The Atlanta Hawks put their money where their mouth is.
Words can ring hollow in professional sports where players sign massive contracts today only to request a trade in a year or two. The Hawks signed Bogdan Bogdanovic, 30, to a four-year, $68 million contract extension in March that will keep him under team control through at least the 2025-26 season.
“They told me they want to keep me until the end of my career,” Bogdanovic said, per Giorgos Kyriakidis of BasketNews on August 8. “So, I’m working there. I like the atmosphere and what we’re creating year by year. It’s been up and down, but I feel like we’ll get better.”
Things can always change – there is a club option for the 2026-27 season. But judging from Bogdanovic’s comments it does not sound as though that is in the cards for either side.
Hawks general manager Landry Fields also alluded to as much.
“Bogi brings so many of the qualities we are looking for in a Hawks player. In addition to his elite shooting ability, he has the versatility to thrive as a starter or sixth man, and a competitiveness that is invaluable to our team and culture,” Fields said in a statement released via NBA.com in March. “We are excited that he will remain a key part of our team going forward.”
It is notable that Bogdanovic’s extension came after Fields took over control of the team from former president Travis Schlenk. Contrast that against the younger De’Andre Hunter who is mired in trade rumors as he begins a four-year, $90 million contract signed in October — two months before Schlenk stepped down.
Bogdanovic averaged 14.0 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.8 assists while knocking down 40.6% of his threes. He has started 63 games for the Hawks over the last three seasons but is all for coming off the bench.
“Everybody likes to start right here,” Bogdanovic said, per Lauren L. Williams of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in December. “But I like to finish the games more. Honestly.”
The Hawks were 6-3 with him in the starting lineup this past regular season.
They were 21-24 when he came off the bench and his numbers took a hit as well. Atlanta’s net rating was minus-8.2 with Bogdanovic, Dejounte Murray, and Trae Young all on the floor together, per Cleaning The Glass.
Bogdan Bogdanovic backtracks on plan after Hawks
He also missed the first 22 games of the regular season following offseason surgery to address a lingering knee issue he said had been bothering him for years, though he is fully healthy this offseason.
Bogdanovic is captaining the Serbian National Team in the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
Bogdanovic, who played for Fenerbahce (Turkey) and Partizan (Serbia) before coming over to the United States in 2017, was asked about returning to Europe to finish his basketball career, an idea he has previously entertained.
“You can never know when,” Bogdanovic said, per BasketNews in December. “Hopefully, our paths cross again. I love them and I really miss them.”
This time, however, he said “I don’t know right now”.
He will be heading into his age-35 season if he plays out the entirety of his current contract, and played seven years overseas after signing his first professional contract with Partizan at 18 years old.
That is a lot of mileage on the front and back end of a career for a player who has had knee issues.