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Hawks trade first-round picks with Nets
Jordan Crawford drives around Kansas State's Jacob Pullen in the second overtime of an NCAA West Regional semifinal last season in Salt Lake City. - photo by The Associated Press

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Hawks used a draft-day trade of first-round picks and a surprise second-round pick to add depth at shooting guard, even as team officials say they hope to re-sign star Joe Johnson.

The Hawks traded Texas forward Damion James, taken with Atlanta's No. 24 pick, to New Jersey on Thursday night for one of the Nets' two first-round picks, Xavier guard Jordan Crawford, the No. 27 pick.

In the trade, the Hawks also received rights to 7-foot-1 center Tibur Pleiss of Germany, drafted by the Nets with the No. 31 pick, the first selection of the second round. The Hawks traded Pleiss to Oklahoma City for financial considerations.

Atlanta drafted 6-foot-7 Pape Sy of France in the second round. Sy, who impressed the Hawks by paying his way to a workout in Atlanta, can play shooting guard and small forward.

The Hawks targeted Crawford and took a gamble by waiting on the trade with the Nets.

When asked why he didn't draft Crawford at No. 24, Hawks general manager Rick Sund said, "the advantage is we end up getting our pick a little later and having a second-round pick, which we traded for financial considerations, so that makes it good."

Sund said he doesn't see Crawford, a shooting guard, as insurance if the team can't re-sign Johnson, the shooting guard who is the team's four-time All-Star. Sund acknowledged "It does give you an option ... but that didn't go into our analysis at all."

Added Sund: "We're keeping our fingers crossed we get Joe."

Johnson led the Hawks averaging 21.3 points per game, but he faded in the second round of the playoffs while scoring only 12.8 points per contests in four straight losses to Orlando.

Hawks assistant general manager Dave Pendergraft spoke highly of Crawford before the draft.

"There are guys like Jordan Crawford that you know can score," Pendergraft said on Tuesday.

Crawford led the Atlantic 10 by scoring 20.5 points per game in the 2009-10 season as a sophomore at Xavier after playing for Indiana as a freshman in 2007-08. He sat out one season following his transfer.

The 6-foot-4 Crawford had a much-publicized dunk over LeBron James at James' camp, and the video became an Internet hit.

"They always bring it up but I don't like talking about it because I don't like living in the past," Crawford said in a telephone interview on Thursday night.

The Hawks made a surprise pick by taking Sy in the second round.

Sy earned the draft selection by paying his way to Atlanta for a workout.

"I was actually really impressed by him," said Hawks coach Larry Drew. "The kid had a strong desire to come over here and showcase his talent. He paid his way over, so obviously he had a lot of confidence.

"I was very, very impressed with him."

Crawford gives the Hawks another pure scorer.

"It's always good to have guys that can put the ball in the basket," Drew said. "This guy, he has that ability."

The Hawks are coming off a 53-win season, the most since 1996-97, and a second-round playoff loss to Orlando that cost coach Mike Woodson his job. Drew, who had been an assistant, was promoted to replace Woodson.

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