1 Hawks issue nobody is talking about heading into the 2024 NBA Draft

Atlanta will need to address this vital and underdiscussed issue if they are to complete a successful offseason.
Dejounte Murray, Clint Capela, Atlanta Hawks
Dejounte Murray, Clint Capela, Atlanta Hawks / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

Everything changed for the Atlanta Hawks two and a half weeks ago when they unexpectedly won the NBA Draft Lottery, giving them the top overall pick in next month's draft. After not being able to get out of the first round of the playoffs for three years, the franchise's fates are finally beginning to shift.

Now, the focus for the Hawks becomes figuring out how best to leverage their top overall pick. This year's draft class may not be considered the most talented or deep, but a top pick still means a shot at potentially the best overall prospect, which can be a huge deal if you select the right talent.

This year, there is no player that is considered to be far and away the clear pick at number one. But the prospect most commonly mocked as the top pick is Alex Sarr from France. Atlanta can obviously either keep the pick and potentially take Sarr, or package it and look to upgrade their roster with a win-now player by dealing the pick elsewhere.

It has already been rumored that the Hawks are interested in potentially shopping either Trae Young or Dejounte Murray due to their clear limited ceiling as a duo. If they are interested in keeping the pick and bringing in Sarr to form a new duo, they will have a choice to make. Atlanta is already in a financial crunch.

The Hawks will need to trade Capela or Okongwu this offseason

As it currently stands, the Hawks will have to commit $36.2 million to Clint Capela and Onyeka Okongwu next season. With them being unable to pay both and Sarr's natural position being center, Atlanta will likely need to trade one of Capela or Okongwu before next season begins. This is obviously a massive decision that will determine the direction of the team going forward.

Capela is owed $22.5 million next season and Okongwu $14 million. Moving off either will be difficult based on their on-court contributions. Both played 25 minutes per game last season, and both averaged at least 10 points per game. Capela's superb rebounding ability led him to averaging 10.6 rebounds, compared to 6.8 for Okongwu.

Considering overall impact as well as age, the Hawks may do best to move Capela. He just turned 30 years old and is not getting any better. Meanwhile, Okongwu is still just 23 and has plenty of room to grow. Choosing Onyeka as your option for the future while drafting Sarr in the same summer would be an excellent way to retool as well as get younger.

No matter which direction Atlanta takes, this is clearly a pivotal summer for the front office. Playing their cards right will lay the groundwork for this team to go deep into the playoffs once again.