The Atlanta Hawks had until 5:00 pm central time to decide on fourth-year forward De’Andre Hunter. More accurately, they had until then to agree to an extension for a player that possesses all of the tools that teams look for in two-way wings. But it was not always a given that the deal would get done.
Hunter averaged 13.4 points on 54.7% true shooting with 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists hitting a career-high 37.9% of his threes in 53 games (52 starts) last season.
It was a step back from the previous year in raw stats but he only appears in 23 games during the entire 2020-21 season due to injuries. Those have been a major theme in Hunter’s career and were an underlying question amid stalled talks.
In the end, both sides found common ground.
De’Andre Hunter signs multi-year extension with Atlanta Hawks
It’s a four-year, $95 million deal for Hunter, per ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski who broke the news just two days before the Hawks open the season at home against the Houston Rockets. As HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto reports, the deal includes $90 million guaranteed with the remainder coming by way of “unlikely” bonuses.
The news comes after Hunter averaged 14.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.4 assists during the preseason.
Again, it was just the exhibition. But Hunter shot 58.3% from the floor overall and 45.5% from beyond the arc while seeing over 21 minutes per game – neither number will stick but would shatter his previous marks.
Previous reports had the Hawks and Hunter somewhere in the area of $20 million apart on a new deal, though the length was said to have been a non-issue. Given the Hawks’ recent run with rookie extensions or new money for their core players, this was still somewhat surprising.
The Hawks have already re-signed and subsequently traded Kevin Huerter after agreeing to a $65 million extension last offseason.
John Collins has been in trade rumors even before signing his five-year $125 million deal.
Hunter’s ceiling is arguably higher than either of those two given all that he can do on both ends of the floor. But he will need to be far more consistent lest he ends up in a similar way to Huerter; an asset in the trade market rather than on the floor.
His new contract is $5 million above that of Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges who signed his extension last fall.
Bridges averaged 14.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.2 steals while shooting 53.4% from the floor and hitting 36.9% of his threes. Most importantly, he has been durable playing in at least 72 games every year since entering the NBA, twice playing in all 82 games including this past season.
That is a lofty standard for Hunter to reach let alone surpass. But that is kind of the expectation now that he has gotten paid. And the Hawks surely want to feel better about this extension than they seem to have about their previous dealings outside of Trae Young.