Atlanta Hawks: Kevin Huerter agrees to extension at the 11th hour

Sep 27, 2021; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Kevin Huerter (3) pictured at Hawks Media Day held at PC&E. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 27, 2021; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Kevin Huerter (3) pictured at Hawks Media Day held at PC&E. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks doled out a lot of money over the summer, mostly to secure the future of this roster. Trae Young was extended on a deal worth as much as $207 over five years. Next, they re-signed John Collins to a deal worth up to $125 million over the same span. Not to be left out, Clint Capela was rewarded with a two-year, $46 million extension.

They then went out and made what they hope will prove to be savvy acquisitions in Delon Wright (trade) and Gorgui Dieng (free agency).

Facing a Monday evening deadline, they got back to rewarding their own, inking forward Kevin Huerter to a four-year, $65 million deal that should keep him in Atlanta until 2026.

The Atlanta Hawks avoided an expensive foray into restricted free agency for Kevin Huerter

The deal comes hours after we examined how the clock was ticking for a deal to get done as Mikal Bridges, also a member of the 2018 NBA Draft class, was inked to an extension. He was just one of 11 total from the class to get one this offseason, joining the likes of Young, Luka Doncic, and Michael Porter Jr.

Interestingly enough, first-overall pick Deandre Ayton did not get a deal done and is reportedly upset with the Phoenix Suns. Former third-overall pick Marvin Bagley also failed to reach an agreement with the Sacramento Kings.

We can put a pin in both for a later time.

Huerter’s deal comes amid some thoughts that he might have sought one similar to teammate Bogdan Bogdanovic’s. The latter’s pact pays him an average of $18 million per year.

Atlanta does, in fact, get the 6-foot-7 former Maryland Terrapin locked in for what should look like a bargain if Huerter continues his current developmental trajectory. Remember, Collins was offered a four-year $90-plus million deal during last season and (rightfully) turned it down, a decision that cost the Hawks somewhere upwards of $35 million.

After entering the league billed as solely a shooter, he quickly proved to be an adept overall scorer and has even shown budding playmaking skills. His head coach also praised his efforts in guarding opponents’ best players as the Hawks dealt with a myriad of injuries.

This shifts the focus to the Hawks 2019 draft class, i.e. De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish.

It’s a big year for both players, as well as the Hawks. There were plenty of trade rumors surrounding Reddish this offseason. Those will return if he or the Hawks start slow. Meanwhile, Hunter (and, really, Reddish too) has to prove he is healthy after a pair of meniscus surgeries.

Huerter’s deal won’t kick in until next season. But it would rank 73rd in total value and 83rd in average value ($16.25 million) this season.

Not for nothing, but it’s also wouldn’t be untradeable in the future should the need arise.

The wing averaged 11.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in the regular season and 11.1/3.8/2.8 in the postseason.

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The Hawks now have locked up three of their last four eligible first-round picks to second contracts. That is an incredible hit rate, especially considering Collins and Huerter were both taken outside of the lottery. Also, the lone miss in Omari Spellman was the last pick of the first round. Travis Schlenk has certainly done a terrific job rebuilding this roster.