Leaked NBA draft picks helped Hawks GM Travis Schlenk avoid making a trade

Atlanta Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk was pretty pleased media reports helped save him a draft pick. (Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk was pretty pleased media reports helped save him a draft pick. (Getty Images)

The Atlanta Hawks got nervous. With a few picks still to go before they were on the board at No. 19 in Thursday night’s NBA draft, general manager Travis Schlenk worried both guys he had pegged for good value in their first-round slot would be gone by the time he was on the clock.

So, Schlenk called up the Milwaukee Bucks and came to a provisional deal to send picks their way in exchange for the 17th pick, so long as at least one of the guys they wanted was still available. Except, he never had to make that deal, because news of Milwaukee’s choice leaked to the media before it got to that point, and he knew both his guys would drop past No. 17.

“We had the 19th pick, and we’re coming down and we’re talking actually to Milwaukee on the 17th pick, talking about trading up to get a guy we like,” Schlenk told 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, via ESPN. “There were a couple of guys we felt really good about on the 19th pick, obviously Kevin [Huerter] was one of them, and it leaked who Milwaukee was going to take.

“So, all of a sudden, we were able to pull back out of that deal and keep the draft pick instead of packaging picks to move up, because we knew that [there were] two guys on the board we felt really good about and only one team in between us, so that was beneficial to us last night.”

Throughout the night, Yahoo Sports and other outlets reported news of who was going where before commissioner Adam Silver announced the picks. The entire league knew the Bucks were selecting Donte DiVincenzo before the pick was official. And two picks later, when the Hawks were still on the board, we knew they were taking Huerter before his name was called, too.

Reporters weren’t the only ones breaking draft news before teams were even on the clock. Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier called Danny Ainge live on Bleacher Report’s draft show, and the president of basketball operations unknowingly told everyone watching he was taking Robert Williams with the 27th pick while the Philadelphia 76ers were still picking at No. 26.

Now we know at least one team might have cost itself an additional draft pick as a result.

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Ben Rohrbach is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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