The Atlanta Hawks aren’t done making trades this summer. After acquiring All-Star guard Dejounte Murray from the San Antonio Spurs, the Hawks deal Kevin Huerter to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for Justin Holiday, Maurice Harkless and a future first-round draft pick, per Adrian Wojnarowski. The future draft pick is lottery protected in 2024, and it becomes top-12 protected in 2025 and top-10 protected in 2026.
This is a rather puzzling move on Atlanta’s part, given how Huerter has consistently developed year to year with the Hawks. So let’s break down this trade from both sides and assign some grades.
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- Justin Holiday
- Maurice Harkless
- 2024 first-round pick
I’m not sure what the plan is here with this Hawks trade. At face value, it just looks like the Hawks are trying to save on money. Huerter’s four-year, $65 million deal that he signed in October 2021 kicks in this upcoming season, and by offloading him now the Hawks don’t have to pay him that and drop $1.1 million below the luxury tax this year, per Bobby Marks. In the return for Huerter, the Hawks are getting two expiring contracts in Holiday and Harkless. They’ll make a combined $10.7 million next season before becoming unrestricted free agents in the summer of 2023.
The money aspect of this aside, though, Huerter has been a valuable role player for the Hawks in his four seasons with the team. He’s fit whatever role Atlanta needs, whether that’s starting or coming off the bench, and he’s been a consistent shooting option as a career 37.9 percent 3-point shooter. It’s actually surprising they couldn’t get more value in terms of returning players for Huerter if they were going to make him available.
The Hawks could still make additional moves, like trading John Collins, and they could recoup some of what they lost in Huerter in that trade. For that reason, I’m not going to be as harsh on the Hawks for this trade because something else could be coming down the pipeline, but if it’s not then this was just not a worthwhile trade for them.
Trade Grade: C-
For the Kings, this is an impressive trade for a front office that has struggled to string together several quality decisions in what feels like forever. Sacramento desperately needs shooting depth, and it answered that in acquiring Huerter, on top of already signing Malik Monk, who shot 39.1 percent from deep last season. Pairing these two with De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis is a quality quartet of players for the Kings to have entering next season.
When Sacramento traded young guard Tyrese Haliburton at the deadline to the Pacers for Sabonis, the team said it wanted to be competitive and make a run at the play-in tournament. That never materialized, but with some improved depth around Fox and Sabonis, the Kings should be in the running for a play-in spot next season. With the Kings not extending a qualifying offer to Donte DiVincenzo, Huerter addresses that need at shooting guard and is bit of an upgrade, too. It will be interesting to see what Sacramento’s rotation looks like heading into next season. Huerter could start in the backcourt alongside Fox, or the Kings could opt for defensive stalwart Davion Mitchell, who progressed nicely in his rookie season a year ago.
Trade Grade: A