5 Potential trade targets that fit into the Hawks’ $25 million exception

Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Hawks
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks mostly got financial flexibility for trading John Collins to the Utah Jazz.

Not only do they drop below the first luxury tax apron after facing an $8-plus million bill – they have never paid the luxury tax under team governor Tony Ressler – but they also generated a $25.3 million trade exception by absorbing Rudy Gay’s contract into a previous exception.

This is the third trade exception generated since February. The Brooklyn Nets generated an $18.1 million exception by trading Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns while the Dallas Mavericks generated a $17 million exception by sending Davis Bertans to the Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2023 NBA Draft.

The Hawks also opened up the non-taxpayer mid-level exception with this trade, and have the bi-annual exception at their disposal but, for this exercise, we will focus on that exception.

One potential roadblock is that the Hawks would risk going right back over the luxury tax threshold which could go against a rumored “mandate” to avoid such a thin. But ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported they are expected to remain in “deal-making mode”.

That leaves the natural question of who they will use the exception on, assuming they don’t let the one-year expiration date come and go.

But it is important to know just what the Hawks can and cannot do with the exception.

Per Real GM, “They can only be used to acquire players under contract – A team cannot sign a free agent using a trade exception. However, it can be used in a sign-and-trade, though that would require the participation of the player’s previous team and that team being able to sign said player to the agreed-upon contract.”

5 potential trade targets for the Atlanta Hawks’ $25.3M exception

The list of players that both fit into the full Collins TPE and are available for trade started and ended with Collins. From there, the Hawks would have to settle for using a chunk of it or putting together multiple contracts to get as close to that $25.3 million mark as possible.

With those guidelines in place, let’s take a look at some potential trade options for the Hawks.