How wild could things get for the Atlanta Hawks this summer?
If some prognosticators have their way, very, as the Hawks have already been a constant source of speculation despite already undergoing plenty of changes in the last year-plus.
In addition to breaking word of whispers about Dejounte Murray possibly being available in a trade for the right price this offseason going into the final year of his contract and unrestricted free agency awaiting him next offseason, Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus offered up a three-team trade with the Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves to avoid the potential issue.
“The Hawks are facing a more immediate problem under the new CBA, with a payroll projected to be $172 million and $16.4 million in luxury taxes,” wrote Pincus on June 9. “That’s where Porter, with his long-term stretch, could help the Hawks under the luxury tax entirely.”
Houston is looking to speed up their rebuild with talks of 10-time All-Star James Harden returning as former Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka takes over.
Minnesota needs to prepare for life after 36-year-old point guard Mike Conley.
This deal is easy to see the value for Houston and Minnesota, both of whom would be welcoming proven, All-Star-caliber players that push them closer to title contention. But, even in the best permutations of this potential trade, the Hawks come out looking more like a rebuilding team than one looking to contend.
“There’s enough flexibility to configure it in different ways,” writes Pincus. “Murray to the Wolves, Smith to the Hawks, throw in No. 20 or a Brooklyn future first—Collins could be added to the equation from Atlanta.”
Former Cleveland Cavalier Kevin Porter Jr., 23, averaged career highs with 19.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.4 steals adding 5.7 assists as he filled the role of a point guard for the Rockets.
He was the No. 30 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Second-year guard Josh Christopher, 21, was the No. 24 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Pincus did not mention him but he would qualify as additional compensation and, despite a modest stat line of 5.8 points, 1.1 assists, and 1.1 rebounds – a step back from his rookie campaign – Christopher offers tremendous upside as a bucket-getter.
This deal would add more than $600,000 to the Hawks’ books for 2023-24 before factoring in the salary of whomever they would select with the No. 4 overall pick. The Hawks could target Kenyon Martin Jr. and/or additional draft capital instead of Christoper.
None of the Hawks gets them closer to contending like it does the other two teams despite the Hawks being the team with a Conference Finals appearance in the last eight seasons.
They also have Quin Snyder at the helm.
Former Atlanta Hawks coach joins Milwaukee Bucks
With Snyder taking over, former Hawks assistant Joe Prunty has found a new home, joining Adrian Griffin’s staff on the Milwaukee Bucks. Griffin is the father of Hawks swingman AJ Griffin who was on hand to view his father’s introductory press conference.
Prunty led the Hawks to a 2-0 record in the aftermath of former head coach Nate McMillan’s firing and is returning for a second stint on a Bucks coach’s bench.
If nothing else, this will make the Hawks’ matchups versus the Bucks more interesting.