Despite finishing with a 29-53 record and finishing at 12th place in the Eastern Conference, the Atlanta Hawks showed a lot of promise in the 2018-19 NBA season, thanks to the contributions of young players such as second-year big man John Collins and rookie guards Trae Young and Kevin Huerter. But with the team still lacking experience and having a few holes to fill in order to return to playoff contention, a new report suggests that the Hawks could make noise in the offseason by trading for one of the multi-titled Golden State Warriors’ key players — three-time All-Star forward Draymond Green.
In an article published on Wednesday, Bleacher Report‘s Zach Buckley examined all 14 NBA teams that missed the playoffs this year and looked at their most realistic “superstar” trade targets for the coming offseason. For the Atlanta Hawks, Buckley stressed that Green would be a plausible target because of Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk’s past ties with Golden State, as well as his attempts to rebuild the team “around a Warriors of the East” model. This rebuilding attempt, as noted, saw Atlanta take Young and Huerter in the first round of the 2018 NBA Draft, with both rookies combining for 292 three-pointers in their first pro season.
Considering the possibility that the Warriors may see Green as the “odd man out” as they try to keep their championship-winning core lineup as intact as possible, Buckley recommended a trade where the Hawks could acquire Green in exchange for their starting small forward, Taurean Prince, and their first-round pick in the 2020 draft.
“There’s a best-case scenario in which Green fits like a glove as both the defensive anchor John Collins needs alongside him and the deft distributor who increases the potency of the Young-Huerter backcourt,” Buckley wrote. “Since Golden State has determined it can’t fit Green into the budget in this scenario, it should be glad to take back a future first-round flier and a three-and-D rotation player.”
Explaining the other merits of the theoretical deal, Buckley added that the trade could give Atlanta the clout it needs to attract top free agents, while also allowing the Hawks an “easy out” in case Green doesn’t mesh with the team. As further pointed out, the 29-year-old former Defensive Player of the Year is eligible to enter free agency in the summer of 2020.
With DeMarcus Cousins joining the Warriors in the summer of 2018 and giving them a fourth offensive threat alongside Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson after returning from his Achilles injury, Draymond Green’s scoring numbers declined substantially in the 2018-19 regular season. Nonetheless, he still made up for his lack of scoring with strong numbers elsewhere on the stat sheet, as he averaged 7.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, 6.9 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.1 blocks in 66 regular-season games, per Basketball-Reference.
Meanwhile, Taurean Prince struggled through injuries in his third season with the Atlanta Hawks but continued to put up solid numbers for the team. According to his Basketball-Reference player page, the 25-year-old Prince started 47 out of 55 games and averaged 13.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.1 assists, while shooting 44.1 percent from the field and 39 percent from three-point range.