5 dream trade deadline targets for the Hornets

And what they’d cost to acquire

Ben Simmons of the Brooklyn Nets
Ben Simmons of the Brooklyn Nets / Sarah Stier/GettyImages
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Target #4: A.J. Griffin, Atlanta Hawks

The 6’6” second-year player out of Duke was the 16th overall pick for Atlanta in 2022, but he’s fallen entirely out of the rotation on a team that is headed nowhere. Griffin was heralded as one of the best shooters in the draft and flashed a two-way skillset in college that had scouts raving that he was one of the biggest steals in the draft, falling outside the lottery.

But it hasn’t clicked at all for Griffin through a year and a half in the pros. It’s possible that the Hawks still have high hopes for Griffin, and view him as part of their core who just needs more time to develop. But there is also a possibility that they are ready to move on from Griffin, as the team is surely getting impatient in this very disappointing season.

The Hornets should be calling to see if they view Griffin as expendable, as a change of scenery could tap into some unrealized potential. He’s still only 20 years old, and though he’s struggled in the pros, he hasn’t had a real chance to get reps and to play through growing pains. 

The Hornets could provide that opportunity, and making a small investment in his future development could pay massive dividends. It’s not like the skills and upside of Griffin all disappeared overnight.

The Hawks may be willing to add a player who could help them now, like Bridges or Martin, or they could just be looking to add some second-round picks to their coffers. Either way, buying Griffin at a reasonable cost would almost be like adding a free extra lottery pick for the Hornets.