Busy night of trades early in NBA Draft
New York — It was a dizzying night of trades at the NBA draft.
Lottery picks De’Andre Hunter, Jarrett Culver and Jaxson Hayes didn’t last long with the teams that picked them Thursday night.
Hunter was taken fourth by the Los Angeles Lakers in a pick they had already agreed to trade to the New Orleans Pelicans to acquire Anthony Davis. That deal can’t officially go through until July 6.
The Pelicans didn’t hold on to the pick, agreeing to trade it earlier Thursday to the Atlanta Hawks and acquiring Hayes, who was selected eighth.
“I didn’t know they were going to trade up to the fourth pick,” Hunter said of the Hawks. “I know they were trying to do something to get earlier in the draft.”
The move wasn’t a huge surprise as the Virginia star only worked out for the Hawks. The Pelicans also received Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who was taken 17th, Marcos Louzada Silva, along with a protected first-round pick from Cleveland in 2020 that Atlanta had.
New Orleans also sent Solomon Hill, Jordan Bone and a future second-rounder to Atlanta. The trade was confirmed by a person familiar with the deal.
The trade helped the Pelicans create more salary cap space by unloading the nearly $12.8 million owed to Hill next season. New Orleans also saved about $2.2 million by moving their second first-round pick down from fourth to eighth overall.
Hunter wasn’t sure what he would do with the Lakers hat he wore onto the stage to shake hands with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
“I don’t necessarily know what I’m going to do with it,” he said. “Probably give it to a Lakers fan. Have them wear it.”
The Hawks and Pelicans weren’t the only teams making moves in the lottery.
Culver was selected by Phoenix with the sixth pick and the Suns agreed to trade him to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“It’s kind of different. I’m just happy to be in the NBA and have this opportunity. It’s a lot of work to be done,” Culver said. “So wherever I end up, I’ve got to stay true to myself and give whatever team I’m playing for everything I’ve got.”
The Wolves traded Dario Saric and Cameron Johnson, who was drafted 11th. Saric’s agent, Misko Raznatovic, confirmed on Twitter that his client was headed to the Suns.