The Atlanta Hawks went about balancing their roster around star point guard Trae Young this offseason. They traded for Dejounte Murray to be an additional playmaker and point-of-attack defender. The Hawks also traded for some additional depth after losing several veteran bench options through trades and free agency.
But there is a growing belief that another move could be on the horizon to help them get to that next level of a perennial title contender.
That might mean adding another superstar – they made an obligatory offer for Kevin Durant.
But there is some suggestion that they could go further to surround Young and Murray with the tools to succeed. To make it happen, though, they might have to part with a key contributor from the last two seasons.
Atlanta Hawks could add a surplus of shooting in Nets’ Joe Harris and Cam Thomas
“With Dejounte Murray and Trae Young presumably starting and playing a lot together,” argues Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report, “the more kick-out receivers they can play with, the better.”
One of the drawbacks of the Hawks’ offseason moves has been depleting their bench and the loss of starter Kevin Huerter. The bench featured Danilo Gallinari, Lou Williams, and Delon Wright. That is three of their top five three-point shooters among the regular rotation and a former three-time Sixth Man of the Year in Williams.
Harris has shot 45% from deep over the last five years, twice leading the league in efficiency from long distance in that span. He also averaged 3.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 0.5 steals to go along with his 13.1 points per game in the same stretch.
He still has two years and over $38 million remaining on his four-year, $75 million contract the Nets gave him in 2020.
Thomas is coming off of an encouraging rookie campaign.
Swartz does note that the Hawks would take a hit losing Clint Capela, the 2021 rebounding leader.
Capela signed a two-year, $46 million contract extension ahead of last season.
This says nothing of Capela’s relationship with Young or Collins’ ineffectiveness when playing up a position for long stretches to this point. Both would likely be big factors in any deal the Hawks may pursue.
That isn’t to say they would trade Capela. He did go from being on the off-limits list to, apparently, available for the right price.
It is unlikely that price is a pair of wing shooters even if one of them is promising.
Young and Murray just turned 24 and 26 years old, respectively. Adding Thomas, 20, to such a young duo doesn’t sound like the best plan for any of the three. As for Harris, 31, the Hawks already have one 30-year-old trying to overcome leg injuries in Bogdan Bogdanovic. Are they willing to give up a studying presence such as Capela for another one?