As it stands, the trade talks between the Atlanta Hawks and the Toronto Raptors over forward Pascal Siakam are at a standstill, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (subscription required) on August 8. That is not at all surprising given the current point in the NBA calendar.
However, Charania did reveal one (potentially of several) packages the Hawks offered the Raptors as part of their efforts.
Not surprisingly, it was headlined by forward De’Andre Hunter.
Hunter, 25, has the edge over Clint Capela as the Hawks player most often mentioned in trade rumors in the absence of John Collins, now of the Utah Jazz, who was rumored to have also been offered. While Capela is also rumored to be on the trading block, Hunter’s name has been linked to several teams this offseason as he gets set to begin a four-year, $90 million contract extension.
The 6-foot-8 Hunter averaged 15.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.4 assists this past season while making a career-high 67 appearances. His name was being floated in trade rumors, it was said, in part because the Hawks wanted to free up playing time for AJ Griffin.
Griffin, 20, was the No. 16 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft and was impressive averaging 8.9 points while knocking down 39% of his threes on the season.
And that was despite a slow start and hitting the proverbial “rookie wall”.
However, according to Charania, Griffin was a part of the trade package the Hawks offered to the Raptors as compensation for Siakam. There was also some draft capital involved, though Charania does not specify what it was.
This would be a surprising twist if true given how high the Hawks have been on Griffin and that Hunter was said to be considered untouchable. It does, however, mean Saddiq Bey would slot into a more familiar slot on the wing rather than trying to fill the void left by Collins at power forward.
They are said to be high on him after acquiring him at the trade deadline. He averaged 11.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists while shooting 40% from deep in 25 games.
Bey, 25, is also heading into the final year of his contract with restricted free agency looming.
Clearing out Hunter’s salary to make room for Bey’s (and Onyeka Okongwu’s) potential new deal makes some sense, even if the trade-off for Bey’s shooting is Hunter’s defense. Moving Griffin would be a small shock since head coach Quin Snyder is a proponent of the three-ball.
Snyder’s Utah Jazz teams regularly landed at or near the top in both three-point rate and efficiency while Griffin is already one of the Hawks’ top three or four shooters in a group that includes Bey, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and the always-explosive Trae Young. Moving him in a deal that brings in Siakam, who is not a great shooter, seems counter-productive.
Perhaps that is where the stall lies: the Raptors are asking for even more, per Charania, while the Hawks are already compromising their roster integrity with this rumored offer.
The Hawks also know Siakam does not want to re-sign with them if traded.
Atlanta Hawks prepared to enter season as-is
Charania’s report comes to the conclusion that we have arrived at since the 2023 NBA Draft on June 22 – the Hawks look fully prepared to enter the 2023-24 season as they are currently constructed if they cannot reach a deal with the Raptors that is to their liking.
That was the sentiment general manager Landry Fields expressed about possible trading up in the draft and it makes sense it would be applied in this, a potentially even more costly decision.
The Hawks still have to sort out who will start at power forward between Bey, third-year forward Jalen Johnson, and possibly even Okongwu, though he should be considered the longest of shots for myriad reasons.
Whatever they do, it will be because they stuck to their guns.