Saddiq Bey ready to find his place among the Hawks

The Detroit Pistons' Saddiq Bey (41) works against the Boston Celtics' Marcus Smart (36) during the first half at Little Caesars Arena on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, in Detroit. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

The Detroit Pistons' Saddiq Bey (41) works against the Boston Celtics' Marcus Smart (36) during the first half at Little Caesars Arena on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, in Detroit. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images/TNS)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Now that the trade is official, newly acquired Hawks forward Saddiq Bey is ready to be back on the floor.

The Hawks acquired Bey from the Pistons via the Warriors for five second-round picks at Thursday’s trade deadline. Despite announcing the trade on Thursday night, the Hawks could not incorporate him into team activities until Monday’s shootaround in Charlotte due to the Warriors’ delay in accepting their part in the four-team trade.

The Warriors eventually decided to go through with the deal despite the fact that Gary Payton failed a physical. The Warriors had until Sunday night to decide whether to complete the trade.

“Late last night,” Bey said when asked when he learned the news. “(The Warriors) had until 9:30 and it was toward the deadline. So I just found out last night, and I was just excited to find out.”

Bey prides himself on his availability and rarely takes a night off if he can help it. Since the Pistons drafted him at 19th overall in 2020, he has missed just seven games across three seasons. That means he has suited up for 96% (204 of 211) in that span.

So when the pending trade hovered over the four teams, all he wanted to do was get in the gym.

“It was crazy,” he said. “I was waiting. I didn’t know what it was gonna be, what the future was gonna be. But I’m excited to be here. I’m just blessed with the opportunity. So it’s good to be able to get back in the gym with these guys.”

The 23-year-old forward learned of the initial trade on Thursday morning. He left the Pistons Performance Center for what appeared to be last time on Feb. 9 in video tweeted out following the team’s practice that day.

But he reiterated again how excited he is to lean into the role he will need to play for the Hawks. He spent some extra time at the end of Monday’s shootaround going over dribble hand offs and passes with Hawks assistant coach Joe Prunty, as well as newly acquired players Bruno Fernando and Garrison Mathews.

He’s also ready to play his part in what he calls a cohesive unit.

“Just, they have a great thing going, winning games, they’re playing together as a cohesive unit,” he said. “So I just wanted to try to seamlessly be a part of it. I’m just excited to be here and I’ve been watching these guys and the camaraderie that they have, I’m just excited to be a part of it.”

In three seasons, Bey has shot 38% from 3-point range and both Hawks general manager Landry Fields and coach Nate McMillan have pointed to his versatility as something that will help. The Hawks will look to utilize Bey’s ability to space the floor at both the three and the four positions, which will open up more unique combinations in the rotation.

“You know, they have a lot of versatile players on both ends of the floor,” Bey said. “So, you know, it’s tough (to adjust) midseason they have a good thing going, so whatever role they need me to do, I’m comfortable doing so.”

Bey has never been a part of a trade since he’s in the midst of just his third season in the NBA. But the Hawks made sure to welcome him and incorporate him into things as best as they could as they awaited the Warriors’ decision.

McMillan said that the team talked him through as much as they could because they couldn’t put him in uniform or have him run through on court activities. But now, he’s ready to get back to work, especially with a game Monday.

“This is my first time ever doing it (being traded), so we’re gonna see how it goes,” he said. “But the coaching staff, the players, they’ve done a great job welcoming me. They’ve been playing, they play hard, they play together. So, it’s not going to be too hard to get adjusted, but I’m just trying to fit in with them.”