Hawks linked to $158 million All-Star, candidate for 'aggressive' trade: Insider

The Atlanta Hawks' offseason intrigue extends beyond the NBA draft into a potentially active trade market.
Atlanta Hawks head coach Quin Snyder
Atlanta Hawks head coach Quin Snyder / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft is just one avenue the Atlanta Hawks have at their disposal to improve the roster this offseason.

They can also explore free agency and the trade market. Their cap situation won’t afford them but the veterans minimum exception in free agency, leaving the trade market as their second-best opportunity to land a difference-making piece of the puzzle.

Rumors are already linking them to one of the top options expected to be available.

“A growing belief leaguewide that Pelicans will aggressively explore the trade market for Brandon Ingram before next season,” The Stein Line’s Marc Stein wrote on May 12 (subscription required). “A handful of Eastern Conference teams (Philadelphia, Cleveland, Atlanta and Orlando) have already been mentioned as potential trade suitors for Ingram.”

The Hawks’ connection to Ingram is new, though they have been linked to the Pelicans in potential trades for other players. 

They had eyes for Pelicans defensive ace Herb Jones ahead of this year’s trade deadline. But Ingram would add another dynamic scorer and playmaker to a group that already includes Jalen Johnson in the frontcourt and (perhaps) one or both of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray.

Ingram is going into the final year of a five-year, $158.2 million contract.

“Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram is considered the most likely player to be traded by rival executives who spoke with HoopsHype,” Michel Scotto said on the “HoopsHype Podcast” on May 10. “With Ingram going into the final season of his contract at $36 million, he’s been a trade candidate before, but he’s a prime trade candidate now.”

Ingram averaged 20.8 points, 5.7 assists, and 5.1 rebounds while shooting 35.5% from beyond the arc last season.

Those marks represented steps back from his 2022-23 campaign (24.7/5.8/5.5, 39% 3P). There are questions about his fit alongside former No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson, whom the Pelicans want to build around.

This hypothetical trade package could interest the Pelicans this offseason.

Proposed Hawks trade lands Pelicans' Brandon Ingram

DJ to NO

The Hawks could look to include Young in a package instead of Murray. In that scenario, Young could theoretically bring back Ingram and another player like Larry Nance.

But until it’s otherwise made clear, it figures they would look to keep the face of the franchise.

The Pelicans are coming off a good season, going 49-33 and finishing seventh in the Western Conference standings. But they were swept out of the first round of the playoffs by the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Ingram struggled in the postseason, averaging 14.3 points and shooting 25% from beyond the arc. But he has performed well in similar situations in the past.

He could benefit from playing alongside a true playmaking point guard like Young.

Alternatively, he could be a suitable sidekick for a Murray-led Hawks team. This is why the Hawks’ offseason figures to be one to watch even beyond whomever they select with the No. 1 overall pick.