Mike Dunleavy decides to report to Hawks after discussing role

ByMarc Stein ESPN logo
Monday, January 9, 2017

Mike Dunleavy told the Atlanta Hawks he will report to the team this week after a trade, opening the door for Kyle Korver to soon play for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told ESPN.com on Monday that Dunleavy will indeed report to Atlanta this week to undergo a physical and enable the club to press ahead with Saturday's trade with Cleveland after Dunleavy initially elected not to report to his new team.

"I feel great about it," Budenholzer said. "I've always liked him as a player, and I told him that. He has such a great basketball IQ [and] just understands the game at a high level. He fits us well."

Dunleavy initially elected not to join the Hawks in hopes of securing a buyout and the right to choose his next team, sparked mostly by the fact that numerous reports surfaced late last week that Atlanta was trying to find a third team to join the Korver deal and absorb Dunleavy's contract.

But Budenholzer told reporters Saturday in Dallas that he's a longtime fan of Dunleavy and confirmed Monday that he has emphasized that in his conversations with the player.

The Hawks dealt the popular Korver to Cleveland on Saturday in exchange for Dunleavy, Mo Williams and a 2019 first-round pick. Korver immediately joined the Cavaliers on their West Coast road trip but was not permitted to dress or even watch Cleveland's win Sunday night in Phoenix from the bench because Dunleavy's physical had not yet been completed.

While the Hawks play Tuesday in Brooklyn, Dunleavy is expected to fly to Atlanta to complete his physical. Atlanta was never expecting Williams to join them since the veteran guard had essentially retired before the start of the season.

Dunleavy, 36, is earning $4.8 million this season, and his $5.2 million contract next season is guaranteed for only $1.5 million. He appeared in 23 games for the Cavs this season and averaged 4.6 points and 2.0 rebounds. The 14-year veteran has career averages of 11.4 points and 4.3 rebounds in stints with Golden State, Indiana, Milwaukee, Chicago and Cleveland, which acquired him in July.

The Cavs packaged Dunleavy and Williams' contract to acquire Korver, one of the league's most feared 3-point shooters, to help fill the void created by J.R. Smith's recent thumb surgery and expected three-month absence.

Korver is earning $5.2 million this season in the final year of his contract and is averaging 9.5 points per game while shooting 40.9 percent from 3-point range. He was one of four Hawks to earn All-Star status in 2015 as part of Atlanta's 60-win season.