I know you asked this question from a Hawks perspective, as an Atlanta resident, so perhaps it will hearten you to hear that, as I’ve also maintained for some time, Phoenix and Sacramento are likely headed for more regret here than Atlanta.
The Suns had the No. 1 pick in 2018 and had just hired one of the world’s foremost Doncic experts, Igor Kokoskov, as their new head coach. It would have been gutsy at the time to take Doncic over Deandre Ayton — especially after Ayton starred at Arizona — but they certainly had no shortage of inside intel.
As for Sacramento and the mounting disappointment among Kings fans after their team used 2018’s No. 2 pick on Marvin Bagley, team officials believed that they already had a young, top-flight lead guard: De’Aaron Fox. So you can understand their thinking — to a degree. Much harder to digest is the opportunity the Kings squandered. Even if they were convinced that Bagley was their man, why not try to make the same trade with Dallas that Atlanta did?
The Kings could have drafted Doncic at No. 2 in a deal with the Mavericks that would have netted the No. 5 pick and a 2019 first-rounder. Atlanta, at No. 3, would have then been expected to take Young, followed by Memphis drafting Jaren Jackson Jr. at No. 4, leaving Bagley at No. 5 for Dallas to pick up on Sacramento’s behalf. Drafting Doncic and trading his rights immediately would have invited plenty of criticism for any team, given the way Doncic has developed, but passing on the Slovenian star becomes more palatable if a second lottery pick is part of the deal.
Q: How do they resume games when players’ contracts expire and salary caps reset in June? — @blake_stakes from Twitter
Stein: Countless player and coach contracts expire June 30. The 2019-20 league year is supposed to end that same day, with a new salary cap ceiling going into effect on July 1. The N.B.A. draft is scheduled for June 25. Free agency negotiations can begin at 6 p.m. Eastern time on June 30. It’s daunting when you start to run through all the revisions that would be required.
But those would all rank as welcome problems compared to the far more unsettling obstacles that must be negotiated to avoid canceling the rest of the 2019-20 season. I posted a fairly lengthy Twitter thread on Sunday night in hopes of listing some of the health-and-safety hurdles that have to be cleared before the N.B.A. can even think about staging games again, even behind closed doors.
The safest bet, as we finally exit the longest and saddest March this league (and sport) has ever endured: The draft will not happen on June 25 if the league musters tangible hope in coming weeks that it can play some regular-season games this summer. The draft order can’t be set until the regular-season standings are final.
Q: Couldn’t this be, like, the 100th take? — Andrew Goldwasser (Dallas)
I checked with Breen on Tuesday, and he said he needed only two takes. Breen’s daughter Nicole, who works for the N.B.A. in its youth development department, filmed the clip, which Breen said needed a redo because he flubbed a line on the first try after making that shot as well.
This content was originally published here.