There was no blockbuster deal.
The Hawks remained mostly intact as the NBA trade deadline came and went Thursday. The lack of a major move was a clear indication of the franchise’s belief in its roster and what it is capable of achieving. How the rest of the season plays out from that belief remains to be seen.
The Hawks worked a three-team trade with the Bulls and Jazz. They added guard Kirk Hinrich from the Bulls, sent guard Shelvin Mack to the Jazz and sent guard/forward Justin Holiday to the Bulls. The Jazz also sent a 2018 second-round pick (that came from the Nuggets) to the Bulls. The Hawks’ core group remains the same despite rumors that several key players, such as Al Horford and Jeff Teague, were on the market.
“We very much like our group,” Hawks president of basketball operations and coach Mike Budenholzer said after the deal was finalized. “I have used the phrase we are going to be very protective of the group. At the end of the day, that’s how it played out. We feel great. We are fortunate to have really good players and a good team. I think continuity is something we value for the summer and the season. We’d like to be better. We’d like to be more consistent. At the end of the day, continuity is something that can help you achieve those things.”
Budenholzer said the Hawks never were close to a deal involving one of their core players.
The Hawks also gained a roster spot in the deal. It’s one they will need with reserve center Tiago Splitter out for the season with pending right hip surgery. Budenholzer said the Hawks will look at available players from the international ranks, the waiver wire and the NBA Development League to fill the void. The Hawks also gained some financial flexibility in the deal.
Budenholzer praised the work of general manager Wes Wilcox and his staff in exploring all available options. He also thanked Mack and Holiday for their time and contributions to the team.
It will be Hinrich’s second tour of duty with the Hawks, who plan to keep the guard. He played for Atlanta from 2011-12. He went to the Bulls, his second stint with Chicago, after leaving the Hawks. The 35-year-old Hinrich appeared in 35 games for the Bulls this season and averaged 3.8 points, 1.7 assists and 1.7 rebounds in 15.9 minutes per game. He is in the final year his contract that pays him $2.87 million and becomes an unrestricted free agent following the season.
Budenholzer said there is no timetable on when Hinrich will join the Hawks, who begin the second half of the season Friday by hosting the Heat. Hinrich’s role is to be determined but the coach expects him to play both guard positions.
“There are a few different directions it can go,” Budenholzer said. “He knows he’s coming to a good team and a good situation. I think he’s going to be very valuable for us. Exactly how that happens, is still to be determined. He’s going to help us. How, when and where? As we get to know him and he gets to know us, everybody has to earn what they get.”
Mack, 31, has played sparingly this season. He has appeared in only 24 games and averaged 3.9 points and 1.6 assists in 7.5 minutes per game. He was behind Teague and Dennis Schroder in the point-guard rotation.
Mack will be reunited with Quin Snyder with the Jazz. Snyder was an assistant with the Hawks for one season before taking over the Jazz before last season. He will also be reunited with former Butler University teammate Gordon Heyward.
Mack has appeared in 247 NBA games with the Wizards, 76ers and Hawks. Mack has been with the Hawks since the 2012-13 season. For the Hawks, Mack appeared in 172 games over four seasons and averaged 6.0 points, 3.0 assists and 1.7 rebounds. He signed a three-year, $7.3 million deal with the Hawks in 2014. He has a team option of $2.43 million next season left on the deal.
Holiday, 26, also was limited action with the Hawks. He appeared in 26 games and averaged 2.4 points, 1.0 rebounds and 0.4 assists in 10.4 minutes. The Hawks signed Holiday to a two-year, $1.96 million contract as a free agent from the Warriors this summer.
Both Mack and Holiday took part in Hawks practice Thursday afternoon and were dealt before the NBA’s deadline of 3 p.m. After news of the trade broke, Holiday posted on social media with a tweet of “Where God says go I go.”
The Hawks entered the stretch run of the season with a 31-24 record and in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.