Rival $137 million frontcourt upgrade on Atlanta Hawks’ ‘radar’

Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Hawks are looking to make an upgrade and they have a target already in mind.

“One player believed to be on the Hawks’ radar of potential trade targets is Raptors forward Pascal Siakam,” wrote Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports on June 16. “Toronto marks another team front offices are closely monitoring for trade activity.”

This comes on the heels of speculation throughout the season that forward John Collins’ time with the Hawks could finally be coming to an end. Marking his third straight offseason of being mired in trade rumors, Collins is coming off a down season averaging 13.1 points and 6.5 rebounds while posting a career-low usage rate.

Collins, 25 shot 29.2% from beyond the arc this past year and has been said to be open to a trade after all that has transpired.

He is going into the third year of a five-year, $125 million contract.

The longest-tenured Hawks player, Collins averaged 21.6 points and 10.1 rebounds in his best season in 2019-20 and was close to a 20-point, 10-rebound campaign the season before as well. But his production has declined ever since and could get worse as younger players emerge.

Siakam, 29, is a two-time All-Star and All-NBA selection as well as a champion, winning with the Raptors in 2019. He averaged career highs with 24.2 points and 5.8 assists adding 7.8 rebounds this past season.

He is heading into the final year of a four-year, $136.9 million contract.

Siakam is not the athlete Collins is and, while his attempts have been higher – which is also a staple of Quin Snyder-led teams – he has not been as efficient of a shooter from deep.

Even with this past season, Collins has shot 35.8% from deep over the last four seasons while Siakam has shot 33.3% in that span including 32.4% in 2022-23. Where Siakam pulls away from Collins is his ability to defend on the ball in space and create offense.

Atlanta Hawks would have to add salary in John Collins-Pascal Siakam trade

Things get really interesting when trying to cobble together an acceptable (for both sides) trade package. Siakam’s $37.9 million salary in 2023-24 is more than any other player on the Hawks’ roster outside of Trae Young who Fischer notes is the only player not on the table in trade talks, though some have higher value than others.

The Hawks have to include salary on top of Collins’s $25.3 million and, while there are some candidates that work, none are perfect fits.

Adding Clint Capela, 29, works and the Raptors had long been in the market for a center. But Capela would not fit the timeline of the presumed rebuild the Raptors are expected to undergo while adding swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic, 30, has many of the same drawbacks.

Their only other options would be Dejounte Murray, whom Fischer says would take “a lot” to pry loose, or Onyeka Okongwu whom he says they’ve received the “most calls” on. De’Andre Hunter’s four-year, $90 million contract kicks in this year but he makes just a little too much to be aggregated into the deal without adding further pieces from Toronto.

That only makes the entire deal messier which usually means less likely.

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Still, whatever the path forward is, it appears the Hawks are not content with the status quo and are looking to make some serious changes.