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Same plan as Hawks approach trade deadline

Travis Schlenk hasn’t changed his philosophy.

The Hawks general manager will stick to his rebuild mantra as he approaches his second NBA trade deadline after joining the franchise in May 2017.

“It’s the same goal I’ve had since day one,” Schlenk told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Accumulate salary cap space. Use that space to accumulate assets.”

The NBA trade deadline is Thursday at 3 p.m. The Hawks could be players — buyers or sellers — but don’t expect a blockbuster move.

As the Hawks are in mid-rebuild, their young players are showing promise and getting valuable experience. Second-year forward John Collins and rookie guards Trae Young and Kevin Huerter, all first-round picks, have shown growth. They have mixed with third-year players Taurean Prince and DeAndre Bembry, also first-round picks, in the rotation. The Hawks also have a mix with other young players with potential and veterans including Kent Bazemore.

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The Hawks do have trade candidates in Jeremy Lin and Dewayne Dedmon.

Lin recently posted on social media two pairs of watchful eyes with the hashtag #NBATradeDeadline. The veteran has played behind Young all season and likely wants to be moved to a contender, if one with interest can be found.

As he did last year, Schlenk insists any move must make sense to the Hawks. See above. 

Schlenk also said the Hawks will not take back salary in a trade without getting significant return. Last year, the Hawks reached buyout agreements with veterans Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Bellinelli, both who signed with the 76ers, near the trade deadline rather than take on extra salary in a deal.

The Hawks have accumulated a number of draft picks in recent deals. They have the potential for three first-round picks, although a top-10 protected pick from the Cavaliers in likely not to convey this year. They also have the top-5 protected pick from the Mavericks and their own first-round selection in addition to two second-round picks.

As is the case around the trade deadline, the Hawks have had several conversations about possible deals but nothing has advanced to the stage of serious talks at this point.

The Hawks got off to a rough start to start the season but are 11-12 in their last 23 games, including 3-3 on their current seven-game road trips that ends at the Wizards on Monday. Collins and Young will take part in the Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star weekend next week.

“It’s hard not to be excited with our progress,” Schlenk said.

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