The Atlanta Hawks had a very active run-up to the 2023 NBA Draft in the rumor mill.
On top of rumors that they were eyeing a trade up into the top 10 – which general manager Landry Fields later confirmed – there was also chatter that they were looking to move off some of their heftier contracts to avoid paying into the luxury tax next season. The Hawks are currently on track to pay more than $8 million into the tax.
“There are still a handful of trade candidates that could be on the move with money matters in mind, most notably in Atlanta,” wrote Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports on June 23. “There were…significant talks between Atlanta and Detroit about moving [De’Andre] Hunter to the Pistons.”
Hunter’s name has come up more often in this transaction window as he starts a four-year, $90 million contract extension.
The 24-year-old Hunter is the highest draft pick on the roster, taken No. 4 overall in 2019.
He averaged 15.4 points on 56.3% true shooting with 4.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists. And, while he was only the seventh most-efficient Hawk from beyond the arc this past season shooting 35.0%, only two players – Saddiq Bey and Bogdan Bogdanovic – shot better and did so on more volume than Hunter.
In a league that is heavily oriented toward wings, Hunter certainly has value on the trade market as a player who can play both ends of the floor. Hunter has even flashed the ability to create offense for himself.
The concerns begin with his declining stats as the year went on.
Hunter went from 15.9 points and shooting 35.6% from deep pre-All-Star break to 14.5 points per game and shooting 29.2% from three after, specifically after Quin Snyder took over. His assists also just narrowly outnumber his turnovers (1.2). He has also dealt with durability issues missing no fewer than 15 games in any season,
He made a career-high 67 appearances this past season.
Atlanta Hawks’ De’Andre Hunter mired in trade rumors
This is the second deal for Hunter with an Eastern Conference rival that was gaining steam before the draft.
“The Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks were making headway on a deal that would have sent De’Andre Hunter to the Pacers,” wrote Fischer on June 22 noting that the discussions “ultimately broke apart.”
Indiana is said to have mulled offering up a package of swingman Chris Duarte and draft picks while Atlanta is said to be eyeing a Hunter trade to create more opportunity for AJ Griffin. But, per Fischer, the Hawks’ plethora of wings isn’t the only subject of nixed deals.