The Atlanta Hawks are the only team that has yet to make any free agent signings or re-sign anyone which may be somewhat surprising at first blush.
Atlanta has been mired in as many or more rumors leading up to free agency that any number of moves could have been considered reasonable. But they are also facing a numbers crunch that, while perhaps unintentionally, star point guard Trae Young highlighted.
“Play Good , They Pay Good $$,” the Hawks star tweeted on July 3.
To Young’s point, it took less than two hours for NBA teams to commit to spending more than $1 billion (with a ‘b’’) in new money for players both staying with their current teams and moving on to new ones. The Hawks have found themselves on the former side more often than not in the last few years, handing out new money to several of their own players.
Since the end of the 2021-22 season, the Hawks have agreed to nearly a half-billion dollars in salary extensions with their own players.
Two of those players – John Collins this offseason and Kevin Huerter in 2022 – paid the price for the Hawks drafting well and having to reward their own. Another player, De’Andre Hunter, has popped up in more rumors this offseason as his four-year, $90 million extension starts.
It’s a double-edged sword but, to Young’s point, comes with the territory.
Every team gets to this stage at some point, and it part of why there are so many rumors around the Hawks this offseason. They were very close to being an expensive mediocre team having finished the regular season 41-41 and getting bounced out of the playoffs in the first round for the second year in a row.
Trading Collins gave them some breathing room which they used to take advantage of an overzealous Houston Rockets club looking to speed up its rebuild.
As the Hawks have learned, and as Young’s comment underscores, that can be a very expensive – and costly in other ways – endeavor to undertake, especially when it is being done on the fly as many teams attempt to do every offseason throwing money around as they are.
Former Atlanta Hawks wing joins Lakers coaching staff
It is becoming a meeting of the former Hawks minds in Hollywood with news that former Hawks wing DeMarre Carroll would be joining the Los Angeles Lakers as an assistant under head coach Darvin Ham, a former Hawks assistant under former head coach Mike Budenholzer when all three led the Hawks to a 60-win season and a first-place finish in the East in 2014-15.
Carroll, affectionately known as the “Junk Yard Dog” for his playing style, joins the staff just days after former Hawks swingman Cameron Reddish agreed to a two-year, $4.6 million contract.
L/A. also landed another former Hawk in Taurean Prince who spent three seasons in Atlanta.
They also added big man Jaxson Hayes from the New Orleans Pelicans, though he was originally drafted by the Hawks. Atlanta traded Hayes to New Orleans in a package that brought Hunter (who was originally drafted by the Lakers) to the Hawks.
In an offseason that has seen a lot of rumors surrounding Young and the Lakers, there are several transplants between the two franchises, even if he is not one of them.