The Atlanta Hawks are trying to move up in Thursday’s NBA draft, and they’re reportedly willing to part with multiple lottery picks to do so.
According to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, the Hawks “have been aggressive exploring trades packaging the No. 8 and 10 picks to move up in the draft. Their offer to the Knicks for the No. 3 pick was apparently rebuffed. The Pelicans are considering the possibility of trading the No. 4 pick for 8 and 10.”
One interesting subplot to consider is that the Knicks are reportedly working out guard Darius Garland on Wednesday, who is in “serious consideration for the No. 3 pick,” according to Givony. Per that report, “Minnesota, Boston and Chicago are teams looking at potentially trading up to No. 4 with Garland in mind.”
If the Knicks indeed select Garland, that would mean RJ Barrett-long considered the favorite to be the No. 3 overall pick-would slide to No. 4. If the Hawks have been trying to move up to both No. 3 and 4, it could be an indication that their primary focus during this year’s draft is coming away with Barrett, giving them a fascinating prospective young core of Barrett, Trae Young, John Collins and Kevin Huerter.
Of course, the Knicks working out Garland may not mean he’s moved above Barrett on their big board:
The Pelicans, meanwhile, remain a wild card in this year’s draft. There’s no doubt that they’ll select Duke superstar Zion Williamson with the top overall pick, but the No. 4 pick remains in flux.
If the board goes Williamson, Ja Morant and Barrett with the top three picks and the Pelicans keep the selection, they’ll have a choice to make. Do they go with a player like Garland-who has become the popular choice as the fourth best player in this draft-despite having a starting backcourt in Lonzo Ball and Jrue Holiday already locked in place? Or do they go with a player at a different position, like Jarrett Culver, DeAndre Hunter or Cam Reddish?
The other option, of course, is dealing the pick. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN has reported that the Pelicans want to flip the No. 4 pick for an “established, young All-Star.”
It’s unclear which players both fit that criteria and will actually be available. If the Washington Wizards were willing to entertain offers for Bradley Beal, for example, would a package built around the No. 4 pick, Brandon Ingram and other assets-perhaps even Ball-pique their interest?
The underlying theme here is that a whole lot is in play heading into Thursday’s draft, and much of it hinges on what happens with the third and fourth picks. That gives the Knicks and Pelicans a lot of bargaining power this week, and it seems likely that some big trades are coming.