McMillan said that the three players would likely arrive in town on Friday. He added that they could be available for the team’s game against the Spurs on Saturday.

“Bruno, we know, he’s a big physical, that can help us at the five position. Mathews is a shooter, a guy that can spread and Bey has the versatility to play the three (small forward) and the four (power forward). (He) can shoot the ball from the perimeter,” McMillan said. “The combination of being able to play some three and four will allow him to come in and help us with his ability to spread the floor. "