Hawks lose surprise starter to East rival in free agency: Insider

The Atlanta Hawks' offseason took a turn when news broke about one of their starters from the 2023-24 season signing with a close rival.
Saddiq Bey, Atlanta Hawks, Washington Wizards
Saddiq Bey, Atlanta Hawks, Washington Wizards / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

The Atlanta Hawks have had an eventful offseason, and there are few signs of it slowing down.

Their roster would be over the limit if the regular season started today. However, one player from last season who remained in limbo this offseason has found a resolution.

“Free agent F Saddiq Bey has agreed on a three-year, $20 million contract with the Washington Wizards, his agents James Dunleavy and Jordan Gertler of @Excelbasketball tell ESPN,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on X on July 10.

The Wizards notably employ former Hawks team president Travis Schlenk and wooed Alexandre Sarr.

dark. Related. Schlenk last laugh. Former Hawks exec poised to get last laugh after surprise exit

Bey, 25, averaged 13.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists for the Hawks in 2023-24.

The Hawks acquired the former No. 19 overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft from the Detroit Pistons in a four-team trade in February 2023. The deal also included the Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers.

They sent five second-round picks in the deal, including their own picks in 2023 and 2024 that were used to select Rayan Rupert and Oso Ighodaro, respectively. 

The Hawks still owe second-rounders to the Blazers (2025) and Warriors (2026 and 2028).

Saddiq Bey a casualty of Hawks' roster crunch

Bey is recovering from a torn ACL that he suffered in March. He was a costly one-year rental for the Hawks given the stricter CBA guidelines. Second-round picks often grease the wheels on trades offloading onerous contracts.

The Hawks have several of those with Bogdan Bogdanovic, Clint Capela, De’Andre Hunter, Onyeka Oknogwu, and Trae Young all qualifying depending on the front office’s vision.

General Manager Landry Fields expressed comfort with the roster as constructed.

But he would not comment on specific players remaining with the team into and throughout the season; including Young. The Hawks and Bey’s remained in contact throughout. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Lauren L. Williams reported that there were ongoing talks on July 10. 

In the end, Bey, a D.C. area native, gets a veritable homecoming. The Hawks’ roster remains in limbo, though this and the Dejounte Murray trade do bring some clarity.

The Hawks could have made Bey a restricted free agent with a qualifying offer.

They would have received draft compensation had he signed an offer sheet with another team and they (the Hawks) declined to match after that. The Hawks let the deadline to offer bey the $8.3 million qualifying offer pass without extending it

Due to the Hawks’ injury woes, Bey started 51 of his 63 appearances for the Hawks in 2023-24 after logging seven starts in 27 games in 2022-23. 

He walks for nothing as he looks to get back to full health.

The Hawks drafted Zaccharie Risacher with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2024 NBA Draft. They still have 2019 No. 4 pick De’Andre Hunter in the mix and have several young wing options on hand to fill out their depth at the 3 and 4 spots.

Bey shot 31.6% from three in 2023-24, but he remains one of the more potent corner specialists by the numbers.

“Bey is one of nine players with at least 650 career made 3-pointers through his first four NBA seasons, according to ESPN Stats and Information,” Wojnarowski wrote in his follow-up report on the trade. “He has ranked in the top 10 of made corner 3's in the past four years, per Second Spectrum tracking.”