The Hawks could target Trae Young’s friend
One of Siakam’s biggest draws is that he brings championship experience on top of being able to function as a primary scoring option when called upon. Well, they could find an option that is cheaper, younger, bigger, and has a pre-existing relationship with star Trae Young: Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr.
Porter, 24, averaged 17.4 points, 5.5 boards, and 1.0 assists hitting 41.4% of his triples.
He still averaged 13.4 points and shot 35.1% from deep in the Nuggets’ championship run, all snagging 8.1 rebounds and dishing out 1.6 assists. But he often found himself being subbed off the floor for his defensive shortcomings when his offense was not clicking in the playoffs.
With more than $148 million owed to him, the Hawks could look to offer the Nuggets some relief under the luxury tax to get a deal done.
“He is a 6’10”, three-level scorer who could open up a lot of things offensively,” wrote Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report on May 10. “It also doesn’t feel impossible that the Denver Nuggets could consider moving him, since his inconsistent production doesn’t align with his sky-high pay rate.”
Porter and Young also played together on one of the best AAU teams in recent memory with the former poking fun at the latter over advancing further in the playoffs.
Of course, Denver took the patient route to a championship and, to this point, with Porter.
It is difficult to envision a scenario in which he becomes available this offseason, though things in the NBA can change in a heartbeat. And Denver is facing a $16.2 million luxury tax bill after next season, the third-highest in the NBA.
Porter’s injury history is downright scary but his ceiling as an offensive weapon is high enough to offset the loss of defense if Hunter is moved. The question then becomes if the move is too lateral – Hunter is no slouch scoring the basketball and is still improving – for such a dramatic change, especially to their salary cap projections and moving a Bogdan Bogdanovic whom they just paid.