Hawks emotional in reacting to Korver trade

Hawks Paul Millsap gives Kyle Korver five during a 102-98 victory over the Knicks during overtime in a NBA basketball game on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Caption
Hawks Paul Millsap gives Kyle Korver five during a 102-98 victory over the Knicks during overtime in a NBA basketball game on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

Kyle Korver will be missed.

It showed in the Hawks locker room.

The Hawks are finalizing a trade that will send the sharp-shooting guard to the Cavaliers. Korver was told of the impending move just before the Hawks played the Pelicans Thursday night. His four-plus year run in Atlanta, where he was part of sweeping changes in the Hawks organization, now over.

“There are definitely mixed emotions,” Korver said after the game. “There are a lot of hard ties to Atlanta, for a lot of reasons. A lot of friendships, relationships. This is where I had my best basketball career, honestly. This is where I had all my kids. It’s hard to leave that behind. Obviously, it’s a great opportunity for me in Cleveland. So I’m very excited about that part of it. There are a lot of relationships that I care a lot for here and that I’m going to miss.”

It was emotional when the team was officially told following the game.

“It’s tough,” said Paul Millsap, who also played with Korver in Utah. Kyle was a big reason I am here. To see him not in the locker room, it’s tough for me personally.

“Kyle means so much to this team, to this organization, so much to our community. To see him go, it will be felt. His presence in the locker room, his presence in the community, it will be felt. It’s tough to see him go.”

Korver noted some of the highlights of his time in Atlanta, memories he thought about as he watched his final game in a Hawks uniform from the bench. He has seen a new ownership group, a new coaching staff and even a new logo. He was one of four Hawks players to make the All-Star team in 2015 during a 60-win season that culminated in a trip to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in the organization’s history.

“I thought about a lot of things,” Korver said.

Kent Bazemore was another player especially close to Korver. Although he will miss what Korver brought to the Hawks on the court, it’s the time they spent off the court that mattered.

“This business man,” Bazemore said. “It’s cutthroat and it doesn’t really care about personal relationships or the impact people have in your life.

“Kyle is one of the most amazing people you’ll ever meet, the most amazing teammate you’ll ever meet. Always positive. He’s just a professional the way he approaches the game. Just that aspect alone, I learned a lot from. How to take care of your body. Faith-based man. Loves his family. Checks all the boxes. He’s one of those people that you need around you on a daily basis to keep you on the straight and narrow. When I first proposed to my now fiancee, we had long talks about that and kids, treating them right, how to be a good husband and father. Those are the conversations that you can’t put on the stat sheet. He’s just an amazing person.”

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