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Grading the Hawks-Kings, Kevin Huerter-Justin Holiday trade

Hawks trade, Kings, Kevin Huerter, Hawks, Kings trade

This NBA offseason has not disappointed, with a bevy of wild trades, free agency moves, max contract extensions and one trade request that turned the sports world upside down. Thursday’s massive trade request by Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant sent every general manager to their cell phones- and Friday has brought much of the same, with the likes of Malcolm Brogdon and Rudy Gobert being moved via trade. Before those deals, the Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings started the day’s festivities with a trade, as Atlanta sent guard Kevin Huerter to the Kings in exchange for guard Justin Holiday, forward Mo Harkless and a future first round pick.

It’s an interesting trade from both perspectives, as the Kings added some much-needed shooting on the perimeter while the Hawks dropped below the luxury tax fresh off of their huge acquisition of Dejounte Murray from the San Antonio Spurs.

Some believe the Hawks parted ways with a valuable role player in Huerter, with not much left to show for it. Others question the Kings’ defense, which doesn’t seem to have gotten any better.

But how did both teams really do? That’s what we’ll assess here. Without further ado, here are our grades for the Hawks-Kings trade involving Kevin Huerter and Justin Holiday.

Hawks-Kings, Kevin Huerter-Justin Holiday Trade Grades

Hawks Grade: B

This is a sensible trade from the Hawks. Kevin Huerter was originally thought to be Trae Young’s backcourt running mate for the next several years when the team signed him to a four-year, $65 million extension last fall. However, things got crowded in the Atlanta backcourt- and they were bound to stay that way with Murray arriving via trade and AJ Griffin via the draft.

Huerter, who shot 38.9 percent from beyond the three-point line on 5.6 attempts, made sense as an asset for the Hawks to move. Atlanta removed his $14.5 million 2022-23 cap hit- which balloons to $17.9 million in the final year- off the books, adding the expiring contracts of Holiday and Harkless.

They also add a future first round pick from Sacramento, who has posted 16 straight losing seasons. There’s a fairly good chance that that pick will turn out to be a valuable one, barring a crazy turnaround by the Kings. It’s a nice addition after Atlanta shipped out three first rounders in the Murray deal.

Plus, the Hawks received some decent role players in return for Huerter. Holiday, a career 36.5 percent three-point shooter, makes up for some of the perimeter shooting lost in the departure of Huerter.

Harkless, who has posted a passable 109 career Defensive Rating per 100 possessions, gives the Hawks some depth at the forward spot, especially with John Collins potentially on the way out.

Atlanta also gave themselves more flexibility next summer, when Holiday and Harkless come off the books as unrestricted free agents.

It’s a trade that helps keep their options open in the future while also not hurting the good thing the Hawks have going for them right now.

Kings Grade: B+

This is a solid trade for the Kings. One could argue- based on his contract and ability as a shooter- that the Hawks could have gotten more for Huerter. Instead, Sacramento basically offloaded two veteran forwards with expiring contracts for a sharpshooter under contract for the next three seasons.

Holiday, 33 and Harkless, 29, weren’t a part of the Kings’ recent youth movement. At 23 years old with room to grow even further, Huerter is a much better fit.

They had to part ways with a future first-round pick, though that might not be such a bad thing, given the Kings’ questionable draft strategy over the last several years. Plus, Huerter further addresses a major deficiency from last season with this Kings team: perimeter shooting.

Sacramento ranked inside the bottom-10 teams in both three-pointers made and three-point percentage. Huerter, who knocked down 2.2 treys per game at a 38.9 percent clip, will be a major help in that department.

The Kings are taking on extra salary in the deal, which is a definite downgrade for a team that is already in a bit of a pickle financially. Still, this Kings team, which also added Malik Monk, a 39.1 percent three-point shooter from last season, suddenly looks much-improved offensively.

With talented guard De’Aaron Fox and point-forward Domantas Sabonis, the Kings have a nice inside-outside combo, along with knockdown three-point shooters around them.

This is still a team likely to struggle defensively.

Still, sometimes the best defense is a good offense. If the Kings are improved on that end of the floor, they could push for a spot in the NBA Play-In Tournament.