News and Notes: Len Remains Out, Hawks Make a Trade and Another Stalls Out

Ben Ladner

The Hawks had two days off between their win over the Suns Tuesday night and Friday’s bout in San Antonio, but Thursday afternoon brought plenty of news and excitement. Let’s run through some of the day’s news and notes:

Hawks Acquire Teague, Graham Via Trade

Atlanta made its first move of trade season Thursday afternoon, trading Allen Crabbe to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Treveon Graham and former Hawk Jeff Teague. Crabbe hadn’t been playing much since John Collins’s return to the lineup, while Teague fills an urgent and immediate need at backup point guard – not to mention the positive impact he could have on a young locker room. Don’t sleep on Graham’s defense, either.

Click here for a full breakdown of Teague’s fit in Atlanta, the ripple effects of the trade, and why the deal made sense for the Hawks.

Drummond Talks Stall

Related to Thursday’s trade or not, Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes the Hawks have reportedly cut off talks with the Detroit Pistons about trading for center Andre Drummond, in whom Atlanta had expressed interest earlier this season. Haynes said that a deal would have included Damian Jones, Crabbe or Chandler Parsons, and a first-round pick for Drummond, and that he two teams were “optimistic a few weeks ago that a deal would eventually be ironed out.” The Hawks apparently listened to their better judgment and didn’t pull the trigger.

“Atlanta is seeking to remain patient, knowing there will be options to improve via the draft and during free agency, sources said.”

The Pistons are reportedly still shopping Drummond and the fizzling out of their talks with Atlanta doesn’t rule the Hawks out as a free-agency suitor for the center. But pulling the trigger on a deal now would have been imprudent on Atlanta’s part. The Hawks could have an opportunity to draft a younger big man with more upside – particularly on defense – this June, and Drummond will likely cost more than he’s worth in free agency.

Haynes’ report adds that talks with the Oklahoma City Thunder for Steven Adams could “pick up steam as the deadline looms.” Adams is a better player than Drummond at this point, and about as talented and impactful a player as Atlanta could hope to acquire before February 6. At age 26, he’d fit in with the Hawks’ young core without imposing some of the offensive and defensive constraints Drummond might.

Len Out, Fernando In Friday Night

Of course, neither Drummond nor Adams is actually on Atlanta’s roster right now, and the Hawks have been thin in the frontcourt with Alex Len, Bruno Fernando, and Jabari Parker all sidelined due to injuries or personal reasons. Len went through a light on-court workout after practice Thursday that included shooting and jogging, but given that the Hawks play at home on Saturday night, he will not travel to San Antonio on Thursday due to a sore back.

“Obviously with the back-to-back, with the back, it doesn’t make sense,” Lloyd Pierce said. “We want to get him prepared for Saturday and hope that he’s ready for Saturday.”

Fernando hasn’t played since January 6 due to personal reasons and flew back from Luanda, Angola on Monday night. He played with the Hawks’ G-League affiliate, the College Park Skyhawks, on Wednesday night on a 15-minute limit and will be active on Friday and Saturday.

“We’ll see if there’s any opportunity for Bruno in either of those two games,” Pierce said.

Pierce said that Damian Jones will remain the team’s primary backup center – an indication that John Collins will continue starting at center.