Atlanta Hawks urged to pursue $136M All-Star scorer in free agency

Dec 10, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Hawks head coach Nate McMillan reacts in the second half against the Brooklyn Nets at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 10, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Hawks head coach Nate McMillan reacts in the second half against the Brooklyn Nets at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks have made it clear they plan to get better this offseason as an organization and individually. That even included ownership and management speaking openly about upgrading the roster and venturing into the luxury tax. They have even discussed the need to pursue another superstar to pair with Trae Young.

Things can get creative when hypothetical trades are proposed. Especially when those suggestions hurt more than they help.

Typically, this is not the case with free agency. While people can either love or hate signings, suggestions aren’t nearly as outlandish as some trade ideas can be. That does not mean they can’t sometimes approach those levels though.

Such is the case with one suggestion that the Hawks go after Kyrie Irving.

The Atlanta Hawks would have one of the most offensively dynamic backcourts with Kyrie Irving

This comes from Carl Dukes of “Dukes and Bell” on 92.9 The Game who took the words of owner Tony Ressler and general manager, Travis Schlenk, about needing to upgrade the roster and put it plainly saying the Hawks needed a “difference-maker”.

“We need to go get Kyrie Irving. I want bucket-getters and guys who can score. He’s a proven scorer, he’s a proven commodity…Trae has to learn how to work off of the ball. It will open up so many other things on the court, if we’re able to get to that spot, by having another ball-handler on the floor.”

Dukes then references the way the Miami Heat were able to hone in on Trae in the postseason and argues that would not have been possible with Irving alongside him.

While true that Irving would have provided another playmaker alongside Young, it did not do the Brooklyn Nets much good as they were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics.

Irving averaged 21.3 points on a playoff career-high 58.8% true shooting in the series.

In his exit interview, Irving spoke of being in Brooklyn for the long haul, though. Why and how would he end up in Atlanta?

Dukes’ partner, Mike Bell provided the background of the Nets losing $50-$100 million, per a report from Josh Kosman and Brian Lewis of the NY Post.

“They have guys that they have to sign. They have to figure out Ben Simmons…who’s not a cheap player to add to your roster. Kyrie’s in a situation where he’s on a player option…most likely he opts out of that because he wants to go get paid. He’d like to stay in Brooklyn. But we don’t know if Brooklyn wants to keep him.”

Bell then referred to Nate McMillan’s media availability after the decisive Game 5 when he mentioned playing Young off of the Ball more. Young also mentioned that he has displayed the necessary skills to thrive in such a role.

“You have to look realistically at guys who can really help your franchise. Say what you will, Irving is still a star in this league…I’d be ok with turning the offense over to him. I’d be okay with having those two guys.”

For anyone who was still fretting over Irving’s vaccination status or the media circus that can come along with his activism, Dukes made clear that that stuff was irrelevant.

“I don’t care about the off-court stuff….All I care about is winning and buckets. That’s it. Can he score when we need to? We had a deficiency in that area. When we needed it and our guy was not on, or they were defending with two and three guys and trapping him, who was scoring for us?”

Bell pointed out Irving being surprised that the Nets did not move on during the entire ordeal. He had an answer for those with questions about the defensive pairing of the 6-foot-2 Irving with the 6-foot-1 Young as well.

“You’re not going out and getting Gary Payton to play point guard…I just think we’ve got to think about this differently”

Still, Irving’s defensive rating ranked 172nd out of 214 playoff participants, per The entire exchange plus some of Ressler’s comments can be heard below.

The Hawks are roughly $2 million below the luxury tax line, per Sportrac, meaning they would likely have to pull off a sign-and-trade if they indeed wanted to pursue Irving.

Next. Hawks warned against blocking one player’s breakout. dark

While his playmaking and scoring are exactly what the Hawks need, it would seem that there is little else about the 30-year-old Irving that would make him a good fit with this version of the Atlanta Hawks.