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Report: Hawks trade Adreian Payne to Timberwolves for future first rounder

Ft. Wayne Mad Ants at Sioux Falls Skyforce

SIOUX FALLS, SD - NOVEMBER 29: Adreian Payne #33 from the Fort Wayne Mad Ants backs down Khem Birch #24 from the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the first half of their NBA D-League game, November 29, 2014 at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Dave Eggen/NBAE via Getty Images)

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The Hawks drafted Adreian Payne with the No. 15 pick in last year’s draft, but as they’ve surged into championship contention, they haven’t had much room to develop a rookie.

Payne has played just three games and has spent time in the D-League.

The Timberwolves, who cleared a roster spot with their earlier trade today, are all about developing young players.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Minnesota already traded a first-round pick – top-12 protected this season and next, becoming 2016 and 2017 second rounders otherwise – to the Suns, who flipped it to the Celtics. That’s why the Timberwolves are sending a pick so far into the future – which is good for Atlanta.

The Hawks might not be more conducive to a rookie then, but it’s hard to see it being a worse environment than it is now. Atlanta is, wisely, focused on winning now.

Along those lines, this trade opens a roster spot for the Hawks. Is Ray Allen the next domino to fall?

Payne, who turns 24 next week, is a little old for a rookie. But he’s an impressive athlete with a tough streak and nice shooting touch. He could become a solid stretch four, though there’s a risk he too much of his success at Michigan State was due to being older than the competition. Payne playing for Tom Izzo, Flip Saunders’ buddy, probably played a role in Payne going to Minnesota.

It’s impossible to evaluate this trade without knowing what happens to the draft pick if not conveyed by 2020. It could become a second rounder or an unprotected first – and there’s obviously a big gap between those scenarios.