Atlanta Hawks: 3 keys to reaching the 2022 NBA Finals

Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Atlanta Hawks
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Atlanta Hawks keys to reaching the 2022 NBA Finals #1: The Hawks have some core players looking for new money but do have ways to keep them together

As with any roster making improvements, it often comes with tough decisions. And with the Hawks needing to add to this roster to compete with a healthier Eastern Conference next season, those decisions will need to be made this offseason. Namely, how to approach Williams now that he’s announced he’s likely to play next season.

Young’s father, Rayford Sr., has come out and said Williams is the best veteran his son has ever played with and Young also holds the three-time Sixth Man of the Year in the highest regard.

But his cap hit was $8 million this past season. Schlenk also spoke on this, saying they are “extremely open” to a return. That sounds like an invitation to drop that asking price if ever there was one. We’ll see how receptive Williams and his reps are.

The other big cap hit should be a no-brainer, that’s Tony Snell and his $12 million cap charge. He finished with the first-ever 50/50/100 season. But even though he did it while averaging the fourth-most minutes in his eight-year career, his usage was the lowest it’s ever been. That money can and should be spent elsewhere.

Williams and Snell are coming off books anyway, but that money is likely earmarked for Collins.

From there the decisions get really tough and are less “trimming fat” than simply alternative avenues to open up space. But again, that’s only in the event of a clear upgrade.

There really isn’t much “fat” on this roster. That’s why this offseason is so critical. We’ve seen teams bank on internal development and miss their beat. Don’t expect that from the Hawks as they’ve been aggressive leading up to this point.

But if you have a chance to upgrade in an area of extreme need, you have to pounce. That could mean trying to add in free agency too, but that just means they’d need to find some space.