The Atlanta Hawks have yet to make any sort of splash in this current offseason after they made one of the biggest of last offseason when they acquired Dejounte Murray. However, their former president of basketball operations, Travis Schlenk was a massive part of the biggest deal that will probably happen this offseason.
Schlenk, who was a massive part of rebuilding the Hawks, pulled the trigger on the deal that sent Bradley Beal to the Phoenix Suns. In return, the Wizards received Chris Paul, Landry Shamet, and multiple picks. This means that the Wizards are no longer tied to the massive deal that Beal was on and are even looking to flip Paul.
While this is a solid move for the Wizards, the Suns look like they are trying to build a super-team in what appears to be a championship-or-bust-type move. However, there are a number of issues for the Suns and this needs to be a lesson that the Hawks learn from.
So, what are the lessons that the Atlanta Hawks need to learn from this trade?
The Phoenix Suns, if this trade does not give them a championship are in a lot of trouble. They currently have more than $170 million worth of salary on the books and only six players signed. While you need superstars to win championships, it is the second unit depth that will deliver the championship, and currently, either Ish Wainwright or Cameron Payne is the sixth man.
From there it is going to be even harder as the Suns are not going to be able to find another nine or ten players with NBA pedigree who will fill out the roster. The Hawks have become one of the deeper teams in the league and now they need to fill the gaps which they can do via trade and the draft.
The Suns are now locked into this for the next three seasons at least barring a trade. They might be able to send Deandre Ayton out to get some players back on smaller deals which will help fill out the roster. However, the whole Beal trade feels like a Brooklyn Nets-style desperation trade when they mortgaged their future in their trade with the Celtics all those years ago.
If the Hawks went down this road then they could make some big trades, and they could certainly have a level of success. However, trading for a big star and giving up any flexibility does not seem to work in the NBA anymore. The Golden State Warriors created a dynasty behind their big three but they also had to have depth.
The Miami Heat during the LeBron James era had a time where their big three dominated the league. They were surrounded by minimum contract players but as the Nets proved when they had Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving, it is no longer a viable option for winning the championship.
The other problem is that the Suns have focussed on high-level scoring. They are really going to struggle on the defensive end, no matter who they fill out the roster with. If the Atlanta Hawks want to win a championship any time soon then they are going on the right path. They are not going all-in on a big push, they are building.
This is the way that the Warriors built their dynasty and the way that the Bucks have built their roster. Sustained success is the name of the game, not making headline moves that have a limited chance of success. This is how the Atlanta Hawks appear to be going. What does this mean that they can learn? That they are on the right track and could win a championship before the Suns.