The Atlanta Hawks continue to be aggressive leading up to the trade deadline. Just hours after reportedly Clint Capela in a massive four-team trade, the Hawks made another move. This time, they are dealing Jabari Parker and Alex Len to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for Dewayne Dedmon and two second round picks (2020 and 2021), according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Sam Amick of The Athletic.
The deal will provide the Hawks with another solid big man to pair with All-Star guard Trae Young and also give them a couple of draft picks that they can use to continue to build out their roster or package in a different deal. Dedmon played with the Hawks from 2017 to 2019 so he's already familiar with the franchise, which is a bonus for both sides. He averaged career-highs in points (10.8), rebounds (7.5), and minutes (25.1) per game in Atlanta last season.
For the Kings, the trade gives them a couple of rotation players in Parker and Len, but more importantly, it allows them to unload Dedmon's current contract. Dedmon inked a three-year, $40 million contract with the Kings over the offseason, and it seemed like the Kings regretted the deal almost immediately. After starting 52 times and averaging over 25 minutes per game in Atlanta last season, Dedmon started just 10 games and averaged 15.9 minutes per game for the Kings.
The move will likely be welcomed by Dedmon, as heaway from Sacramento earlier this season; a request that cost him $50,000.
"I would like to be traded," Dedmon said in late December. "I haven't been playing, so I would like to go somewhere where my talents are appreciated... I'm trying to play and I've been told I'm no longer in the rotation here, so there's really nothing to wait on."
Dedmon got his wish as he now gets to go back to Atlanta, where he had a career year last season, and try to help them turn back into a playoff team in the Eastern Conference. Here are our grades for the trade.
Atlanta Hawks get:
- Two second-round picks (2020 and 2021)
Sacramento Kings get:
Hawks trade grade: A-
Dedmon had far more value to Atlanta specifically than he would for other teams. When the Hawks locker room faltered earlier in the season, it was widely noted how much they missed Dedmon's vocal leadership. The Hawks have one of the NBA's youngest rosters, so leadership is at a premium, especially with Trae Young by the lack of talent around him. That alone makes Dedmon a worthwhile addition.
But in basketball terms, Dedmon helps solve some of the issues that will arise out of a Clint Capela-John Collins frontcourt. Capela and Collins both function best offensively as pick-and-roll divers, catching lobs for easy dunks generated by the attention defenses pay Young. Atlanta has found a lot of success offensively in recent years running double-drag pick-and-rolls, which feature screens from both a roller (ostensibly Capela or Collins) and a shooting big man (in this case, Dedmon). Dedmon's ability to fill either role in those plays makes him a dangerous supporting weapon in the pick-and-roll, which is Atlanta's bread and butter offensively.
Taking on the $13.3 million Dedmon is owed next season isn't ideal, nor is having $1 million in guaranteed money for the 2021-22 season off of his deal. But Atlanta has so much cap flexibility moving forward that spending a relatively small portion of it on a player who has proven that he fits both on and off the court with this roster was well worth it.
Kings trade grade: B+
Unlike Atlanta, the Kings don't have much trade flexibility. In signing Dedmon, Harris Barnes, Trevor Ariza and Cory Joseph over the summer, they committed an inordinate amount of money into veterans for such a young team. That was going to present a problem in retaining restricted free agent Bogdan Bogdanovic. With fellow shooting guard Buddy Hield already locked into a $106 million deal and a max extension looming for De'Aaron Fox this offseason, there was genuine concern over whether Sacramento could afford to keep Bogdanovic.
That concern should now be quelled. While Parker will make $6.5 million next season, he still saves close to $7 million compared to Dedmon. While Dedmon had improved since his December trade request, he was still behind Marvin Bagley and Richaun Holmes in the team's long-term plans. Giving up draft picks to dump a contract signed only eight months ago is hardly ideal, but if it takes two second-round picks to keep an ascendant young player like Bogdanovic, then so be it. This move, in a vacuum, makes sense even if the original Dedmon deal did not.