The Atlanta Hawks (7-3) have found immediate success in their All-Star backcourt pairing of Dejounte Murray and Trae Young. But they keep coming up in various trade chatter. There was a belief during the summer that they were primed to make at least one more splash move either by the deadline or next offseason
They currently boast a plus-13.9 net rating – ranked in the 95th percentile – with the duo on the floor, per Cleaning The Glass. Without either, the Hawks’ net rating is an even more sterling plus-37.1 and ranks in the 100th percentile.
But the caveat is there have been only 37 possessions without either Murray or Young on the floor at the same time.
Their biggest concern, suggests NBA analyst Dan Favale, is still their ability to make shots.
Unlikely scenario sees Atlanta Hawks land Anthony Davis in blockbuster trade
The Hawks have a plus-2.3 net rating with Murray but no Young, and a minus-31.4 net rating when the situation is reversed. While there are things they can do to try balancing that out, they might be wiser trying to add more bonafide firepower, suggests Favale who points out the Hawks rank 22nd in effective field goal percentage.
Similarly, says Favale, the Lakers could soon find themselves as sellers looking to go in a different direction.
Bill Simmons recently speculated that Anthony Davis could be the one they pivot from.
He is likely their best bet to get a substantial return given their limited assets. Difficulty finding a taker for Russell Westbrook’s contract has led to a tenuous attempt to make it all work. So far, it has not as they are just 2-8.
The Hawks have the requisite ammunition to match salaries and draft capital.
The Hawks’ next available first-round pick is not until 2028 thanks to the trade for Murray. And the ones they’ve since recouped are currently protected. While the Lakers may no longer be choosers, they should still be far from beggars when it comes to potentially trading Davis.
And despite the theoretical benefits of adding a two-way phenom such as Davis, Favale thinks that idea is dead in the water for the Hawks.
“The Hawks aren’t going to give you John Collins and Clint Capela, Favale said during a recent “Hardwood Knocks” podcast. “At least I don’t think they would give you John Collins and Clint Capela…John Collins is the more dynamic offensive player at this point. Clint Capela is not the more dynamic defender, he’s still good.”
Forward John Collins, 25, is averaging 12.9 points and 8.9 rebounds this season as his usage rate has dropped to career-low levels. As Favale notes, he’s also not shooting it particularly well even when he is being utilized shooting just 52.6% from the floor and 27.6% from beyond the arc.
He’s also been a staple of trade talks since before signing a five-year $125 million contract last summer.
Veteran big man Clint Capela, 28, has not been in nearly as many hypothetical trade scenarios.
He is averaging 9.3 points, 10.2 boards, 1.7 blocks, and was once thought to be a potential target for the Minnesota Timberwolves before they swung their surprising blockbuster trade with the Utah Jazz for big man Rudy Gobert this offseason.
Both are key to what the Hawks want to do and, while a pivot is possible, it seems unlikely.
Davis, 29, is averaging 23.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 2.4 assists. He’s not shooting the ball well from deep – just 28.6% – and that’s not even the biggest concern.
“His chronic injury is injuries itself. It’s not always just the same thing that he’s dealing with, that continues to hold him back. He just always seems banged up. That’s just a fact at this point.”
Davis also has over $48 million guaranteed coming to him over the next two years as well as a $43 million player option for the 2024-25 season. That is a large commitment for a player that has played 76 games over the last two years and has made at least 60 appearances just once in the last four seasons.
The Hawks may indeed be a team to watch in terms of another medium to significant trade before all is said and done. But a deal for Davis simply doesn’t make much sense for the likely cost of doing business.