Hawks 'expected' to explore trade options for former top draft pick

Rival teams expect the Atlanta Hawks to look into trade options for one of their former top draft picks this offseason.
Atlanta Hawks head coach Quin Snyder
Atlanta Hawks head coach Quin Snyder / Harry How/GettyImages

The Atlanta Hawks have other ways to reshape their roster besides trading one of Trae Young or Dejounte Murray, and they are expected to explore some of them this coming offseason.

Their decision with the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft will have a ripple effect on the rest of the roster. But one move could be destined to take place this offseason after rumblings began this past season.

The Hawks are expected to explore trade options for De’Andre Hunter once again.

“Should the Hawks select [Alexandre] Sarr, center Clint Capela – who will be in the final year of his contract worth $22.27 million – is expected to be discussed in trade talks,” HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto wrote on May 28. “Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter was another name rival executives expected to become available for Atlanta as the draft nears.”

Hunter was the No. 4 overall pick of the 2019 draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. The Hawks acquired him in a multi-team trade that was completed later that offseason.

He is currently the highest-drafted player on the team, though that could change this year.

Hunter, 26, averaged career-highs with 15.9 points and a 38.5% clip from beyond the arc last season. He also appeared in fewer than 60 games for the third time in the last four season due to injuries, the most significant of which have been recurring knee issues.

The Hawks’ best perimeter defender, Hunter is going into the second year of a four-year, $90 million contract.

This would again just be a continuation of the Hawks’ previous intentions.

“There are still a handful of trade candidates that could be on the move with money matters in mind, most notably in Atlanta,” Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer wrote on June 2023. “There were…significant talks between Atlanta and Detroit about moving [De’Andre] Hunter to the Pistons.”

The Pistons were not the only Eastern Conference rival to kick the tires on Hunter, with the Indiana Pacers also getting involved.

“The Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks were making headway on a deal that would have sent De’Andre Hunter to the Pacers,” Fischer wrote the day prior, noting that the discussions “ultimately broke apart.”

There was also rumored interest from the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“Atlanta's De'Andre Hunter is said to be another name to watch in Cleveland's ongoing search for a 3-and-D upgrade,” wrote Marc Stein of The Stein Line on January 16.

Onyeka Okongwu could be relatively safe amid Hawks’ offseason re-tool

Like Hunter, Capela has battled knee injuries and been mired in trade rumors for much of the last year. He started his two-year, $46 million contract last season. But the Hawks have former No. 6 pick Onyeka Okongwu in tow.

Stein’s intel would indicate that the Hawks at least do not plan to move Okongwu, who signed a four-year, $61.9 million contract extension in October.

Okongwu proved capable of being more than just a pivot.

He was always versatile defensively and worked with small-ball lineups. But Okongwu extended his range, knocking down 23 of 69 triples (33.3%) both of which were career bests. He even saw time at the 4 alongside Capela, keeping options open for a potential pairing with Sarr.

If nothing else, Okongwu represents the kind of player the Hawks need to feature in their next iteration.