The Atlanta Hawks have started the season 1-2, getting off the schneid on Sunday with a 127-110 road win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Their start has them squarely in trade rumors which is really a continuation of the offseason.
Starting center Clint Capela was mentioned in trade rumors this offseason and, with the Hawks making a financial commitment to Onyeka Okongwu, Capela’s time could be running out. And one of the teams that was interested in him could still be a prime trade partner.
“Given Dallas’ logjam at the shooting guard position … it might make sense for the Mavs to part with Hardy in order to bolster their center depth,” wrote Dalton Trigg of Dallas Basketball on October 28. “Dallas has been pleased with rookie big man Dereck Lively II’s development so far … That said, having Lively plus Capela would only mean good things for Dallas going forward.”
Trigg suggests sending Capela to the Mavericks for a package centered around Hardy, Mavs offseason trade acquisition Richaun Holmes, and draft capital.
There is a financial aspect to this that could appeal to the Hawks.
Trigg points to the four-year, $62 million contract extension signed by Onyeka Okongwu which will bring the Hawks’ bill for the two centers to $36.2 million in 2024-25. They already spend the seventh-most at the position in the NBA this season, per Spotrac.
The deal above would shave just under $7 million from the bottom line this season. And another $8 million or so next season. Holmes would be quality depth behind Okongwu for the Hawks who also have rookie big man Mo Gueye, though relying on him for consistent minutes would be less than ideal for a team trying to contend for a deep postseason run.
Capela, 29, is in the first year of a two-year, $46 million extension. He is coming off of a nice outing, logging 12 points and 12 rebounds in the Hawks’ 126-110 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
And he has long been a reliable outlet for Young on drives to the rim.
But, as Young is proving with his work in that department this season without John Collins, he can adapt to a new situation. He also showed a budding connection with Okongwu again showing he will find the open man regardless of who it is.
Okongwu, 22, had 14 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and one steal in the game.
Hawks would be acquiring a pair of unknown assets with this deal
Holmes, 30, has yet to get into a game for the Mavs this season. He is also coming off a lackluster 2022-23 campaign with the Sacramento Kings. But he averaged 12.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.3 blocks from 2019-20 through 2021-22. Holmes started 136 of his 150 appearances during that stretch.
Hardy, 21, has not taken the floor yet this season either. He averaged 8.8 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.4 assists while shooting 40.4% from beyond the arc as a rookie last season.
Dallas could include a second-round pick as soon as 2025.
Their picks in 2024 and 2026 through 2030 are already owed out or potentially coming from other teams thanks to precious swaps.
Head coach Quin Snyder noted the benefits of being able to deploy different style lineups, including Capela and Okongwu together, following their win over Milwaukee. That could suggest that the Hawks are more comfortable paying both bigs than some might assume.
It’s a nice idea for the Mavericks. And the Hawks too if they are only looking at the finances. But Capela is still an effective and impactful player. And, with Okongwu somewhat undersized for the position and still prone to getting into foul trouble, having him around feels necessary.