Insider: Hawks pave way for long-term deal with sharpshooting veteran

The Atlanta Hawks set the stage to work out a long-term deal with a sharpshooting veteran this offseason.
Atlanta Hawks head coach Quin Snyder
Atlanta Hawks head coach Quin Snyder / James Gilbert/GettyImages

The Atlanta Hawks have been busy. They traded AJ Giffin and Dejounte Murray and will let Saddiq Bey hit unrestricted free agency, opting against extending the $8.5 million qualifying offer to make the injured forward a restricted free agent.

Most of their efforts have been about clearing out misfit players and/or contract obligations. But they are also looking to potentially reward some of their own or at least keep them in the fold.

“The Atlanta Hawks will exercise the team’s $2.23 million option on Garrison Mathews, league sources told @hoopshype,” HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto reported on X on June 29. “Mathews shot a career-high 44% from 3-point range in a career-high 66 games for Atlanta last season. This paves the way for a potential extension down the line.”

Mathews earned the nickname “Garry Bird” for his perimeter shot-making prowess.

Garrison Mathews earned his way into Hawks' rotation last season

“Garrison had a game where he played 1:30, and it was an important 1:30,” Snyder told reporters in November. “Sometimes you say that, and people ... roll their eyes. But 1:30 became however many, 10 [minutes] tonight. And we need anybody who comes in the game to compete.”

He sat atop the NBA’s three-point shooting leaderboard for his efficiency for a stretch last season. He was a pleasant surprise in a turbulent season, averaging 4.9 points and 1.4 minutes in 15 minutes per game across 66 appearances.

His deep efficiency was also brought down from his five games as a starter, with the former Houston Rocket and Washington Wizard shooting 17.4% from three in those games.

He shot 47.6% from deep as a reserve.

Mathews also proved valuable on the defensive end, leading the Hawks and ranking 9th in charges drawn among players to appear in at least 41 games during the regular season. He turns 28 years old in October.

“Mathews becomes extension eligible on July 6,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Lauren L. Williams posted on X on June 29.

There were some drawbacks to playing Mathews.

The Hawks’ net efficiency differential went from minus-0.6 with Mathews off the floor to minus-4.6 when he was on. That was notably the result of drops in efficiency on offense (on: 118.4, off: 115.8) and defense (on: 120.4, off: 119).

The Hawks are roughly $10 million below the first luxury tax apron after their dealings this offseason. Today was the deadline for the Hawks to make their decision on Mathews.

Teams can begin talking to rival free agents at 6 p.m. ET on June 30.