Hawks General Manager Travis Schlenk Explains Why They Traded Luka Doncic For Trae Young

Photo Credit: Scott Cunningham, NBAE via Getty Images/AFP

Hawks General Manager Travis Schlenk Explains Why They Traded Luka Doncic For Trae Young


Trae Young is having himself an amazing rookie season. He’s averaging 16.9 points, and 7.6 assists and is already leading the Atlanta Hawks. Young definitely is one of the three best rookies this season, so the Hawks franchsie and its fans should be very happy to have drafted such a talent, shouldn’t they? Well, not really! In exchange for Young and a future pick the Atlanta Hawks traded the draft rights to Luka Doncic to the Dallas Mavericks.

Doncic who easily is the most decorated rookie in NBA history, hasn’t skipped a beat since arriving in the NBA. We guys over in Europe, already knew he will be special before he was drafted, and it only took a handful of games to convince the rest of the world that he is legit. His attributes include athleticism, basketball intelligence and the ability to play against older players. He has a competitive drive, as well as unique versatility with the ability to dribble with both hands, rebound, shoot with range as well as passing and scoring in a variety of ways.

By now, everybody knows how much of a draft steal Luka is for the Mavericks and the hype is real. But one could have seen Luka’s success coming. Why did the Atlanta Hawks trade their #3 draft pick (Luka Doncic) to Dallas in exchange for the fifth overall pick (Trae Young) and a protected first-round pick in 2019?

Hawks General Manager, Travis Schlenk, now answered that question, when he was a guest on Adrian Wojnarowski’s “The Woj Pod”.


“So we felt like going back a couple spots we were still gonna get a player we really liked. One of the things that we had said all along is that it’s gonna take another first-round pick,” he said.

“Not a lot of people know this: if we would’ve stayed at three we would’ve taken Luka. We had worked with his agent and he had did a physical for us that morning in New York. I was on the phone with Bill Duffy, his agent, telling him our press conference was gonna be Monday and Bill was ecstatic because Phoenix was gonna be there Friday and he had [DeAndre] Ayton so he was going to be able to do both press conferences.

“But then Dallas came in an hour or so before the draft. I had told them all along that it would take another lottery pick for us to slide back. That’s when the conversations got started.

“For us, what made it make sense was our analytic staff was predicting Dallas to finish eighth this year. Right now I think they’re 10th. So I give those guys a lot of credit for being pretty on top of it. To be able to add two lottery picks this year with a player [that] ended up being Trae — who we’re extremely excited about and he’s had a great rookie season — that made sense to us.

“I’ve always taken the strategy with the draft, to use a baseball strategy: the more swings you get the more chances you have to get a hit. To be able to take one lottery pick and essentially turn it into two, that made sense to us.”


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