1 dream, 1 realistic, & 1 bargain target for the Hawks in free agency

These three players represent varying tiers of options the Atlanta Hawks could explore in free agency this offseason.
Atlanta Hawks head coach Quin Snyder
Atlanta Hawks head coach Quin Snyder / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages
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The Atlanta Hawks’ draft and trade plans have stolen much of the focus during this early portion of the offseason. But those are not the only avenues to improve the team, with free agency also offering some viable solutions.

New, stricter legislation under the CBA means their options are limited.

“Including the first pick in the draft, Atlanta has $176 million in salary. Because of the unlikely bonuses of Murray, Clint Capela and De'Andre Hunter, they are over the first apron. Barring a trade, the Hawks will exceed the second apron if they re-sign [Saddiq] Bey, who tore his left ACL in March,” ESPN’s Bobby Marks wrote.

“Because of their finances, the Hawks will only have the veterans minimum exception available to use in free agency.”

Given that the Hawks have paths to accessing most of the roster-building tools available to them, let’s explore some options that make sense in ideal, realistic, and bargain scenarios this offseason.

OG Anuoby would be an ideal addition for Hawks in free agency

The Hawks have plenty of versatile playmakers on the roster. What they lack is versatile players who are as adept on both ends of the court as New York Knicks free agent forward OG Anunoby.

Acquired from the Toronto Raptors in a trade in December, Anunoby proved his worth in helping solidify the Knicks’ place as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.

He averaged 14.1 points and shot 39.4% from beyond the arc in 23 games with the Knicks.

They posted a plus-22 net efficiency differential with Anunoby on the floor in the regular season, per Cleaning The Glass. Their differential dropped to plus-0.3 with him off the floor. He was also critical to their playoff push before injuries sidelined him.

SportsNet New York’s Ian Begley predicts the Knicks will pay up to keep Anunoby, who is entering the final year of a four-year, $72 million contract.

“Anunoby is widely expected to decline his $19.9 million player option for next season after being dealt to New York before the trade deadline,” Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer wrote on May 23. “Various teams left Chicago with the belief that Anunoby could reach unrestricted free agency and consider deals from other franchises in addition to New York, sources said.”

The Athletic’s Tim Cato projected a “floor” of $37.5 million annually

The Hawks can generate enough space to offer Anunoby that. They could rid themselves of several burdensome contracts in such a process. However, the roster would be depleted of talent, leaving the Hawks much in the same place that they are in right now.