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According to Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Hawks are looking to make moves and improve their roster before the Feb. 23 trade deadline.
Atlanta currently holds the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, but after the Toronto Raptors’ trade for Serge Ibaka, the battle to clinch home-court advantage in the first round became that much more difficult for the Hawks.
For the Hawks, this active buyer’s mode is something that would have been tough to imagine just six weeks ago.
Reports surfaced in January indicating the Hawks were actively shopping All-Star forward Paul Millsap.
He’s since been taken off the trade market and it looks like he’ll have another new teammate or two to help out in what the Hawks hope will be a run to the Eastern Conference finals.
The Hawks have a deep pool of assets to include in trades, including the Nets’ 2017 second-round pick, the Heat’s second-round pick (protected 31-40) in 2017 or unprotected in 2018, the Timberwolves’ first-round pick (protected 1-14) for 2018, 2019 or 2020 or second-round picks in 2021 and 2022 if not conveyed as a first-rounder, the Cavaliers’ first-round pick (protected 1-10) in 2019, and the Wizards’ second-round pick in 2019.
All of those assets are in addition to their own draft picks.
Some of the Eastern Conference playoff contenders may turn out to be more aggressive in trades this year than usual, due to a significant change in the dynamic of the top of the conference standings.
Kevin Love’s knee injury just made the race to first place in the conference more interesting, as Boston, Washington, and Toronto all hope to make their way up to clinch home court advantage in the East.
It was already a close race, but teams like the Celtics, Wizards, Raptors and Hawks have to feel like their chances of dethroning the Cavs became a bit more realistic.
If there’s a year to try and upset Cleveland, this might be the best chance the rest of the East gets in the next two or three years and these Eastern Conference contenders are positioning themselves to try and pull off the upset.