5 Players the Hawks might replace De’Andre Hunter with by the trade deadline

Atlanta Hawks, De'Andre Hunter. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks, De'Andre Hunter. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Hawks, Brandon Ingram
Atlanta Hawks, Brandon Ingram. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

Atlanta Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter has assumed the mantle from John Collins as the Hawks star most often mentioned in trade rumors, usually due to the team’s overall cap situation.

Hunter, 25, is the highest draft pick on the team and averaged a career-high 15.4 points on 56.3% true shooting last season while taking on the toughest defensive assignments.

He is also starting a four-year, $90 million contract extension this season.

The Hawks have a couple of players due for new money soon in Saddiq Bey and Oneyka Okonwu and could need to shed salary elsewhere to retain them. Collins was the first big move and Danny LeRoux of The Athletic says to “expect” general manager Landry Fields to make another one unless he can win enough to justify the cost of the group.

Fields could try to thread the needle, unloading Hunter’s contract for an upgrade at the position, or even divesting one good player into two. And we have some ideas

Pelicans’ Brandon Ingram would add another bonafide scorer to Hawks

Brandon Ingram has had a rough go of it with Team USA during the FIBA World Cup, going from presumed star to a veritable afterthought as he’s admittedly struggled with not being the focal point of the offense.

Make no mistake, though, Ingram is a really good basketball player.

He averaged career-highs with 24.7 points and 5.8 assists, adding 5.5 rebounds and knocking down 39% of his looks from beyond the arc last season.

The Los Angeles Lakers traded the former No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft to the Pelicans for Anthony Davis in 2019. Ingram was the second youngest player in his draft class, and turns 26 years old on September 2, leaving him on the front end of his prime despite already having logged seven years in the NBA.

He is heading into the fourth year of a five-year, $158.2 million contract.

That has been a key point for players and organizations in recent NBA history with both sides being more apt to push for a trade, though for players it is generally as simple as taking the most money from your current team and then figuring the rest out after the fact.

This trade would boost the Hawks’ offense, particularly without Trae Young and Dejounte Murray.

And, while Ingram has struggled off the ball in FIBA play, his game is far better suited for the NBA – he shot 41.7% on 2.7 catch-and-shoot threes last season and is a willing passer. The biggest dropoff would be on the defensive end of the floor, though it can be argued that Hunter’s defense isn’t raising the Hawks floor or ceiling.