Atlanta Hawks ‘monitoring’ former NBA champion big man’s situation

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports /

Never settling is one sign of a good front office. Winning more of those moves than losing is a sign of a top-tier leadership group. With the Atlanta Hawks still experiencing uneven play – and now having dropped back-to-back games – find themselves back to .500 on the season with a 24-24 record.

This follows a five-game winning streak so the alarm bells are not ringing as loudly as they were earlier in the season.

But, what this front office which has been in flux does is key.

The Hawks should not be in the business of letting a season go to waste, not after making the blockbuster trade for Dejounte Murray in the offseason. And with Trae Young already one of the best young players in the league, they remain active in seeking upgrades.

Serge Ibaka’s situation in Milwaukee being monitored by Atlanta Hawks

“Several teams are monitoring [Serge] Ibaka, including the Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, and Atlanta Hawks,” reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. “The sense is that Milwaukee would be willing to part with Ibaka for a second-round pick.”

Ibaka, 33, has been away from the Bucks since late November as he was playing a greatly reduced role behind Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis.

The 6-foot-10 big man won a championship with the Toronto Raptors in 2019, is a two-time blocks champ, and has been selected to three All-Defensive teams in his 14-year NBA career which he has split between five different franchises. He was drafted in 2008 with the 24th overall pick by the then-Seattle Supersonics (now the Oklahoma City Thunder).

At his peak, Ibaka averaged 15.4 points (2020), 8.8 rebounds (2014), 3.7 blocks (2012, led the NBA), and 1.8 assists (2021). He can also step outside and knock down the three-ball shooting over 38% on 3.3 attempts in 2020.

Ibaka did manage to shoot 38% on threes with the Clippers but on just 1.8 looks.

With Clint Capela back in action and getting back to pre-injury form – 12.6 points, 8.4 rebounds over the last five games – the Hawks’ interest could be read in multiple ways.

They were without Onyeka Okongwu in the loss to the Bulls. He was dealing with tightness in his hamstring suffered during the loss to the Charlotte Hornets and while there has been no indication it is anything serious, they can be tricky injuries to manage, requiring plenty of rest lest the player risk a full-blown strain.

This could also be an indictment on 29-year-old reserve big man Frank Kaminsky.

He has not been great when he plays but the Hawks have found uses for him and his ability to, much like Ibaka, both block shots and stretch the floor. He doesn’t get the block numbers – he’s just tall. But he has shot 60% on extremely limited volume from three and has been available.

Is Ibaka a safer bet than Kaminsky in high-leverage situations? That is probably (though not certainly) what this could come down to even with the Hawks’ bigs all dealing with injuries at some point this season.

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Up next, the Hawks head to Oklahoma City to see Ibakas former team that has Shai Gilgeous-Alexander putting up MVP-type stat lines — they had better be ready to go.