Don’t look now, but the Atlanta Hawks have gotten off to a 2-0 start with particularly stellar performances from their Big Three of John Collins, the newly acquired Dejounte Murray, and of course Trae Young. They have already showcased many of the traits you hope to see in a team looking to get back to Conference Finals form.
But there are always things that can be done better and, sometimes, those things require personnel changes – just not always.
There remain some lingering questions about the long-term viability of the bench.
“As the Hawks continue to build up an adequate defense around Trae Young,” writes Greg Swartz for Bleacher Report, “they should constantly be on the lookout for wings who can get stops while also possessing the ability to knock down threes.”
Atlanta Hawks could gain two-way performer Alec Burks with this proposed trade
That is not a wild take by any stretch nor one that has not been repeated for most of the summer. And coming into the season it was unknown just how the re-tooled bench would perform having lost several key contributors this offseason including Danilo Gallinari and Delon Wright.
Swartz’s solution is journeyman swingman Alec Burks who spent the last two seasons with the New York Knicks but was traded to the Detroit Pistons not long after the 2022 NBA Draft to clear the cap space needed to sign point guard Jalen Brunson.
As for Burks, 31, Swartz describes how well the 11-year veteran would fit in with this group.
“Burks checks both boxes while also adding a dash of playmaking ability. The 6’6″ wing can play and defend three different positions, and he hit 40.4 percent of his threes while averaging 11.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 steals for the New York Knicks last season.”
It sure seems like an ideal fit even without considering Justin Holiday is shooting 40% from three on modest volume.
Bogdan Bogdanovic will also return at some point but the trade package is where it collapses.
There was some thought that Jalen Johnson wouldn’t get enough opportunity in the Hawks’ frontcourt behind John Collins but also Clint Capela and Onyeka Okongwu. Johnson is last in minutes per game but the Hawks have only used nine players through two games.
All of that is before even taking into account that Johnson is 11 years younger than the 11-year veteran Burks.
Burks is also on the last guaranteed year of his contract and, though there is a club option for the 2024 season, $10 million per is a lot to play for the redundancy that will exist when Bogdanovic returns – something the Hawks worked to clean up two years ago.
Perhaps for a lesser cost, the Hawks taking on Burks makes sense but there are not many packages with this current group that would.