Atlanta Hawks considered landing spot for All-Star wing in free agency

Mar 20, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) reacts after a play in the third quarter against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 20, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) reacts after a play in the third quarter against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks are considered frontrunners to land Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown in the eyes of some. Brown, an Atlanta native, has remained active in the area when he is not doing so in Boston. The Hawks have also been very active in attempting to upgrade their roster this offseason.

They traded for Dejounte Murray from the San Antonio Spurs and, per reports, made an obligatory offer for Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant.

They feel there is still another level this roster can get to.

Brown could be a player that helps get them to that level and would fit the mold of what the Hawks are building around Trae Young. In that sense, it could be very worth what it will take to finally bring him home.

Jaylen Brown could look to the Atlanta Hawks…in 2024

Previous chatter linking the Brown to the Hawks has always involved a fairly substantial trade. One proposal even saw them facilitating a trade that would have sent Durant to Boston while bringing Brown to Atlanta. But that deal would see them get rid of several players and picks to complete.

This suggestion from an NBA executive, per Heavy’s Sean Deveney, would take a little more patience.

But it could certainly pay off in a big way.

“It’s no secret that Brown is a proud Atlanta native,” says Deveney. ”When he was on the verge of becoming a restricted free agent in 2019, the Hawks were primed to lure him back home. His commitment to Boston as a community has long been strong, and as a city, Atlanta might be the only place higher on his list.”

Brown has one more season left on his four-year $106 million pact and will be an unrestricted free agent in 2024.

The Hawks are trying to surround Young with defenders to best complement his one-man offensive onslaught. They’ve already added Murray in addition to already having De’Andre Hunter.

“They’ve been after more two-way players in recent years,” an Eastern Conference executive told Deveney, “because signing up a few big names around Trae Young has not worked out. We’ll have to see what they do with Hunter and [Onyeka] Okongwu because they will need extensions but if they can clear out the room, that’s probably the biggest team to worry the Celtics.”

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Deveney says there is reason to believe that he could be open to leaving.

“Some feel Brown has been personally insulted by his reported inclusion in Durant talks, but also because there is, as of now, a sizable list of teams with the potential for max-contract cap space in 2024.”

It needs to be said that this is not the first time Brown has been involved in trade rumors, though, it was revealed that he was offered in a trade by the Celtics.

But even that was for one of the five best players in the NBA in Durant.

Still, this would not come without a cost to the current core that the Hawks have cultivated and tweaked substantially this offseason. And they have already tried to move one of the pieces Deveney suggests they could use to clear space.

“The Hawks would somehow have to shed Clint Capela’s deal ($22.7 million in 2024-25) or, maybe, pull off a move of John Collins to have space for a max contract, but they’re not far off from being in position to make a run at Brown.”

This is where things get tricky.

The Hawks have at least been open to moving Collins for the past two years with no deal to their liking. Capela was once considered “off-limits” in trade talks but that ended when the restrictions on trading his contract expired.

Yet both players seem to be close with Young as he has been seen in the gym with Capela and appeared in pro-am action with Collins.

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Perhaps situations devolve and the Hawks figure out a way to get Brown while trading Hunter as the centerpiece. But that is as unlikely as any deal that would require a third team. Not impossible, but highly unlikely. Landing Brown as a free agent sounds great. But the mechanics are still shaping up to be much like those of a major trade.