Hawks trade Dewayne Dedmon to Detroit

Hawks center Dewayne Dedmon. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)
Hawks center Dewayne Dedmon. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

The Hawks are trading Dewayne Dedmon to the Pistons for Khyri Thomas and Tony Snell, a person familiar with the situation confirmed to the AJC.

They will waive Thomas.

This trims the Hawks’ center rotation to Clint Capela, rookie first-round draft pick Onyeka Okongwu and Bruno Fernando and gives the team some wing depth. The move is not all that surprising, given the backlog of centers they would have on the roster if they kept Dedmon. ESPN first reported the trade.

After spending three seasons in Chicago and three in Milwaukee, Snell averaged eight points and 2.2 assists in 27.8 minutes per game last season in Detroit. He has shot around 40% from distance for four consecutive seasons in the NBA (40.2% last season), which could help the Hawks as they try to improve their 3-point shooting. At 33.3%, they were the worst 3-point shooting team in the league last season.

Snell also is a solid defender, so he may be able to help the Hawks solve two of the bigger problems they must address — 3-point shooting and defense.

“The one thing that will stand out amongst the guys that we have here currently, too, we were dead last in the NBA in 3-point shooting,” Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk said Monday of team needs ahead of the 2020-21 season. “The way the league is, that number has to improve. When you look at our core guys, those guys weren’t the issue, Kevin (Huerter), 38%, I think De’Andre (Hunter) ended up with 36, Trae (Young) was right around 36, John (Collins) was actually our highest at 40 and then Cam (Reddish) I think worked his way up to around 33 or 34.

“So you try to be in the 36 range and above, so our core guys are in good shape, it was all the other guys that drug us down last year, but that certainly would be an emphasis as we head into the draft and free agency is we need to improve that. And then secondarily, just as important, is obviously defense. We need to keep continuing to add defensive-minded players to go in with our young group.”

Thomas, a shooting guard, played sparingly during his two seasons in Detroit and struggled with several injuries.

In Dedmon’s second stint in Atlanta, he struggled to stay healthy and shoot from 3, a skill that made his first stint much more successful. After the Hawks acquired Dedmon at the trade deadline last season, he played in 10 games, averaging 8.1 points and 8.2 rebounds, shooting 22.2% from 3-point range.

The first time around in a Hawks jersey, Dedmon was able to stretch the floor, adding 10 points and 7. 9 rebounds while shooting 35.5% from 3 in 2017 and adding 10.8 and 7.5 rebounds in 2018, shooting 38.2% from 3.

In addition to gaining a 3-point shooter and depth on the wing, this move also freed a tad bit of cap space. The Hawks already had the most in the league, but will now have a little more than $44 million.

The NBA draft might be over, but clearly, the Hawks’ process of constructing their 2020 roster has just begun. On Wednesday, they added Okongwu with the No. 6 pick and Skylar Mays with the No. 50 pick, and now they’ll look to gain more talent to the mix through trades and free agency (free agency talks can begin 6 p.m. Friday).

With the Hawks looking to take a step forward this season, perhaps even make the playoffs or at least contend for a spot, Schlenk has said his strategy has changed from aiming to acquire talent this year instead of assets for the future.

With the most cap space in the league, it makes sense that they’ve already been tied to several players in free agency, from Boston’s Gordon Hayward to the Lakers’ Rajon Rondo to Oklahoma City’s Danilo Gallinari, as players, agents and teams jockey for position.

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