ATLANTA -- Atlanta Hawks General Manager Travis Schlenk is trying to make it clear, the Hawks are not in a rebuild.

That's the word that's been getting thrown around a lot after Schlenk traded away Dwight Howard on Tuesday night to the Charlotte Hornets.

The Hawks traded away the Atlanta native to the Charlotte Hornets for Miles Plumlee, Marco Belinelli and the 41st pick in the NBA Draft. The Hawks also traded away their 31st pick to Charlotte.

"Our number one goal is to maintain our flexibility as we work to get this franchise going in the direction we wanted to. This trade helps us accomplish long term and short term flexibility for us," Schlenk said prior to Thursday's NBA Draft.

"When I first got the job, one of the first things you do is start making calls to all the other teams to see what value your players have around the league. Dwight’s name came up in some of those conversations. In the course of a few weeks, Charlotte expressed a lot of interest. So we sat down and make those decisions to get where we want to go. We thought this is the time to make the trade," he said.

But Schlenk repeatedly said the trade is not the start of a rebuild, despite everyone else believing otherwise.

"No, our goal is to stay competitive. Being competitive and increasing our flexibility, that’s still where we are. But we’re not in a rebuild phase," Schlenk said.

He said there were three or four teams with significant interest in Howard. But that the Hornets' deal was the best package for the Hawks and that the Hornets had the most interest.

Schlenk and the Hawks have three picks in the NBA Draft on Thursday night. Their first pick is 19, followed by 41 and 60.

PHOTOS | Atlanta Hawks postseason ends