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Diamond Stone traded to Atlanta Hawks in a 3-team trade

The former Maryland big man is on the move to help get Danilo Gallinari to the Clippers.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Maryland vs Hawaii Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Former Maryland basketball center Diamond Stone is headed to the Atlanta Hawks.

After being drafted with the 40th pick in 2016 by the Los Angeles Clippers, he now finds himself part of a three-team sign-and-trade to get forward Danilo Gallinari to the Clippers.

The Hawks will receive Stone, Jamal Crawford, and potentially Houston’s first round pick the Clippers received in the Chris Paul trade. The Clippers will get their free agent target in Gallinari. The Denver Nuggets will receive the Hawks second round pick and the cap space to sign former Hawk Paul Millsap.

Word of the trade first broke last night when NBA insider Sam Amick reported what the framework of the deal would look like.

Gallinari was a free agent this year, but in order for the Denver Nuggets to free up enough cap room to sign Millsap, they’d need to free up Gallinari’s cap hold before the league moratorium on roster moves ends. The Denver Stiffs community broke it down yesterday:

The main take away from the cap as it stands right now is this: the Nuggets cannot sign Paul Millsap. WHAT?! How can this be you say, what is this rug that’s been pulled out from under me? Simply put, Danilo Gallinari’s cap hold prevents the Nuggets from signing Millsap for his $30 million per season deal because it takes up too much of the cap. Loophole you ask? Of course there is, this is the NBA salary cap. The Nuggets and Millsap have VERBALLY agreed to a deal but because of a league wide moratorium on roster moves, the Nuggets can not officially sign him until Thursday. What does it mean? Denver has until Thursday to either renounce Gallinari’s bird rights, release his cap hold (a move they will have to do regardless) and let him walk or they must move other salaries to be able to fit Gallo under the cap.

The initial trade was expected to include Millsap as well, but it appears the Nuggets will just use their newfound cap space to sign him outright. The Clippers were also in need of cap relief in order to pair Gallinari with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Griffin just signed a five year, $173 million extension to stay in Los Angeles, even after Paul’s departure. Crawford is expected to be bought out, per Amick, rather spend a second stint in Atlanta.

So Stone becomes part of this move to make the salaries work and goes to a Hawks team that is entering rebuild mode. Two years after winning 60 games, that entire starting lineup is gone.

With Dwight Howard going to Charlotte, there’s room for a big man in Atlanta and Stone’s just 20. He played seven games for the Clippers, seeing a total of 24 minutes of pro experience. He had a solid run in the D-League, though. In 13 games with two teams — the Clippers don’t have an affiliate — Stone averaged 16.2 points and seven rebounds.