The Nuggets are aggressively seeking to shed salary by trading forward Kenneth Faried, and the Hawks are willing to accommodate them for the right price, according to a person with knowledge of the NBA trade market.
The Hawks would seek draft picks, young players or both as part of a deal with the Nuggets or any other team that wants to reduce payroll. The Nuggets own the No. 14 overall pick in next week’s draft, and their expendable young players include recent draft picks Malik Beasley and Tyler Lydon.
The Nuggets are looking to reduce their salary commitments for next season. Faried is owed $13.8 million in 2018-19, the final year of his deal, and he fell out of Denver’s rotation this season with a career-low 461 minutes played.
The Hawks could easily absorb Faried’s salary under the cap while acquiring more assets for their rebuild. The Hawks are projected to have about $19 million in cap space next season. That figure includes the salaries for their pending draft picks and assumes that veterans Dewayne Dedmon and Mike Muscala will exercise their one-year contract options for 2018-19.
The Hawks own four picks in next week’s draft: Nos. 3, 19, 30 and 34 overall. General manager Travis Schlenk noted that during his time working in Golden State’s front office, the highest pick the Warriors had was No. 6 overall. He said owning the No. 3 pick plus the three others means the Hawks are receiving a lot of trade interest from other teams.
“It’s exciting,” Schlenk said of picking third. “Having the four picks (including ) the third pick, we get a lot of phone calls, which is exciting as well. We are going to go through all the different options presented to (us) and make the best decision, hopefully.”
It’s likely that a trade with the Nuggets won’t be the only option available to the Hawks, either before the draft or before the beginning of the free-agency period July 1.
Schlenk has said the Hawks project that as many as 16 teams will be subject to the luxury tax next season, which means several likely will be looking for cost-saving trades. The Hawks are one of a few teams projected to have the salary-cap space necessary to easily facilitate trades in which players with large contracts are acquired.
Schlenk said owning multiple picks gives the Hawks the flexibility to trade up or down in the draft next week. The Hawks also own the rights to a first-round pick from Cleveland that will convey in 2019 or 2020 if it’s not in the top 10 in either of those years.
“We are going through all those different scenarios and trying to evaluate whether the players in this draft would be players that we would value over the assets that we have stockpiled,” he said. “And are certainly looking at it through the other lens, where we look to see if . . . moving back to collect more assets would be more advantageous. All of the hypotheticals, those are what we are going through.”