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How a Twitter battle affected Kevin Huerter's NBA draft night

How a Twitter battle affected Kevin Huerter's NBA draft night

Hawks GM says team had been ready to trade pick
How a Twitter battle affected Kevin Huerter's NBA draft night
Kevin Huerter watches Thursday night's NBA draft at The Edison Club in Rexford.
Photographer: Amy Luke/For The Daily Gazette

Throughout Thursday night’s NBA draft, the battle raged between ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania.

Which star NBA reporter could first tweet out what the night’s next selection would be?

It was a battle viewed with amusement and interest — and it looks like it played a role in costing Kevin Huerter a nice chunk of change.

Here’s how: 

The Atlanta Hawks selected Huerter, a 2016 Shenendehowa graduate, with the No. 19 pick in the draft. Before that, though, the Hawks were ready to trade up to No. 17 to take Huerter. Instead, once it was leaked the Milwaukee Bucks were going to take Villanova’s Donte DiVincenzo at No. 17, the Hawks stayed put at No. 19, knowing Huerter could be there for them.

That is according to Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk, who divulged Friday on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco how the social media war between former colleagues Charania and Wojnarowski tipped the Hawks to the Bucks’ plans.

“Last night, for instance, we had the 19th pick, and we’re coming down and we’re talking actually to Milwaukee on the 17th pick, talking about trading up to get a guy we like,” Schlenk said. "There were a couple of guys we felt really good about on the 19th pick — obviously, Kevin [Huerter] was one of them — and it leaked who Milwaukee was going to take. So, all of the 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 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.”

The difference between being selected No. 17 and No. 19? According to spotrack.com, full scale salary for a rookie year at No. 17 is $2,050,000 and it is $1,859,800 at No. 19.

Charania was the first to report on Twitter the Bucks would take DiVincenzo.

Meanwhile, Wojnarowski was first with Huerter heading to the Hawks.

At The Edison Club in Rexford, the site of Kevin Huerter’s draft party, there were some tense moments as the draft moved through its teens.

“The last six or seven picks,” dad Tom Huerter said, “we were hanging on every pick.”

Kevin Huerter had worked out for the Hawks, along with three other franchises. Atlanta was one of Huerter’s top suitors throughout the draft process, and Huerter will team up for the Hawks with former USA Basketball teammate Trae Young in a backcourt made up of fresh first-round picks.

“With Kevin and Trae,” Schlenk said, “they have the ability to make plays for others.”

Schlenk said he has grown used to how social media can play a role in his job.

“There’s sometimes I will have a conversation and three minutes later it’s on Twitter,” Schlenk said. “It’s amazing.”

Reach Michael Kelly at [email protected] or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter.

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