Report: Hawks trade Adreian Payne to Timberwolves for future first rounder


The Hawks drafted Adreian Payne with the No. 15 pick in last year’s draft, but as they’ve surged into championship contention, they haven’t had much room to develop a rookie.

Payne has played just three games and has spent time in the D-League.

The Timberwolves, who cleared a roster spot with their earlier trade today, are all about developing young players.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Minnesota already traded a first-round pick – top-12 protected this season and next, becoming 2016 and 2017 second rounders otherwise – to the Suns, who flipped it to the Celtics. That’s why the Timberwolves are sending a pick so far into the future – which is good for Atlanta.

The Hawks might not be more conducive to a rookie then, but it’s hard to see it being a worse environment than it is now. Atlanta is, wisely, focused on winning now.

Along those lines, this trade opens a roster spot for the Hawks. Is Ray Allen the next domino to fall?

Payne, who turns 24 next week, is a little old for a rookie. But he’s an impressive athlete with a tough streak and nice shooting touch. He could become a solid stretch four, though there’s a risk he too much of his success at Michigan State was due to being older than the competition. Payne playing for Tom Izzo, Flip Saunders’ buddy, probably played a role in Payne going to Minnesota.

It’s impossible to evaluate this trade without knowing what happens to the draft pick if not conveyed by 2020. It could become a second rounder or an unprotected first – and there’s obviously a big gap between those scenarios.