Trade Grades: Atlanta Hawks Trade Kevin Huerter to Sacramento

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ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 16: Kevin Huerter is seen at the Good Neighbor Club Grand Opening at Coan Park Recreation Center on December 16, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Casey Sykes/Getty Images)

The Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings completed a trade, but it didn’t involve John Collins or Harrison Barnes. Kevin Huerter is moving to the California capital, and Atlanta reshapes its roster even further around Trae Young. Who won the deal?

Trade Grades: Atlanta Hawks Trade Kevin Huerter to Sacramento

Terms of the Deal

Sacramento receives: Kevin Huerter (wing)

Atlanta receives: Justin Holiday (wing), Maurice Harkless (forward), 2024 lottery-protected first-round pick. The pick is top-12 protected in 2025, and top-10 protected in 2026. The pick will convert to two second-round selections in 2026 if it isn’t conveyed before then.

Sacramento Kings Grade: B-

Sacramento signed Malik Monk on the first day of free agency, and now GM Monte McNair adds Huerter to their guard/wing rotation. Huerter is a solid scorer and averages 11.4 points per game for his career while shooting 37.9% from three. He’s the best shooter on this roster with Buddy Hield in Indiana, and could be the best shooter by far if Barnes is traded. Sacramento just acquired a 24-year-old signed through 2025-26, and sent out veterans on expiring deals. This type of move is how lottery teams slowly build into playoff teams.

Huerter does come with question marks. Namely, who is going to play defense for this team? Holiday and Harkless add toughness on the perimeter despite offensive limitations. The Kings front office is making it difficult for new head coach Mike Brown to improve last season’s defense, which finished 27th out of 30 teams. Richaun Holmes is a solid defensive center but is buried behind Domantas Sabonis. Lottery pick Keegan Murray should help, but will get taken advantage of as a rookie. Davion Mitchell plays with great effort and intensity, but he’s a small guard without extraordinary athleticism. The Kings could target a young defender like Grant Williams, Matisse Thybulle, Jaden McDaniels, or Deni Avdija in a Barnes trade. Their defensive personnel hasn’t improved. A full season of Sabonis at center instead of Holmes probably makes them worse defensively. The Kings need to make another move.

With that in mind, Sacramento did well to protect their pick. These protections guarantee Sacramento will never send Atlanta a pick in the top 10. Huerter’s youth makes giving up that asset acceptable.

Atlanta Hawks Grade: B+

Atlanta and team president Travis Schlenk have to be happy with this move. They cleared the logjam in their backcourt after trading for Dejounte Murray. Huerter wasn’t going to start over Murray or De’Andre Hunter, and Atlanta already has a scoring wing overqualified to come off the bench in Bogdan Bogdanović. Head coach Nate McMillan can give Harkless minutes as a small-ball power forward when they need defense and energy. He’s also familiar with Holiday from their time together with the Indiana Pacers. Holiday gives Atlanta another rugged perimeter defender as well as a veteran leader who won a championship with Golden State in 2015.

Atlanta sent out significant draft capital in the deal for Murray, and acquiring Sacramento’s pick gives them an additional asset to use themselves or send out in a trade in the future. Replacing Huerter’s long-term contract with two expiring deals gives Atlanta additional financial freedom. This move pairs well with the Murray acquisition. Atlanta has diversified its offense and significantly improved its defense for next season.

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