Hawks lose $13 million starter to season-ending injury: Report

The Atlanta Hawks' injury woes have been an overarching storyline and the hits kept coming with the news they have lost a starter for the season.
Atlanta Hawks forward Saddiq Bey
Atlanta Hawks forward Saddiq Bey / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

The Atlanta Hawks’ (29-35) loss to the New Orleans Pelicans is proving even more costly the next day.

They saw starting forward Saddiq Bey exit the contest with what was termed as a hyperextended knee. The diagnosis the following day is far more grim.

“ESPN Sources: Atlanta Hawks F Saddiq Bey has suffered a season-ending torn left ACL,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on March 11. “MRI revealed injury this morning. Bey — who’ll be a restricted free agent this summer — has averaged 13.7 points and 6.5 rebounds.”

Bey attempted his free throws after being fouled on the play that led to his injury.

That was the only way he would have been able to return to the game. He made his way to the tunnel and back to the locker room immediately after that, never to return in the contest.

Bey, 24, is averaging 13.7 points and 1.5 assists with a career-high 6.5 rebounds per game this season. It is his first full campaign following a trade from the Detroit Pistons at the 2023 trade deadline.

His presence on the boards has been essential amid various frontcourt injuries.

Each of Clint Capela, De’Andre Hunter, Jalen Johnson, and Onyeka Okongwu have missed time this season.

Johnson and Okongwu are still out while Bey took Hunter’s spot in the starting lineup. That the former No. 19 overall pick of the 2019 draft has done that while shooting a career-worst 31.6% from beyond the arc is a testament to his work on the glass and hustle in general. 

Without him, the Hawks will likely lean on veterans Garrison Mathews and Wesley Matthews, as well as two-way players Vit Krejci, Seth Lundy.

Trae Young also remains sidelined following finger surgery.

Saddiq Bey’s Hawks future complicated by season-ending injury

The worst part for Bey is likely the timing of the injury. He will be sidelined for much of the 2024-25 season, potentially hindering his ability to land the best deal possible this offseason, even as a restricted free agent.

Atlanta wanted to keep Bey but let the deadline to agree to an extension come and go without a deal.

Bey is in the final season of his four-year, $13 million rookie scale contract.

His qualifying offer projects to come in at $6.5 million, per Spotrac. That would be a modest cost for what he brings when healthy. But the timing of the injury again complicates matters, especially for an organization not keen on burning money.