Atlanta Hawks: The focus will be on the wings next season

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks wings will be under the microscope in 2021-22. That’s regardless of what happens with John Collins as free agency begins on Tuesday. It’s a venture that should see him command a hefty sum; be it from the Hawks or another organization. Though momentum has built behind the notion he and Hawks will find common ground early in free agency.

Still, the narrative of the 2022 season will be determined by the players playing the shooting guard and small forward positions.

It’s Atlanta’s deepest group, with four players capable of going for 20-plus on any given night. Make that five, depending on how you classify Danilo Gallinari. And we aren’t even including Jalen Johnson, the 20th overall pick in last Thursday’s NBA Draft.

The Atlanta Hawks wings will have the attention of media, fans, and possibly other teams next season

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Assuming the Hawks do indeed retain Collins, that starts a process in which they can still re-sign their other homegrown talent thanks to Bird Rights, but the questions over value have to start being asked.

Trae Young isn’t a wing, but he’s definitely going to receive a max extension next offseason.

Kevin Huerter is eligible for a rookie extension this offseason, and De’Andre Hunter is due up the year after.

Hunter was really coming on, challenging Collins for the title of second-best on this team, before going down with an injury.

Huerter stepped up in his place during the postseason, showing a much more diverse skillset than most may have thought he had.

Veteran Bogdan Bogdanovic proved his mettle while battling through a knee injury in the postseason.

But he’s also set to make $18 million next season and another $18 million in 2023 should he exercise his option. As unlikely as it may seem given he’s a starter, is it possible they look to extract some value before his deal expires?

There was talk of moving other assets to “reset the clock” before they get into the luxury tax.

It makes more sense to move on from the “aging veteran” (he turns just 29 in August) before the player you found and that would, in theory, have more value in the long run.

Of course, that’s why Reddish (or any of the Hawks other young pieces) would be attractive to other teams. The Hawks best chance to extract value might be to avoid overspending on a player just because they drafted him.

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It’s the root question with Collins in restricted free agency, just as it is on the trade market with Reddish, and when thinking of the financial future with Huerter and Hunter.