The Atlanta Hawks have a franchise-altering decision to make with the first overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft on June 26. Ever since the Hawks were awarded the top pick in the draft for the first time in franchise history, the debate has been between two French phenoms: Zaccharie Risacher and Alex Sarr. These two prospects are undoubtedly at the top of virtually every team's draft boards with just over one week until the NBA Draft, but Donovan Clingan is another name many teams have shown a level of interest in, the Hawks included.

Clingan is a two-time national champion with the UConn Huskies, and he enters the NBA Draft viewed as the best collegiate prospect. Between his immediate defensive contributions and ability to make a positive impact in pick-and-roll situations on offense, Clingan may be more NBA-ready than both Risacher and Sarr, who are far from completed products.

The Hawks, who are currently considering all of their options leading up to the draft, hold Clingan in high regard, league sources told ClutchPoints. Although Sarr has long been viewed as the Hawks' top option throughout the pre-draft process, general manager Landry Fields and Atlanta's front office have made it a point of emphasis to thoroughly evaluate their options pertaining to keeping the first overall pick and hearing out trade offers from rival organizations.

Compared to Risacher and Sarr, Clingan has made a very strong impression on the Hawks. This is why, sources said, there is real momentum trending toward Atlanta ending up with the UConn big man at the first overall pick in this year's draft if they do not look to trade down.

At this moment, Sarr and Risacher are very likely to be two of the first three names called during the 2024 NBA Draft. If the Hawks were to take Clingan first overall or trade the pick to a team that wasn't going to select Sarr, the French big man would undoubtedly be the Washington Wizards' selection with the second overall pick, sources said.

There is a growing belief that the Hawks like Clingan much better than anyone else available at the top of the draft — a similar scenario to what played out in 2022 when the Orlando Magic were expected to take Jabari Smith Jr. but ended up shocking many and taking Paolo Banchero first overall.

The angle of Sarr being the player the Hawks are fixated on has changed drastically since Atlanta won the first pick of the draft during the NBA Draft Lottery. Many executives around the league believe Risacher and Clingan are the two names at the top of the Hawks' draft board.

The key question for Atlanta revolves around whether or not they will trade this pick, a narrative that has grown in recent weeks.

Hawks' trade decision with draft pick

tlanta Hawks general manager Landry Fields (right) and Mark Tatum Deputy commissioner of the NBA after the Hawks get the number one pick in the 2024 NBA Draft Lottery at McCormick Place West.
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

There is going to be a lot of movement in the 2024 NBA Draft. Not only will teams be looking to cut costs by moving down in the draft, but several teams have already expressed interest in moving up in the lottery. A handful of teams have expressed interest in the Hawks' first overall selection, sources said, with some already speaking directly with the organization about what it would take.

It does appear as if Atlanta will be keeping the first pick in order to select the player they believe will have the most long-term and short-term impact on the organization's chances of success. Still, the idea of trading down is something the front office has discussed.

As reported previously on ClutchPoints, the Portland Trail Blazers and Memphis Grizzlies are two teams that have held discussions about pursuing Clingan by trading up in the draft. Clingan has also been linked to the Chicago Bulls as a trade-up option, according to ESPN.

One team many teams around the league don't know what to expect from is the Oklahoma City Thunder. Executive Sam Presti is always very secretive about his team's true intentions, which is why the belief that the Thunder could sacrifice a few of their many future draft picks to move up and pursue Clingan in this year's draft exists. A frontcourt pairing of Chet Holmgren and Clingan would be virtually unstoppable in the Western Conference.

If the Hawks really want Clingan, their safest option would be to take him first overall. The luxury of owning the first overall pick is that the organization can simply select the player at the top of their draft board with no questions asked. At the same time, front offices are always wondering if it is worth moving down in the draft to gain future assets while also still being able to draft the player they are targeting. That is the case here with Clingan, assuming a team wouldn't trade for the No. 1 pick in order to take him.

The Wizards would not want to move if Sarr was on the board, and it is hard to envision a scenario where the Houston Rockets would want to move up two spots and claim the top pick of the draft. That leaves the San Antonio Spurs as a viable trade partner since they have long had interest in Risacher, sources said. The Spurs currently occupy the fourth and eighth picks in the draft, but would moving down three spots ensure that the Hawks could still grab Clingan in this scenario?

This could wind up being disastrous, with the Rockets being unpredictable and possibly moving their third overall pick to a team that wants Clingan. With several other teams targeting the UConn center, this may not be the smartest move for Atlanta to make. The safest option for the Hawks to end up with Clingan in this year's draft is to select him with the first overall pick. With this said, nobody around the league would be surprised to see Atlanta select Risacher in the top spot. Risacher has the two-way potential and capability to be the perfect wing for any NBA team to build with. It is also worth noting that Risacher had a private workout in Atlanta recently.

Like many other teams in the league, the Hawks like Clingan and can envision him making a positive difference on their roster for many years to come. The question of whether or not Atlanta likes him more than Risacher and Sarr won't be answered until June 26, when Adam Silver officially announces that the Hawks are on the clock.