Atlanta Hawks’ star floated as potential trade target for Milwaukee Bucks

Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Hawks did well to create some breathing room under the luxury tax by trading John Collins to the Utah Jazz. But they signed Dejounte Murray to a (team-friendly) four-year, $120 million contract extension which could pave the way for further deals to create more breathing room with Saddiq Bey and Onyeka Okongwu both extension eligible this offseason.

And the Milwaukee Bucks could be a team that comes calling.

“This roster nevertheless needs…another infusion of functional shooting and secondary to bail-out creation,” wrote Dan Favale of Bleacher Report on July 16. “[Bogdan] Bogdanović represents both—in a big way.”

Former Duke standout Grayson Allen, 27, averaged 10.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists while shooting 39.9% from beyond the arc. Listed at 6-foot-5, Allen is feisty on defense often bordering on (and sometimes crossing into) risky territory.

Allen is heading into the final year of a two-year, $18.7 million contract and will be an unrestricted free agent after next season.

Swingman Pat Connaughton, 30, is in a similar boat coming off a 7.6/4.6/1.3 season line.

He knocked down just 33.9% of his threes this past season but shot 38.5% on 4.8 attempts per game over the previous two seasons including 39.5% in 2021-22. Another 6-foot-5 wing, Connaughton is starting a three-year, $28.2 million contract extension signed with the Bucks just last offseason.

Milwaukee was almost Bogdanovic’s team in 2020 but the Bucks were found guilty of tampering when details of a sign-and-trade to land the international star leaked and the deal was reversed which allowed the Hawks to swoop in with an offer sheet the Kings did not match.

This deal would add a first-round pick that falls when every current contract on the Bucks’ roster will have expired, including Giannis Antetokounmpo.

It’s fair to wonder if mortgaging the future at such a pivotal time is too much for Milwaukee.

Hawks’ investment in Bogdan Bogdanovic speaks volumes

Bogdanovic, 30, averaged 14.0 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.8 assists while connecting on 40.6% of his looks from beyond the arc. The 6-foot-6 swingman is starting a four-year, $68 million contract extension signed in March.

That investment would suggest they want to keep him around while the timing of the deal means he cannot be traded until September at the earliest. Of course, deals can be made up to and until the trade deadline in February but if the Hawks were planning on moving Bogdanovic, the time to do it was before teams around the league used their cap space.

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More potential suitors would help drive up the price which it might take to convince the Hawks.

“Atlanta’s end of this deal is tougher to understand at first glance,” Favale notes. “But…the front office might prefer the flexibility of two smaller and shorter contracts attached to a distant first.”

The Hawks are $9.3 million below the luxury tax threshold, per Spotrac, and don’t have to send out any salary in a trade because they have a $25.3 million trade exception from the Collins deal. But they do need to send out at least one player in any trade for a player since they are already at 14 guaranteed contracts.

Reserves Tyrese Martin (July 21) and Vit Krejci (January 10) locking in at later dates.

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Those two would seemingly be easy decisions but Martin showed well during Las Vegas Summer League while Krejci was a well-liked member of the Hawks’ bench.