The Atlanta Hawks are facing an interesting offseason, again. The much-lauded and also much-criticized move to bring in Dejounte Murray was seen to have the potential to fix what ailed the Hawks last season.
They needed a second star who could handle the ball and take the pressure off Trae Young. The Hawks also needed someone to bolster their perimeter defense. Murray seemed to be the player to fit the bill. Unfortunately, while Murray was a tremendous addition there was something that just did not work last season.
So, this means that there is going to be another round of player movements for the Hawks this off-season. However, the Hawks are also facing the pressure of salary cap and potentially luxury cap ramifications, and this is where the future of Garrison Mathews comes into play.
So, what should the Atlanta Hawks do with Garrison Mathews?
Mathews came over via trade with the Houston Rockets where the Hawks sent Frank Kaminsky and Justin Holiday along with two future second-round draft picks. The Hawks received Bruno Fernando and Mathews in return.
While this was one of the lower-level trades of the year, it could help the Hawks in the long run. While the Hawks have extended Bogdan Bogdanovic, they have some serious thinking to do about whether they extend Murray, Onyeka Okongwu, and Saddiq Bey over the next two seasons. This is not to mention Jalen Johnson the season after.
Mathews is only set to make $2.0 million next season if the Hawks guarantee his deal. Then they have the team option worth only $2.2 million the following season. The Hawks need to have players who can produce around their stars on low-value contracts over the coming seasons.
Mathews only played nine games for the Hawks and only had two solid performances. There was the night he went for 14 points in 14 minutes against the Indiana Pacers, including going an incredible 4-of-5 from deep. Then there was the last game of the season where he went for 19 points in 25 minutes. On this night his shooting was less impressive, going 4-of-11 from deep.
Mathews is also a gritty defender who is quite adept at drawing a foul from a charge. However, there is one problem for the shooting guard, head coach Quin Snyder is not sure how to use him. He asked the coach what he had to do to break into the rotation, and Snyder said that he did not know but it would come down to circumstances.
That being said, Snyder is an excellent coach who has only been with the team for a short period of time. Given an off-season working out with the team under Snyder’s direction, there is little doubt that Mathews would be able to carve out a role with the Hawks.
If he is able to become a quality floor-spacer, then the Hawks might be able to trade away some of their higher-value contracts to give the team some breathing space. So, what should the Hawks do with Garrison Mathews? They should guarantee his contract and look to make the situation work.
If not, then Mathews could be a nice piece to throw into a trade as well for the Atlanta Hawks.