This version of the Atlanta Hawks was never going to be the one that we saw take the floor for the 2023-24 season. Such is the nature of sports, let alone the NBA.
That only intensifies whenever there is a regime change at the coaching or executive level and these Hawks had both in just over two months as former team president Travis Schlenk stepped down on December 21 while former head coach Nate McMillan was dismissed on February 22.
“Bogdan Bogdanovic is expected to enter free agency this summer,” reported Micahel Scotto on ‘The HoopsHype Podcast’ on March 3. “To do so, he’ll have to decline his $18 million player option. This is a guy that’s one of the more notable shooters on the team. He’s had some injuries he’s had to deal with and has come up in trade rumors as well.”
Bogdanovic is in the third year of a four-year, $72 million pact.
As Scotto noted, the 30-year-old swingman has battled knee injuries over the last two seasons and missed the first 22 games of this season after undergoing surgery during the offseason.
He shook off a slow first three games to average 18.7 points on 61.6% true shooting over 13 games. But he has since come back down to Earth at just 13.2 points over his last 17 appearances.
Bogdanovic has still been efficient scoring on 62.7% true shooting.
The sixth-year man from Serbia arrived in Atlanta two seasons ago after his trade to the Milwaukee Bucks fell through due to tampering by the latter. This past trade deadline he was said to be on the radar of a few teams including the Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, and Phoenix Suns.
It does not appear that Bogdanovic’s looming decision is based on a desired role. He has previously said that he does not care about starting or coming off of the bench.
“Everybody likes to start right here,” Bogdanovic said per Lauren L. Williams of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “But I like to finish the games more, honestly.”
He has done both during his time in Atlanta proving effective in either role.
Still, if it is not about the role, the only thing that could persuade a player to forego a guaranteed $18 million while in their 30s and having a history of knee issues is the trajectory of the team. At 32-32 and clinging to homecourt advantage at least in their first Play-In Tournament matchup, it is reasonable to think Bogdanovic could see greener pastures elsewhere.
He has not publicly said that he is opting out, for what it is worth, and things can always change.
“I think, if anything, he can get around [his $18 million player option], if not more, with the cap going up,” Scotto said making note of the recently agreed upon CBA that avoids a work stoppage. “I think he’d be coveted in that regard.”
Scotto went on to note that the Hawks have the be mindful of the salary cap as projected luxury taxpayers next season when forward De’Andre Hunter’s deal kicks in.
Atlanta Hawks Ownership Worried About Tax?
Hawks principal governor Tony Ressler went on a media tour on Friday and expressed his displeasure with the way his organization was being reported on amid claims of nepotism and intimidation as a result of that nepotism with regards to his son, Nick Ressler, who has become a voice in the front office.
The reach that voice has, the elder Ressler vehemently defended calling insinuation that the younger Ressler was running the show “disrespectful” to general manager Landry Fields and assistant general manager Kyle Korver whom he insists have made every decision of late.
“My job is to put the best people possible in charge of both business operations and basketball operations at the Atlanta Hawks,” Ressler told ‘Dukes and Bell’ on 92.9 The Game on Friday noting that he should have spoken earlier to avoid the proliferation of what he considers misinformation. “Our front office has made every meaningful decision…which I have challenged and embraced, ultimately.”
That decision-making has included apparent cost-conscious moves such as trading Kevin Huerter among other things and presumably will continue which should be exciting for fans.