Hawks acquire Hardaway Jr. in draft-night trade with Knicks

GEORGE HENRY (Associated Press)
The Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) -- As names started coming off his draft board, Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer didn't see a player who excited him at the 15th or the 19th spot.

So the newly minted team president of basketball operations waited for an offer that made sense. When the New York Knicks called to say Tim Hardaway Jr. was available for the 19th overall pick, the Hawks were in.

''We've had our eye on him for a while,'' Budenholzer said Thursday night. ''He's been somebody we've kind of watched and has shown in two years he can contribute. I think he can do that for us.''

Beginning the draft with the 15th overall pick, Atlanta chose Kansas swingman Kelly Oubre and quickly dealt him to Washington for the 19th spot and a pair of second-round picks.

The Hawks selected Notre Dame point guard Jerian Grant at the spot and traded him for Hardaway, a second-year guard who averaged 10.8 points in 151 career games with New York.

Hardaway comes at a low price next season with a $1.3 million salary. He's in the last year of his rookie deal and likely will be a reserve.

''I think our fans should be real excited about adding Tim Hardaway Jr. to our team,'' Budenholzer said. ''I think we've managed to put together a roster where we're very deep and one through 15 (on the roster), guys can contribute to our depth.''

It's been a busy week for the Hawks, who parted ways with general manager Danny Ferry on Monday and gave Budenholzer the title of team president of basketball operations and promoted Wes Wilcox from assistant general manager to the GM post.

The team's new ownership group, led by billionaire Tony Ressler and former NBA star Grant Hill, closed on its $850 million purchase of the Hawks on Wednesday.

Budenholzer was named NBA coach of the year last season after leading the franchise to its first 60-win season and first appearance in the Eastern Conference finals.

Even after adding Hardaway, the Hawks still might have some big holes on their roster.

The starting five is uncertain with forwards Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll entering free agency on July 1. Center Al Horford, guard Jeff Teague and guard Kyle Korver will return. So will key backups Dennis Schroder, Kent Bazemore, Shelvin Mack, Mike Scott and Thabo Sefolosha.

Hardaway is likely to back up Korver.

''He's a young 2-guard who's shown the ability to make shots and be an effective player,'' Budenholzer said. ''I think we get him into our development program and working with our coaches around our players - we think he's going to grow and prosper here.''

Hardaway was named to the NBA all-rookie team under his first coach, but he didn't quite mesh last season with new coach Derek Fisher.

Budenholzer indicated that Hardaway still has enough talent to help the Hawks on both ends of the floor.

''I think a real strong point for us last year was our depth,'' Budenholzer said. ''Now with Tim Hardaway Jr., we've added someone who's proven he can play in our league and is going to make us better.''

The Hawks drafted Marcus Eriksson, a slender shooting guard from Sweden, with the 50th overall pick. They added power forward Dimitrios Agravanis of Greece with the 59th pick.

What to Read Next