File this one under, Sometimes, the media serves a helpful purpose.
On Thursday night, Hawks GM Travis Schlenk reportedly pulled the plug on an agreed-upon trade that would have enabled Atlanta to move up in Round 1.
What was the reasoning for killing the deal? Cold feet? Gut feeling? Another club swooping in to select the coveted player?
Actually, none of the above.
In his radio discussion with 95.7 FM in San Francisco on Friday, just a few hours after the Hawks landed three decorated college talents (Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, Omari Spellman), Schlenk revealed Atlanta was set to swap slots with Milwaukee midway through Round 1 ... before a televised report changed everything in a blink.
"We had the 19th pick, and we're coming down and we're actually talking to Milwaukee on the 17th pick, talking about trading up to get a guy we like," Schlenk recalled. "There were a couple of guys we felt really good about on the 19th pick, obviously (Huerter) was one of them, and it leaked who Milwaukee was going to take.
"So, all of a sudden, we were able to pull back out of that deal and keep the draft pick instead of packaging picks to move up because we knew that, two guys on the board we felt really good about and only one team in between us, so that was beneficial to us last night."
This marked the second time Schlenk experienced good fortune during Thursday's draft, via televised reports.
Around 7:45 p.m. EST, moments before the Hawks were on the clock at No. 3 overall, ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski broke in with a timely scoop, saying Atlanta and Dallas had agreed to a swap of top-five picks ... on the contingency that Memphis would select Jaren Jackson Jr.–or anyone not named Trae Young–at No. 4 overall.
The problem here: ESPN's feed goes out to a nationwide audience, including the Grizzlies' draft headquarters.
If the Grizz executives truly wanted to wreak havoc with the Hawks-Mavericks swap (Trae Young for Luka Doncic), it would have been easy to accomplish; and the NBA powers-that-be would have had no recourse for stopping it, since franchises are prohibited from drafting for other franchises.
But alas, everything worked out in the end. Atlanta traded Doncic to Dallas and added a first-round selection for next year (top-five protected). Memphis got its frontline cornerstone in Michigan State's Jackson; and the Mavericks ended up with the highest-ranked playmaker on their customized board.
When talking to the Atlanta media on Thursday, Schlenk was hardly fazed by the prospect of network TV unwittingly thwarting the Young-Doncic trade.
"I was pretty confident" the Grizzlies were going to draft Jackson, said Schlenk.