There are several big name ballers who will be free agents next summer.
Here are the top 7 players the Atlanta Hawks should pursue in 2013:
1. Chris Paul
After drafting Marvin Williams with 2nd overall pick ahead of the likes of Chris Paul and Deron Williams, the “what ifs” of the 2005 draft will always haunt the Atlanta franchise. Fortunately for Hawks fans, GM Danny Ferry has given them a second opportunity at landing the coveted all-star.Considering Clipper centerpiece Blake Griffin is also a free agent, there should be a playing field for Ferry to throw cash around in. Averaging 18.8 points and 9.8 assists is a decent indicator that he meshes with new teams smoothly. So in the event that Paul should come to Atlanta, his presence would certainly make the Hawks a formidable contender for the Eastern Conference crown.
2. Josh Smith
J-Smoove has spent his career thus far in Atlanta. There have certainly been ups and downs, unadvised mid-range jumpers, and some pretty nasty slams on his resume so far. With career averages of 15 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 1 steal per game, he’s been a proven star for Atlanta, despite the questionable lack of an all-star appearance. All that said, with his court vision, tremendous upside and new found optimism in Atlanta, he should have an extension in hand before free agency.
3. Andrew Bynum
Yes, he is a headcase. And yes, the thought of him in the locker room with Josh Smith is a scary thought. But, he just so happens to be one of the top two centers in the league, and is one heck of a finisher on the low block via Kareem Abdul Jabbar. There will be more than one team biding for Bynum’s services for obvious reasons, and it’s safe to say the 76ers will be among them. But with the Dwight sweepstakes likely over, he’s the best big man available. Not to mention, with a guy like Bynum on the roster we finally get to really see what Al Horford can do at the power forward position.
4. Tyreke Evans
After a break out rookie campaign where he boasted an uncanny 25, 5 and 5, Evans has somewhat faded into obscurity with the Kings. Without a true position there, dwindling production and an erratic supporting cast, the Kings front office probably won’t be to keen on entering any massive bidding wars for Evans. That said, he is an outstanding talent, with smooth ball handling, and a knack for getting into the paint, he could provide the Hawks with both a primary ball handler and a sturdy wing player. It would be a similar situation to Sac-town with Teague on the roster, but Drew would give him much more flexibility within the flow of the offense. There is every reason to believe that he could rekindle his young career in Atlanta, and every reason to think we could land him.
5. James Harden
With Russell Westbook and Kevin Durant currently under max deals, the reigning sixth man of the year is currently in a state limbo. The Oklahoma front office has the daunting task of choosing between the shot blocking machine that is Serge Ibaka, or the bearded offensive juggernaut that is James Harden. It is an unenviable situation to be in, but Harden has hinted recently that he is open to playing elsewhere. (via Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic) Depending on what the Oklahoma City front office decides, we could have a chance at landing him. And seeing as a 6th man of the year award speaks for itself, just imagine what he could do with a starting role for the Hawks.
6. Kevin Martin
Kevin Martin is somewhat of an understated talent. He’s a great shooter, with a distinct ability to get to the line. At 6’7 he has the ability to slide over from his natural position as a guard, to a savvy, European style wing player. He doesn’t have a lot of weight on him, so guarding larger players on the baseline or in isolation situations isn’t ideal. But after Houston attempted to send him in the vetoed Chris Paul trade, and the acquisition of Jeremy Lamb in the draft, Houston doesn’t have a particular need for him. However, the Hawks certainly do. With departure of Joe Johnson, having a pure offensive threat who can create for himself is something worth paying for.
7. Dorell Wright
As a 6’9 tweener, Dorell Wright is far from a household name. However, that’s something that could play right into the Hawks hands. At 26 year of age, the lengthy Small Forward is someone who could really have a chance to come into his own with the Hawks developing roster. Wright posted an exceptional numbers in the 2010-11′ season, boasting averages of 16 points and 5 boards per game, while playing in all 82 games. The upside is undeniable, being a solid 3 point shooter and having the athleticism and reach to improve considerably on defense, makes Wright a solid fit for Atlanta’s rotation immediately.