Taurean Prince reacts after scoring against the Milwaukee Bucks. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton

Hawks piling up more assets with reported trade of Taurean Prince

The Hawks are piling up assets.

The question remains what will be done with all them.

Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk has often said that part of his rebuild plan is to acquire assets – draft picks and salary-cap space. He reportedly has more to work with now.

The Hawks will acquire the No. 17 pick in the coming NBA draft, a protected first-round pick in the 2020 draft and guard/forward Allen Crabbe from the Nets in exchange for forward Taurean Prince and a 2021 second-round draft pick. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the pending trade, which can’­­t be completed until the end of the NBA moratorium July 6. That will be after the draft on June 20.

The 2020 first-round pick to be acquired by the Hawks is top-14 protected.

The Hawks already had five picks in the draft -- Nos. 8 and 10 in the first round and Nos. ­­­35, 41 and 44 in the second round. The pending move now gives the Hawks three first-round picks and three second-round picks.

Schlenk said last month that he doubted the team would add five players to a roster that has nine players under contract for next season when questioned about the three second-round picks.

“Probably don’t want to add five rookies to the team,” Schlenk said in May before the draft lottery. “So, we will look at a lot of different things, whether it’s a draft and stash. Last year we took a pick and traded it for two future picks just to take that asset and multiply it. We will look at trying to package picks to move up as well.”

If Schlenk didn’t want to add five rookies, he’s not likely to add six. The Hawks are certainly in position to make other moves, perhaps bold ones, ahead of the draft or on draft night.

Prince, 25, just completed his third season with the Hawks after he was selected with the No. 12 overall pick in the 2016 draft out of Baylor. He averaged 11.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists over 196 career games. He became a starter last season and averaged 13.5 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 55 games. He missed time in the early part of the season with a left ankle sprain. He is scheduled to earn $3.5 million next season. Prince is eligible for a rookie contract extension in July.

Prince was the subject of trade rumors last season.

“He came back from his ankle injury halfway through the season, and I thought he played really well the last couple months of the season,” Schlenk said in May of Prince’s future with the Hawks. “We established an identity by then. I think he fits that identity of how we want to play with his ability to shoot the ball. I’ve stated many times, and I honestly believe this, he is one of the best spot-up shooters in the NBA. That is what every team is looking for.”

In acquiring Crabbe, the Hawks take on his $18.5 million salary in the final year of his contract. The 6-foot-6 guard/forward averaged 9.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 43 games last season. In six seasons, he averaged 9.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 344 games since he was a second-round pick, No. 32, in the 2013 draft by the Trail Blazers.

In freeing salary-cap space by dealing Crabbe, Wojnarowski reports that the Nets could be preparing for a run at free agent point guard Kyrie Irving.

The Hawks already have considerable salary-cap space going into the offseason. After the 2019-20 season, they will have more as Kent Bazemore, Miles Plumlee and Crabbe all have expiring contracts. 

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