The Hawks made two draft-night trades – and ended up with NBA player Tim Hardaway Jr. Thursday night.
The Hawks made their No. 15 overall pick in the first round of Kelly Oubre. The freshman small forward from Kansas won’t play in Atlanta. The Hawks sent Oubre to the Wizards for the No. 19 pick and two future second-round picks in 2016 and 2019.
Twenty minutes later the Wizards picked Jerian Grant for the Hawks, who sent the point guard from Notre Dame to the Knicks for Hardaway.
“We’ve had our eye on him for a while,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “He’s been somebody who we’ve kind of watched. In two years, he’s shown he can contribute. We are looking forward for him doing that for us.”
Hardaway, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard, played two seasons with the Knicks after being the No. 24 pick in the 2013 draft. In 151 career games, Hardaway averaged 10.8 points, 1.8 points and 1.3 assists in 23.5 minutes. Last year for the Knicks, Hardaway averaged 11.5 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 24.0 minutes for the 17-win Knicks. He shot .389 (279 of 717) from the field and .342 (121 of 354) from 3-point range.
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In essence, the Hawks traded a first-round pick for a bench player.
“We started off with a couple of goals coming into tonight,” general manager Wes Wilcox said. “One of them was to acquire some additional assets. Another one was to add shooting. We knew in some way, whether it was now or in free agency, we were going to look to add another player at the shooting guard position. We are excited to be able to do that with Tim.”
Wilcox said the Hawks had eight or nine offers for the 15th pick. Once the Thunder selected Murray State point guard Cameron Payne at No. 14, the Hawks decided to move back and then eventually acquire Hardaway.
Hardaway, 23, is entering the final year of his rookie contract and will earn $1.3 million. He has a team option of $2.28 million in 2016-17 and a qualifying option of $3.34 million in 2017-18.
“You weigh what your options are and what is in front of you,” Budenholzer said of passing on a draftee. “We felt like adding Tim Hardaway Jr. was what was best for us, a young, 2-guard who has shown an ability to make shots and be an effective player. I think we get him into our development program and around our assistant coaches and players, we think he is going to grow and prosper here.”
Behind starter Kyle Korver, who will be coming back from ankle surgery, the Hawks have guards Shelvin Mack, Kent Bazemore and Austin Daye on the roster who can play shooting guard. The Hawks did use starting point guard Jeff Teague there paired with backup Dennis Schroder at times last season.
Budenholzer said the Hawks were never close to moving up in the draft but got several offers once they traded down to the 19th pick.
Hardaway played three seasons at Michigan and left after his junior season when the Wolverines lost in the NCAA championship game in 2013. He is the son of former NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway.
“The ability to acquire a player who has established himself in the league after two years is somebody who can help a team, help us, and acquiring a couple of second-round picks are assets as we continue to build and create flexibility in the future,” Budenholzer said. “It was a very good night for us.”
With late second-round picks, the Hawks selected Barcelona guard Marcus Eriksson of Sweden at No. 50 and Olympiacos power forward Dimitrios Agravanis of Greece at No. 59 overall. Both are under contract with their European teams and will remain overseas.
“Marcus Eriksson is a player we’ve followed for quite a while,” Wilcox said. “He tore his ACL so he missed a year. We thought that would be an opportunity if he played the year he probably would have went much higher in the draft.
“It’s a good way to see if we can’t develop some guys internationally.”