Hawks' Larry Nance sends heartfelt message after trade from Pelicans

New Atlanta Hawks big man Larry Nance sent a strong message to his former fanbase after his trade from the New Orleans Pelicans.
Larry Nance Jr., Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Pelicans
Larry Nance Jr., Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Pelicans / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The Atlanta Hawks’ trade with the New Orleans Pelicans has not yet been finalized. New Orleans remains short of satisfying salary-matching requirements, with ESPN’s Bobby Marks expecting another player could be added to the deal. 

However, one of the players in the existing structure – big man Larry Nance – has already sent out his goodbyes.

“Pels fans, I’ve seen all your messages and they mean more to me than you know!” Nance posted on X on July 1. “I poured a lot of myself into the community and you guys were always so kind and supportive! New Orleans will always be a place I remember with fondness! Thank you all, for so much.”

Nance, 31, is in the final year of a two-year, $21.6 million contract.

He is on a manageable $11 million salary in 2024-25 and has proven capable of playing both big spots as well as some spot duty at small forward, though it has been a few seasons since he did that.

Still, his role on the Hawks as current constructed is unclear. Clint Capela has been named in trade speculation but remains with the team.

Onyeka Okongwu is already waiting in the wings as it is with Capela in place.

He has and can back up Jalen Johnson at the 4. Nance makes more sense if the Hawks end up finding a taker for Capela, who is in the final year of a two-year, $46 million contract. The open-endedness of the deal will also impact Murray's bonus.

“After the Pelicans' trade for Dejounte Murray, how much of Murray's 15% trade kicker the All-Star guard receives has been left open-ended, sources said, as New Orleans continues to look for centers to replace Jonas Valanciunas,” Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer reported on X on June 30.

Murray’s $12 million bonus is the highest in the league, per Marks. 

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What happens next for the Hawks?

The Hawks project to be roughly $4 million below the luxury tax threshold with their current group. 

That could curtail any further significant activity without a corresponding move to send out salary and keep themselves from paying the tax. It is rare for a team to be a serious threat without being a luxury tax payer. 

However, the Hawks have avoided the tax for years and have made moves accordingly.

How that impacts their remaining current core remains to be seen. In addition to Capela, De’Andre Hunter has been a prominent figure in trade speculation.

With No. 1 pick Zaccharie Risacher in the fold, Hunter’s time could be closer to the end as he enters Year 2 of a four-year, $90 million contract. Even with what the Hawks have already done, there is still plenty of intrigue around them this offseason.